Tofino

It was a 4 hour drive to Tofino. The road took us across the mountains to reach the west coast of Vancouver Island.

On the way we went for a walk along the Cathedral Grove trail, which goes through the forest to the shores of near Cameron Lake. We also stopped of at Port Albani for lunch.

Cathedral Grove

The next day we went to the nearby town of Ucluelet, and went on a trail to a lighthouse. The weather was very wet, but it is a temperate rainforest, so that wasn't particularly unexpected.

There was both a whistle buoy and a bell buoy off the coast, which in the wind and the crashing waves, created a fairly eerie background noise.

Waves

Lighthouse

There are very few temperate rainforests in the world, and they are mostly found on the temperate coasts of the Pacific—in New Zealand, Japan, and on the west coast of both south and north America. A few pockets also exist on the west coasts of both Scotland and Ireland. They are characterised by high rainfall, and often are home to lots of epiphytic plants—which grow on top of other plants and get their moisture from the air rather than the ground. I have previously seen the New Zealand temperate rainforest, and the North American one has a lot in common, but is more coniferous, with fewer tree ferns.

In the afternoon we went on a trail in the Pacific Rim National Park. The trail went to some streams that flow through the rainforest. It was mostly boardwalk that seemed brand new, though there were some dubious old parts. I expect they need to replace the boardwalk fairly often given how wet it is constantly.

Boardwalk

Rainforest

The forest is allegedly full of bears, wolves, and cougars. We didn't see any of those, we did manage to find the fabled banana slug, which is the second largest species of terrestrial slug in the world.

Banana slug

We also went to have a look at the beach, where the Pacific Ocean meets the rainforest.

Beach

Today we cross back over the mountains, cross back to the mainland on the ferry, and head north to Whistler.