Vancouver Island Hikes
I’d not heard of the practice until I saw it on the event list for the Brant Wildlife Festival. Nature has always been my happy place – a way to reduce stress and reenergize. Forest bathing or shinrin-yoku started in Japan and is meant to be meandering through the forest as opposed to vigorous hiking. The phytoncide emitted by the trees improves your immune system. Now I know why I like to dawdle sometimes, besides being out of breath!!
My favourite hikes from the trip:
About 30 minutes west of Parksville is one of the best places to immerse yourself in green goodness. Some of the trees are over 800 years old, 75 m tall and 9 m in circumference. Dimly lit, it is a fun place to take your kids and say “Harry Potter” in your best Voldemort voice. Still makes me laugh as my daughter freaked out – I’m such a nice mother!
Lighthouse Trail, Ucluelet
Traveling on your own can be very empowering, but I have to admit that I tend to stick to busier trails in case something happens. At the information centre and during registration at the Ucluelet Campground, I was warned about aggressive wolves in the area. It was such a gorgeous afternoon though, so I drove to the trail, saw lots of cars in the parking lot and figured I’d be pretty safe. Chester went into the backpack and I followed a group onto the 2.6 km trail. I’m so thankful I did!
The views were stunning, and gulls and eagles were abundant. Apparently, you can see whales occasionally, however, I was not so lucky.
Just north of Long Beach is Schooner Cove – a perfect recommendation from a lovely lady in Parksville. A boardwalk winds its way 1 km through the rainforest, up and down stairs, to the beach. It’s best to go at low tide as you can walk to a number of small islands and explore.
Goldstream Provincial Park
A phenomenal park just north of Victoria and one I sadly did not have a lot of time to explore. The information centre is about a kilometre from the parking lot and I followed a group of university students who were out birding. A horrid smell came from a swamp full of beautiful looking flowers beside the trail. The name explains it all.
There were also trilliums, which I haven’t seen since Ontario, and a number of different types of birds. On the other side of the highway is Niagara Falls, a very popular waterfall and almost as tall as the Ontario version. The easiest way to access it is through a tunnel.
I have to admit I was tempted, but the park was closing in an hour and I still had a sixty-minute drive.
Mystic Beach, Juan de Fuca Trail
Another recommendation, this time from a couple whom I met at French Beach Provincial Park. Two kilometres of forest bathing (and a lot of mud puddles) led to a gorgeous beach. Along the way, a suspension bridge was really fun to cross.
There are a LOT of stairs to get down to the beach, but this was my view.
What a way to end the trip! I do have one more post of the beautiful oceanside campgrounds and beaches. Thank you so much for reading!!
For those who use Pinterest, I am trying out a picture with text.