Pacific Rim

Picture of ucluelet Canada's Pacific Rim National Park is broken into several segments. The most visited is the Long Beach Unit which stretches between the two small towns of Ucluelet and Tofino. Those also happen to be the only towns on this section of the coast. We stayed in Ucluelet so many of our pictures are from there. This is central Ucluelet while approaching the harbor.
Picture of Pacific_rim_trail One of the most popular trails in the region is the Wild Pacific Trail which is in Ucluelet and follows the outline of a peninsula. There are some excellent views of the ocean all along this trail. During our visit in midsummer the waves were relatively calm but apparently (judging from the signage) it can get pretty rough out here.
Picture of islands Part of the trail looks out into the Broken Group Islands which make up another unit of the park. These islands had the best wildlife viewing of any part of the park we visited.
Picture of tidepools At low tide there are many exposed tide pools to explore as well. It seems like most of this is also exposed at high tide but it's definitely in the splash zone. These rocks are not part of the Wild Pacific Trail but they're easily accessed near the lighthouse.
Picture of humpback_whale We went on a whale watching expedition from Ucluelet. Whale watching in both Ucluelet and Tofino is almost exclusively on small zodiac-style boats. This is generally a good thing as you can get closer to the wildlife. If you get seasick easily it might be a bad thing. This is a humpback whale we followed for about a half hour.
Picture of sea_lions Outside of the huge protected bay are some rocky shoals frequented by sea lions. Our boat came out here as well to take a look.
Picture of colony This is the only place in the park we saw sea lions. Whales were visible all along the coast although generally from quite a distance. Sadly, we did not get a chance to see any sea otters.
Picture of harbor_seals Harbor seals were also frequent. In Ucluelet solo seals swam through the harbor and also along the inlet where we were staying. We only saw groups of seals on isolated rocks and occasionally in the water.
Picture of bald_eagle Bald eagles were ubiquitous throughout the park but definitely around the harbors in both Ucluelet and Tofino. We saw them fishing, nesting, soaring and in large numbers around the fish canneries (of course).
Picture of bear Apparently when whale watching fails some of the boats patrol the beaches for wandering bears (particularly at low tide). Our boat never did this but we were able to see some in the mornings across the inlet from our apartment. This is taken at a very high zoom (so it's a little grainy) but bears did seem to come to the shore at every low tide.
Picture of long_beach This section of the park is called the Long Beach Unit and this is part of Long Beach. It's actually extremely long - it's the entire coastline here. It's a wide beach with a whole lot of driftwood. We saw surfers and surf schools operating in some areas but the water is cold and there are often dangerous currents. We also saw a fair lot of jellyfish washed up on shore.
Picture of rainforest In the interior of the park is the fabulous rainforest trail which is a short boardwalk loop through the dense forest. This is a fantastic trail and should definitely be visited if you're out at the park.
Picture of sundew Less popular but equally impressive in its own way is the Shorepine Bog trail. It's a very short boardwalk loop over a delicate ecosystem that features a few species of plants that thrive in acidic environments. Among them are some multi-colored sphagnum mosses and these carnivorous sundew plants.
Picture of sunset

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