A Walk in the Forest
Driving out towards Tofino, about a mile before the T junction for Tofino or Ucluelet, is a parking area for a hike back in time. The trail called “A Walk in the Forest” takes you back into the rainforest to see how the ecosystem works. It’s very level and you could walk the whole thing in about 15 minutes. But if you stop and ponder the logging history and resulting devastation, then consider the work that people put in to restoring the forest, you can spend hours here.
The trail was constructed in 1997 by the local government but was neglected and ended up trashed, literally. In 2010, several private organizations banded together to bring the trail back to usefulness. They repaired and built new boardwalks and viewing platforms and cleaned up the place. They are all working on preserving the trail and continuing to remove the remnants of logging that hinders the complete restoration of the habitat.
We arrived on a beautiful day to A Walk in the Forest, not knowing what to expect. We entered the dark forest under the rain shelter and were immediately greeted by an environment we had never before seen, one we thought only existed in the Jurassic. Every plant was covered by another plant, trees growing out of fallen trees, and I’m not talking about saplings. There were trees several feet in diameter that had grown within a fallen tree, truly nature at its best. The old were nurturing the young. The trail is mostly boardwalk, which allowed us to be up and above what we were seeing. We walked over small and large streams and brooks (Lost Shoe Creek), apparently the ideal location for spawning Coho salmon – close to the ocean, plenty of water, clean streams, and more shade than a salmon could ask for.
We ambled along for at least an hour. We loved every minute of it – the gentle dappled sunlight barely reaching the ground, plants growing over every square inch of surface, even the bottoms of things covered in green, gentle trickling streams, the smell of cedar-scented, warm, humid air full of life, and life sustaining.