Our next stop, as we continued our road trip down the Pacific Rim Highway on Vancouver Island, was the South Beach Trail. This scenic trail starts at Wickaninnish Beach and is only about a kilometre and a half, round trip.
We got plenty of sneak peeks of the shoreline along the first section of the trail.
South Beach is much smaller than Wickaninnish Beach, and consists mostly of pebbles and seashells.
Although different, it’s equally beautiful with its large outcroppings of rock.
At the far end of the beach, we met two young women who said they’d come across fresh bear scat and footprints on the other side of the large rocks. Equipped with bear bells and bear spray, we felt confident to go look for ourselves. Sure enough, we soon found plenty of bear scat. Which begs the question: What’s the difference between black bear scat and grizzly bear scat? Black bear scat contains mostly fruit and berries. Grizzly bear scat, on the other hand, is full of little red bear bells. Har-har-har.
This section of beach is full of big rocks and I couldn’t navigate it with my sore foot. So I found a nice log for Roxy and me to sit on while Hubby went in search of bear prints in the sand.
I took off my shoes to give my feet a break and sat quietly for a while, enjoying the view and the warmth of the sun.
With dense woods directly behind me, the notion of bears in the vicinity began to weigh on my mind. So I dug out my small canister of pepper spray, just to have it handy, and sang a few songs to amuse myself. I figured just the bad singing alone should scare the bears off. If that didn’t work, my escape route, over all those rocks, would not be a quick one.
I soon decided it’d be prudent to take more pictures of the main beach and basically abandoned Hubby on that isolated beach, hoping he wouldn’t become bear bait. It was a great relief when he appeared over the rocks a few minutes later.
With no photos of bear prints to be had, we followed the trail back to Wickaninnish Beach. This picturesque beach is expansive, sandy and popular with surfers and kayakers.
After all that hiking, Roxy was appreciative of a long drink of water when we got back to the car.
Because of the lateness of the day, we made Willowbrae Trail our final stop. This trail is about one and a half kilometres one way.
Stairs were interspersed throughout the trail, but the bulk of them came just before the beach. We counted 174 stairs in that section alone.
Florencia Bay Beach was totally worth having to climb all those steps on our return. Of all the beaches we saw on this trip, each with its own special appeal, Florencia Bay probably topped our list.
It had the most unique natural sand art we’ve ever seen.
Some interesting log art too.
I totally impressed myself with the ease and speed I climbed those 174 stairs back up to the trail. Especially considering we’d already climbed/descended at least a thousand (no exaggerating) stairs already that day. Logging all those boring hours on the recumbent bike had actually paid off.
Plenty of photo ops.
Hubby, having worked several summers at a Vancouver Island logging camp as a teenager, pointed out the numerous springboard notches on the tree stumps.
After our disappointing accommodations in Tofino, we were most pleased with our charming little cabin at Reef Point Cottages in Ucluelet.
I have to give Reef Point Cottages extra kudos. When I cancelled our June reservations, the manager said to ask for her when I rebooked, so I did. She not only didn’t charge the $50 cancellation fee, she gave us the same lower rate we would’ve got in June. Which meant this bright, spacious, modern cabin cost $60 a night less than the dingy motel in Tofino. Incredible.
Even Roxy loved it. After scarfing down a huge (for her) meal, she immediately got comfy.
Being a pet-friendly place, they left doggie treats for Roxy. Cute idea, although we laughed at how the treats were longer than her entire head.
With Roxy fed and settled in, we headed out to feed ourselves. This adorable guy was eating his dinner right outside our cabin.
He was soon joined by this precious pair.
Moments later, we met them again as they crossed the main road.
Having snacked on trail mix all day, I had little appetite, so I chose a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. To my disappointment, it consisted of a single processed cheese slice between two pieces of soggy white toast. Hubby, needing more than trail mix to sustain him, devoured a large plate of Chinese food and proclaimed it excellent.
After retrieving Roxy, we drove around for a while, trying to scope out a good place to watch the sunset. We happened across the public wharf during our search, enabling Hubby to indulge in another of his favourite pastimes – drooling over fancy boats.
This high-in-the-sky sunset shot was the best we could find.
We went to bed that night happy and tired, filled with anticipation of the next day’s adventures on the Wild Pacific Trail.