Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lighthouse Loop

"It's the best hiking on the island," a young couple from Campbell River told us.  "We come here every chance we get."

Such lofty praise of the Wild Pacific Trail, which curves around the rugged shoreline of Ucluelet Peninsula, sent us on a mission to find out.  The trail will eventually cover 14 km.  This particular leg, called the Lighthouse Loop, is an easy 2.7 km hike.

Well, word was out.  Every Tom, Dick and Harry (and their dogs) were on the trail that day.  Cabin fever, evidently, was on the rise.

Who can blame them?  The trails are wide and well-maintained.  There are breathtaking vistas around every turn.  Benches to sit on.  Bald eagles and seals to see.  Moss covered trees to photograph (and photograph we did!).  This is the beginning of the storm season and we learned that this is the most popular place on Vancouver Island to see the Pacific Ocean in full fury.  Indeed, in 1914, a giant wave completely destroyed Amphitrite Lighthouse.  A new lighthouse was built higher up.  Today, it is unmanned and automated.  If ever there was a place needing a lighthouse, it is here.  The westside of the peninsula is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific.

But the best place on the island for hiking?  Close, but in my guidebook it would be rated Number Two.  Stay tuned for Number One!

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