On our last day in Tofino we took a "hike" through the Pacific Rim National Forest, choosing to do the Boardwalk loop because it sounded so utterly cool. And it was, but damn was it hard. You see, that boardwalk is slick and covered with algae and giant banana slugs and it takes serious effort not to slip and sprain an ankle or fall off the path. What was about 1.5 kilometers took much longer than normal because you go down a bunch of steep steps and then back up slippery inclines as you make your way through the forest.
From the forest we drove down to Ucluelet to go for another hike on the Wild Pacific Trail in the other half of Pacific Rim National Park. I have a bit of a thing for lighthouses and there is a trail that goes directly past one so I thought it would be fun to walk it. The great thing about this hike is that it hugs the coast and you get spectacular views of the Broken Group Islands on a clear day and a much different - more rocky & savage - coastline than up in Tofino. Before leaving on the trip we really struggled with deciding whether we wanted to stay in Tofino or Ucluelet and having seen both I am sooo glad we chose to stay in Tofino. A couple of posters on various travel forums talked about Ucluelet as being what Tofino was 20 years ago and that may be true but from a traveler's point of view that's not necessarily a good thing. Not that it's ugly, but I didn't really see a reason to hang around downtown or wander away from one's accommodations. There's a definite reason the places down here are all much cheaper than you'll find in Tofino. Anyhow, the hike itself was, again, just beautiful. Near the lighthouse we saw a whale breaching off in the distance. Then as we rounded the corner I spied what I'm sure was a bald eagle flying around its nest in one of the offshore islands. Finally, as we neared the end of the trail we sat to watch another whale and its baby breaching off in the distance. There was no wanting for wildlife viewing on this hike.
On the way home we stopped for lunch in Tofino in a little shopping village that reminded me so much of the one in Hanalei. We thought we were going one place and ended up instead at a place that makes what is by far the best "burger" I've ever eaten. I had a cod BLT and the piece of fish was huge and I think there were shrimp and giant chunks of avocado on it as well. Alan had a spicy scallop burger that was also huge and tasty. The meal was so good, and so filling, that I'm pretty sure I ate a chunk of bread for dinner that night because I was far too full to actually eat a real meal.
Like the night before, we walked down to Mackenzie Beach to watch the sunset. I think because it was getting closer to Labour Day weekend there were more people up in the area - including campers dotting the coast - but the beach felt a bit more crowded than it did the night before. Not in a bad way at all though; the mood was very convivial and festive and everyone there was generally very happy. You saw a lot of couples - including us - walking down the beach, holding hands, with big goofy grins on their faces. As you can see from the pictures, the sunset was even more spectacular than the night before.