8 a.m., low tide (0.7 feet)
Not everyone’s idea of a beach I guess, but I seem to gravitate to it. I tend to think of the area as two beaches, Botanical Beach and Botany Bay—they’re joined but there’s no sign saying where one ends and the other begins. Not that it matters of course, but it makes the hike doubly entertaining as each beach has it’s own distinctive character.
Just outside Port Renfrew, the beaches are at one end of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. From the parking lot there’s a loop trail so you can walk down to the ocean (you’ll want to be there at a one foot tide or lower) explore the tide pools on the long, wide, and flat Botanical Beach, then find your way around the headland above, explore the raw beauty of the Botany Bay area, then hike the rest of the loop trail back to the parking lot.
Behind the scenes I’m still sorting through a goodly number of photos from our brief getaway to Ucluelet. I think this one is interesting because it’s from a hiker’s perspective. It shows much of what the Wild Pacific Trail looks like.
From the sunny spot on the trail you have an unobstructed view out to the ocean. Notice how even, wide and well maintained the trail is. Notice too what the prevailing wind has done to the bushes at this spot where the wind funnels from the open ocean, through a bay and up the slope.