For our first full day on Vancouver Island, we decided to drive across the island to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The drive was hot; British Columbia and, indeed, western Canada, has been experiencing a heat wave, with temperatures holding steady in the high 30’s and low 40’s C (high 90’s, low 100’s F) for a few weeks. Vancouver Island is extremely dry and fires are a definite threat; the Pacific coastal rain forest hasn’t had significant rain in weeks, if not months.
We encountered some construction along the route but we made good time, arriving in Ucluelet around lunch time. When you’re at that side of the island, you must, absolutely must, visit Long Beach. I love it there, and I know John does, too. The beautiful, sandy beach stretches for miles, as far as you can see.
The water was surprisingly warm and John took full advantage of it; he was the only person I saw who was swimming in the ocean, apart from the surfers who were suited up against the chill. I did go into the water but only about waist deep; honestly, I’m not much of a swimmer but I do enjoy being near the ocean.
We wandered the beach for a while, just soaking it all in… until the sand fleas started biting. After that, we hotfooted it (literally! our feet were too sandy for our shoes so we walked barefoot; the sand was HOT!!) back to the car and continued our drive. On the way back to Qualicum Beach, we absolutely had to stop at the world famous Cathedral Grove. It isn’t as I remembered it.
The first time I was in Cathedral Grove, many, many years ago, it was a wild place; there were paths, certainly but no fences, no railings. Now, there are parking lots on both sides of the highway; groups of tourists in tour buses stop to wander through the fenced paths and the wooden viewing platforms to marvel at the huge Douglas Firs. We didn’t stay long, just long enough to walk the paths, take a few pictures, have our pictures taken, and that’s about it. It does still inspire, though.
Once we left Cathedral Grove, we drove straight back to our motel to experience low tide. That was fun; it’s for another post, though. This one has more than enough pictures for one day.