CHINA BEACH TO BEAR BEACH AND BACK
Round trip: 20.4 km in 9 and a half hours. Wikiloc link of our route:
We started at China Beach Campground, from which there is a path that reaches Second Beach.
We have to continue on the beach, where we will have our first contact with the spherical end and pseudo-alien aspect algae that will accompany us all the way, to the recreational area of China Beach (dayuse).
We ascend to the parking lot and at this point is the proper start of the route.
The path goes through a medium-sized trees forest, very straight. When we were there it was foggy, which gave it a mystical aspect.
Then you’ll pass a suspension bridge over Pete Wolfe Creek. In the forest, larger and larger trees continue to appear mixed with rain forest, something that in the world only exists on the north Pacific coast from Oregon to northern British Columbia.
We will arrive at Mystic Beach, where a natural rock arch attracts our attention and also an area where people have put so many small towers made of pebbles that looks like a sanctuary, is really beautiful.
Back on the path, we will soon find this beautiful curiosity of nature, as these two trunks have fallen parallel to each other and perpendicular to another of greater thickness.
From here are the largest trees. The largest in the world of their respective species are all very close, although none on the Marine Trail itself:
- Sitka spruce. Some specimens exceed 70 meters. From this variety is the Carmanah Giant, the tallest tree in Canada with 96 meters high, which is located in the Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, just 20 km northwest of Port Renfrew (the western end of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail). The largest by volume is the San Juan Spruce, 32 km east of Port Renfrew, in the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park (though not on the Marine Trail).
- Douglas fir. In this area their maximum height is about 60 meters, but 29 km east of Port Renfrew, very close to San Juan Spruce, is the largest in the world, the Red Creek Fir Champion (74 meters).
- Western red or giant cedar. Although it receives this name, it is not a cedar, but another conifer. Slightly less high, the largest specimens are around 60 meters, being the largest (not the highest) the Cheewhat Giant, which is also very close, just 10 km northwest of the Carmanah Giant.
The truth is that I can not distinguish well from each other, I just fascinated myself again and again with the presence of these colossal trees. I suppose those with reddish bark, like that perpendicular, should be red cedars and those with rougher bark, Sitka spruces.
Green-black slugs almost 10 cm in length abound along with reddish based white fungi.
The trail gains height respect to the coast, providing some of the most beautiful and authentic landscapes in the route. We will pass by other bridges and next to trees with curious morphology.
In Bear Beach we stop for lunch. It feels more exposed to the sea than Mystic.
On the way back, we stopped to play with a rope placed on China Beach to swing.
SOMBRIO BEACH TO PARKINSON CREEK AND BACK
Round trip, 15.2 km in 8 hours and 25 minutes. Wikiloc links of our route:
Sombrio Beach is much wider than Bear Beach, there is camping area on both sides of a small river that is saved by a suspension bridge.
The first part of the trail is through the beach at low tide; it is a long section, and one of the inaccessible points at high tide, so it is essential to check the tide tables before starting the march.
Once in the forest, we will pass by this small and bucolic waterfall.
After 4 km we’ll arrive at Little Kuitshe Creek, much more basic, but also quieter, than Sombrio Beach.
Later there are many sections with stairs and difficult access areas.
And the views of the coast are spectacular again. On the rocks of this area it is common to see sea lions, although we only saw them in the water and very far away.
The last part, before reaching Parkinson Creek, trees are low.
We only had to go the way back and, who says that the return is not different from the way? The first thing that happened to us, just 500 meters from Parkinson Creek, is that after a bend I found myself 10 meters away from an adult black bear with her cub. Luckily they were as surprised as I was. My first impulse was to take out the camera, but my second and next saner impulse was to slowly back away without losing visual contact, raising my arms slowly to try to look bigger, as I had read in all the recommendations during the last 3 weeks in Canada. Once we got so far back that we lost sight of it, we started making noise and moving slowly. This scared the bear cub, which did not have a better occurrence than climbing a tree that it later could not get down, which made it even more frightened, and this made the mother not move away from the road nor even a meter until the adorable creature was able to go down, 10 minutes later. Then they left and we lost them in the bush. We did not feel completely calm until 15 minutes later we saw them on the rocks of the coast, more than 100 meters away from the road.
After the hype for the encounter with the bears, and with the day much more clear, the way back became more ameno than the way there, even the cliffs seemed more attractive.
3.25 km tour whose last part connects with the beginning, or end of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Wikiloc link of our route:
Compared to the rest of the path, Botanical Beach is not a big deal. It is a very short section, although quite representative of the entire Trail, near Port Renfrew. The circular route from the car park is just 2.5 km, we walk some longer because we wandered along the beach.
You can see areas of cliff with conifers and twisted trees as a result of the usual strong wind, which impedes their proper growth. On a good day it is a popular area for families, as apart from tables and chairs, skeletons of giant trees have been prepared on the beach as shelters. There is an infinity of great size mussels, although it is not allowed to take them, a real pity…
A short distance northeast of Port Renfrew, there is a small lake with a campground, which certainly lives up to its name, the Fairy Lake.