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Clayoquot Sound Hiking Blog

 

SUNDAY,  JUNE 23, 2013

Lone Cone on Meares Island

Tofino Water Taxi to the Lone Cone TrailheadLone Cone is certainly one of the best hiking trails around Tofino.  Its challenging, beautiful and remote.  Located on Meares Island within sight of Tofino, beginning Kakawis.  The now (by the looks of it), abandoned village of Kakawis gives the start of the trail an eerie feeling.  Kakawis was purchased, earlier this year by the Ahousaht First Nation for 'economic development', however the area is expected to remain unchanged for the near future while development The Lone Cone Trail on Meares Island Near Tofinoplans are decided and agreed upon.  Meares Island is such a wild and beautiful island, in such a beautiful part of the world, so close to Tofino..  The small expense($40 return) of needing a boat taxi to get to the the trailhead is well worth it.  From the dock in Tofino all the way to the trailhead wharf you see the impressive volcano-looking Lone Cone getting closer and more massive by the second. The Tofino WaterA Giant Cedar on the Trail to Lone Cone Taxi boats are very fast and as you skim across the water the driver points out some sights and history.  Among many other sights, you pass close to, or rather far under an eagles nest and watch as the enormous resident eagle glares down at you as you pass.  The coast around Tofino is wonderfully pristine.  Facing away from Tofino towards Lone Cone you just see uninterrupted green and blue.  The expanses of solid green trees crowding the shores and the dark blue or deep green of the ocean, glassy looking in these The Beautifully Overgrown Trail to Lone Conesheltered waters protected by Vargas Island.  The short Tofino Taxi ridge drop you at the small dock at Kakawis in less than 15 minutes and a gravel road takes you to the trailhead for Lone Cone.  The Lone Cone trailhead sign just after the abandoned houses directs you left into the forest.  An abrupt, red sign reads, "NO CAMPING NO FIRES".  This camping prohibition is baseless however as Meares Island is entirely Crown Land with the exception of the inhabited areas leased to the local First Nations. Camping is therefore ok on Lone Cone, however, putting a tent up on the first main lookout point would certainly be discourteous to other hikers.  With a little effort and exploration beyond Steep Hiking Trail to Lone Cone on Meares Islandthis area you can find nice areas to discretely set up a tent in the midst of paradise without fear of annoying or even seeing other hikers.  The actual Lone Cone trail starts off in wonderfully, deep forest with some muddy sections.  Hopping from tree root to tree root or onto the purpose built, round tree sections placed in the mud as stepping stones allows you to stay dry.  The massive trees of Meares Island are everywhere.  Giant cedars slow your hiking progress as they make you Lone Cone Trail Viewstop and gawk in wonder at their incredible size.  This area was mercifully spared from logging in the 80's when a massive and heroic public outcry blocked the destruction of this gorgeous island.  The trail continues through deep forest and muddy sections for about 15 minutes before abruptly begins ascending up Lone Cone.  This trail is quite good considering how wild and thick the forests around Tofino are.  Occasionally you come to sections where trees have crashed Lone Cone Trail View of Tofinodown, obliterating the trail.  At these area you spot trail marking ribbons hanging from the trees directing you through the chaos to the trail again.  These areas are quite fun though as you better appreciate the wildness of the place as you scramble over metres thick, fallen trees, looking as if just fallen yesterday.  The Lone Cone trail is just 3.3 kilometres from the dock to the main almost-summit viewpoint, but it feels like more.  Catching your breath along the trail as you take in the surroundings becomes frequent in the last and steepest kilometre.  Finally, at the top of the trail you get to the view.  Well worth the hike.  Looking down on the endless, perfectly green forests, islands and mountains as they extend to the ocean and horizon.  Certainly one of the best hikes around!

