This past weekend I left the comfort of the city (and my patch) and journeyed west to the beautiful town of Tofino. This gem on the west coast of Vancouver Island is about a 4 hour drive (with stops, and you should definitely stop) from Victoria, a scenic drive through snow-capped mountains, on winding roads, ending with a descent into the coastal rainforest.
It is a place I have visited many times, its remote and wild location keeps me coming back. It is known for its expansive beaches, lush rainforest, wildlife and extreme weather. As the name suggests it rains a lot in the rainforest, and rain gear is a must for anyone visiting. However this weekend it felt like spring, the rain held off and the sun shone. At this time of year some of the areas most famous species are beginning to appear after winter; grey whales are returning from their long migration from Mexico, and the bears are becoming increasingly active. Unfortunately for me, none of these species co-operated, I did however get some lovely views of some of the first swallows back from their migration. Eagles scoured the beaches, whilst being relentlessly mobbed by crows. Ravens could be heard throughout the rainforest, their haunting calls echoing through the trees, only to be interrupted by more mobbing crows. Despite the beauty and wildness of the area, it was not my weekend for seeing wildlife, even the Tofino mudflats (an ecological hotspot) were surprisingly quiet. This site is something I had only recently found out about, and it had been described as a birders’ paradise (I am sure it is on other occasions), so with high hopes I ventured to the mudflats at sunrise to soak up some of the abundant bird species that rely on the area. I found however only mallards, and the odd Canada goose.
The highlight was the rainforest trail, a boardwalk built above the forest floor. The forest floor is covered in mosses, ferns, bushes and the base of the giant trees covered in lichen. It is like a prehistoric, like stepping back in time. Some overnight rain had brought the forest to life and the colour green shone through, 50 shades of green comes to mind! The giant trunks rise up to the impressive canopy above. The forest was bathed in sunlight with a backing soundtrack of the Pacific Ocean and a cool coastal breeze causing the trees to creak and move as it passed through.
Even though the wildlife did not completely co-operate, the landscape certainly made up for it. I managed to try some recording, making a short video from my time in beautiful Tofino.