After several back and forths along Ucluelet’s main drag looking for a restaurant open for breakfast, Hubby and I finally happened upon Matterson House. It was very cute. And pricey. But at least it was open.
Fortified on expensive chow, we collected Roxy and drove to the Lighthouse Loop parking lot. As, apparently, did everyone else in Ucluelet. We were lucky to squeeze into a tight parking spot off in a back corner.
The two and a half kilometre loop is easy to walk with a relatively flat grade, likely one of the reasons it’s so popular. There are look-outs all along the trail with spectacular views, and I was amazed at how many people didn’t even bother to stop and enjoy them.
The trail, itself, held many charms.
We heard Amphitrite Lighthouse long before we saw it.
I found the black rock and rugged coastline reminiscent of Ke’anae Lookout in Maui. Even as I sorted through our photos after getting home, I had to remind myself that this was the west coast of Canada, not Hawaii.
We often saw white sudsy-looking foam on the water, and I learned this is actually a healthy phenomenon. Sea foam is created when tiny, single-celled plants called phytoplankton mixes with air and water current. The more phytoplankton, the more food for those higher up the food chain.
Hubby and I often take shots of the same view, yet they turn out completely different.
My shot of a jay on a fence:
That cheeky little bird moved to a nearby tree as we got closer and proceeded to scold us but good.
The wind-shaped trees were dramatically striking.
We filled our entire morning, marvelling over the abundance of fantastic scenery.
Roxy, my little diva, was such a trooper the entire trip. Rarely ever a complaint. It was quite comical, though, how completely wiped out she was after every single hike. All that being carried and looking around must be quite exhausting if you’re used to snoozing most of the day away.
As unchallenging as the Lighthouse Loop was, my poor foot still felt the effects, so after lunch I decided to switch out the old Nikes for a sturdy pair of hikers. These hikers are newish, and the last time I wore them, they gave me blisters. As a precaution, I bandaged the back of my heels first. Getting my swollen right foot into the shoe was owie, owie. Off with the shoe, loosen the laces, on with the shoe. Still major ouch. Off with the shoe, loosen the laces, on with the shoe…I went through this painful ordeal several times before being able to tolerate having the shoe on. Not a great start to my afternoon.
We began the Wild Pacific Trail at Big Beach and planned to carry on as far as we could go; hopefully reaching Rocky Bluffs about six kilometres away. People were leaving Big Beach in droves when we got there, and a lady told us a bear was on the beach. I asked her if it was to the left or to the right and she said to the left. Good thing we were going right. We stood at a high point for a few moments to check things out, but no sign of a bear. So off we went.
I figured out quite quickly that I should’ve left the Nikes on. Because I’d loosened the laces, my skinny little heel slipped up and down as I walked, and a blister soon started to form, despite having the bandaid on. I had to stop and reinforce it with another bandaid, and a while later, yet another one. Removing the shoe was painful. Putting it back on hurt even worse. This was not looking good.
Maybe it was my sore foot. Maybe it was the gathering clouds with a risk of rain. Maybe it was all the spectacular nature we’d already seen that morning. Whatever the reason, we just weren’t as enthusiastic about this part of the hike. Not that it wasn’t scenic, because it certainly was.
The accumulation of logs all along the route spoke of violent storms, which are a big draw for storm watchers in the winter.
Quite a bit of the trail wasn’t in view of the water, but still offered plenty to see.
Hubby even found some red huckleberries.
Bracket fungus decorated the trees.
Aren’t they cute?
Besides dealing with the injury to my right foot and being prone to blisters, I have another annoying foot ailment called Morton’s Neuroma. Nerve compression causes tingling in the toes and increasing pain in the foot. Removing the shoe eases the pain almost immediately, although it generally returns soon after the shoe is back on. This is a sporadic problem, and some shoes aggravate it worse than others. Just my luck, the pain started in my left foot about two kilometres into the hike. Every single step became an agony, each foot for a different reason.
I hate being a quitter, really hate it. And I hate missing out. But knowing we still had to walk several kilometres back to the car, I finally conceded defeat, and we turned back long before reaching our destination.
A rather disappointing afternoon, after an exceedingly wonderful morning. While at Big Beach, though, we found an excellent place to watch the sunset that evening. I’ll share some of those marvellous shots next week.