More Info on Hiking Lone Cone on Meares Island Near Tofino >>

THURSDAY,  NOVEMBER 8, 2012

Beautiful New Hiking and Biking Trail in Whistler

Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler - View of Green LakeThe Sea to Sky Trail is the 180K hiking, biking, walking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and running trail that stretches from Squamish to D'Arcy south and north of Whistler.  Overall the trail is still under construction, however, the beautiful route through Whistler is finally in place and for the most part, complete.  This extraordinary trail meanders its way through many of Whistler's seemingly endless, beautiful sights.  The Whistler section of the Sea to Sky Trail is 33 kilometres long between Brandywine Falls Provincial Park and WedgeWoods Estates just north of Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler - Brandywine FallsGreen Lake (north of Whistler Village).  The Whistler section of the trail is paved near the Village, and further out, dirt or crushed rock.  Some sections are narrow, dirt and challenging as they wind through deep forest in an absurdly winding, though very fun, roller coaster like route through the trees.  North of Whistler Village the trail can be challenging with several hills as it rises above and beyond Parkhurst.  This marvellous and newly built section is a wide, crushed rock path that is relaxing and smooth despite continuous hills to reach the summit of the trail.  High above Green Lake, the high point of the Whistler part of the Sea to Sky Trail has some fantastic views of mountains all Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler - Lost Lake Parkaround.  South of Whistler Village, the paved Whistler Valley Trail that the Sea to Sky Trail shares, ends at Cheakamus Crossing and becomes a narrow dirt trail with some wider sections of crushed rock.  This beautiful section follows the Cheakamus River making Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler - Cheakamus Riverfour dramatically beautiful river crossings. The Cal-Cheak area is one of these beautiful crossings.  The Calcheak Suspension Bridge spans the wide and always rushing and chaotic Cheakamus River that dictates the beautiful route of the Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler.  You can't help wonder how Whistler seems to have these great bridges on various trails.  They are very long and well constructed and certainly expensive.  There is another one further up the Cheakamus River towards Cheakamus Lake.  Evidently, if you are thinking the cute suspension bridge at Calcheak is nice you are in for a shock.  Further down the trail you come to the enormous, chasm spanning, Whistler Bungee Bridge.  This amazing bridge crosses way above the Cheakamus River Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler - The Bungee Bridgefar below.  The bridge is ridiculously long and absurdly high.  Expect to spend some time in this area, not just for the amazing bridge, but also the cliffs just past the bridge, that have some impressive views as well.  Across the Bungee Bridge the Sea to Sky Trail passes near and past some nice viewpoints Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler - The Calcheak Bridgeof distant mountains and valleys.  The trail eventually leads directly through Brandywine Provincial Park and very close to the wonderful viewpoint across to the falls.  Brandywine Falls is a great place to park your car and start out on the trail.  Calcheak is also a good place to park and there is plenty of room near the, hard-to-miss Sea to Sky Trail signs.  Nearer to Whistler Village there are dozens of good places to park.  All of the parks in Whistler on the trail have convenient and free parking.  Right in Whistler Village you will find parking near Lost Lake Park in Lot 4 and get on the trail just metres from your car.  North of Whistler there is convenient and free parking at Nicklaus North Golf Course, just a five minute walk from the Green Lake part of the Sea to Sky Trail that rises from the Lost Lake Trail.  Further north still, the turnoff for Wedgemount Lake, just north of Green Lake has lots of parking near the Sea to Sky Trailhead there.

More Info on the Sea to Sky Trail in Whistler >>

TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2012

Time-Lapse Video of Ucluelet's Inner Harbour from the Bayshore Waterfront Inn

Watching the fishing boats head out at 6am on August 21th in Ucluelet's beautiful Inner Harbour.  Taken from the beautiful Bayshore Waterfront Inn.  An amazing boutique hotel at regular hotel prices.  The rooms are fantastic, first class luxury feel and you can watch the harbour like a tv from the couch or sundeck.

Timelapse View from the Bayshore Waterfront in Ucluelet

More Info on the Bayshore Waterfront in Ucluelet >>

MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2012

Virgin Falls - 30k From the Kennedy River Bridge

Virgin Falls Near TofinoAt 53 metres, Virgin Falls is quite an impressive sight.  You walk through the short, two minute forest trail to reach it and it fills your view.  It is located in a beautiful oasis it has created.  A large, ice cold and crystal clear pool with pebble rocks and waterfall battered logs that flows out in a large, meandering stream through the trees.  The whole area is surrounded by huge trees and you feel a strange sense of comfort, like you are in protected place.  And when you roll out your sleeping bag in the spectacular setting, you will never want to leave.  The small, but very inviting View From the Drive to Virgin Fallscamping area is amazing.  Huge trees to your back, phenomenal waterfall to your front.  Room for two tents near the cozy and clean fire pit.  Endless firewood litters the edge of the waterfalls pool beautifully.  Though the loud waterfall makes conversation a bit tough.  The wonderful area where the fire is is somewhat sheltered by a couple large trees deflecting some sound and making the camping area all the better.  The Virgin Falls road is pretty bad, though very beautiful.  It is hardly maintained, though still used logging road that hugs the coast much of its 31k length from the Kennedy River bridge turnoff.  The potholes are numerous, though expected.  What isn't expected is the narrow, overgrown sections.  If you The Green Tunnel to Virgin Fallsvalue your vehicles paint, you will find yourself gritting your teeth quite a bit.  But then if you have a 4x4, you should likely be used to that and be fine barrelling through these narrow sections.  If you are planning on driving up without a 4x4 you should be able to make it, though there are a couple of steep sections that you may have to make a couple runs at to get up.  The hilariously adorable little cabin near Virgin Falls that can be used by anyone and sits at the end of a short side road definitely requires a good 4x4 to reach.  But as it is only about 400 metres from the Virgin Falls road, you can park and walk to it if needed.  There are two excellent pullout/turn around points on this short road as well in case you chicken out and want to turn around part way in.  The little Virgin Virgin FallsFalls cabin is quite amazing for such a remote place.  First off, the setting is fantastic.  It is located overlooking the beautiful Tofino Creek, and there is a wonderful campfire spot complete with log seats, just steps from the cabin.  The cabin itself is equipped with a wood stove and bunk beds.  You could easily have 8 people stay and sleep fairly comfortably as there are six bunks and floor room.  There are several empty and partly empty booze bottles lining the shelves as well as quite a few odd curiosities in the little cabin.  If you are brave enough to drive right to the cabin there is room for several vehicles to park and not obstruct anyone's exit.  The Virgin Falls cabin even has pots and pans for use with the stove and working lanterns and some fantastically kind people have generously equipped it with lots of cut firewood.  There is a funny sign on the door declaring that the cabin is for everyone and despite its shabby appearance you get the impression that this cabin on Tofino Creek near Virgin Falls has been well used and well loved for decades.

More Info on Virgin Falls in Clayoquot Sound Near Tofino >>

SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 2012

Long Beach Wild - A Great New Book by Adrienne Mason

Long Beach Wild by Adrienne MasonA loving look at the Tofino to Ucluelet part of the world from it's beginnings to recent times.  Each chapter begins with a present day glimpse of the place about to be covered.  This gives a wonderful feeling of being in the moment then leads beautifully to the never boring history behind the place you just saw through her eyes.

The author, Adrienne Mason, long time Tofino resident never hides for an instant her love for this stretch of land and it's mesmerizing and unexpectedly colourful history.  Just when you thought you knew the history of Tofino a book like this comes along and reinvigorates your wonder for this amazing place.

 

 

Long Beach Wild - A Celebration of People and Place on Canada's Rugged Western Shore.  Released in March 2012.

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 28, 2012

Great Books About Like in Tofino by Andrew Struthers

The Green Shadow, by Andrew Struthers is an engrossing account of life in Tofino a few decades ago.  Though written with such enthralling passion that you feel somehow part of the story, living the exceptionally eventful life of this one-of-a-kind character in Tofino's history.  This is one of those rare books that you can't put down after just a couple pages.

Tofino is a beautiful part of the world.  It's hard to grasp why exactly, it rains all the time!  The weather is hostile and on the surfaceThe Green Shadow by Andrew Struthers it's just a lovely, long beach and parallel road with cute towns on either end.  But once visiting you become captivated by it somehow.  As if there is an inexplicable quality it has unlike anywhere else in the world.  Maybe its the giant trees everywhere and captivating ocean.  The fact that the area is seemingly all park, makes it very exploration-friendly.  Whatever it is, one thing is unmistakable.  Everyone that visits this Tofino to Ucluelet, forest/beach wilderness, falls in love with it.  The Green Shadow has this quality as well.  You don't know why, but as you read, you fall ever more in love with the place that surrounds.. and is Tofino.

The Last Voyage of the Loch Ryan by Andrew StruthersThe Green Shadow was initially written in parts for Victoria and Vancouver newspaper magazines and later published in book form.  Years later Struthers published another book on Tofino called The Last Voyage of the Loch Ryan.  This book has the same amazing storytelling as The Green Shadow, though drawn out into a more complete history of not only Tofino but the coast of Vancouver Island down to Victoria.  This makes it a much more substantial and complete story of Tofino's history.  It is another account of the Author's extraordinary life where he ends up living on the Loch Ryan.  An ex-fishing boat, constructed very early in Tofino's history.  This ancient, small, yet beautifully robust ship becomes his home for months as yet another wonderful tale of Tofino's history unfolds as he voyages the waters in the area.  As the story unfolds, the history of the Loch Ryan is learned and though in the story it seems to exist as a background feature to string the beautiful story of Tofino and the Author's life together.  Later in the book, the Loch Ryan becomes more of the focus of the story as its last voyage and fate near.

Make a point of picking one or both of these before you go or in Tofino to get inspired.  If you read some of either book before you arrive you will find yourself spotting all sorts of the history of Tofino depicted in the books.  From the 'Common Loafer' coffee shop to the ever-present Maquinna Pub that feature often in the books and still remain local favourites today.   Find both books at the great little local bookshop, Mermaid Tales Bookshop(455 Campbell St)..  Or in Wild Heather Books, in Ucluelet (1576 Imperial Lane).

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