Back in Ucluelet

First look on the Wild Pacific Trail

We are back in Ucluelet.

They tell us it’s been a hard winter. It snowed. It hasn’t snowed for ten years. The two centimeters of accumulation created havoc. Especially when it didn’t melt off by 11am.

Well, it’s 1pm now and the view from the Wild Pacific Trail is great.

Ucluelet. Vancouver Island, B.C. March 2019


More about Bears

… because I find them fascinating.

This is a video of a bear trying to get into a bear-proof garbage bin.

He is one determined bear.

I don’t think this is the first bin the bear has rattled and rolled.  Hopefully it will be his last.

If a bear gets used to raiding garbage bins he becomes aggressive & territorial on his food source. Then he’s a threat to humans and Conservation Officers have to relocate or shoot him.

Since we’ve been in Ucluelet, we’ve had one case where a bear had to be relocated and another which had to be put down. I remember hearing a single gunshot reverberating through the forest. It wasn’t a good sound. 

Our condo has a huge industrial bin with a heavy cover held in place by a hinged steel bar. I have trouble lifting it but that’s ok — it’s Hubby’s duty to take out the garbage and tackle the bears.   Our bin even has a padlock but that’s for marauders of a two legged kind. A neighbor says it’s to avert non-residents who were dumping their garbage in our bins. The nerve.

BTW this video was taken in Alaska with a brown bear. Hubby says we have black bears here in Ucluelet and black bears are smaller. I don’t know, I haven’t had a chance to line them up to  compare.

Ucluelet, B.C.  August 2018

Whimsy and Magic

Walking through the coastal rain forest it’s easy to get lost in whimsy.

Moss covered cedars look like Seussian trees hugged by lovably tubby teddy bears.

Twisted cedars have arms worn smooth by creatures resting in midnight snoozes and daylight perches.

Tree trunk cubby holes lead to magical places.

If you’re careful you can even see fairy houses hidden in high branches.

And if you’re very very careful and extremely extraordinarily lucky you might even see the rarest of mythical creatures, a shaggy forest pony bear. 

Ucluelet, B.C. August 2018

Bear Aware


I mentioned I live in wild country, where there are wolves, cougars and bears?

Oh deer, too!

The deer are not a hazard, unless you’re gardener.  But bears can be a problem.

Ucluelet has a Bear Advisory in effect and a community Facebook page keeps us informed (and alarmed) when there’s a bear in the neighborhood.

A recent sampling of posts in the community page :

July 18 at 8:27 PM    Bear is trying to get into the garbage at the Brown’s Beach parking lot.

July 18 at 5:09 PM    Five o’clock just scared a bear out of my yard, be bear aware……

July 18 at 5:09 PM    Bear was just in our backyard on Lorne White Place. It went running towards the Raven route trail.

My concern was less academic when I plotted the locations on the map.  All within 10 minutes from my house.

I resolved to not take out the garbage that night and confirmed that all the doors and windows were locked.  I figured our place was safe.  After all, our condo was on the second floor.    Cue me, paging through a list of photos on Facebook.

Apparently, bears can climb.

Hmmm. OK. Double check: Front and Deck doors are locked.

Ding! New Facebook post coming in:

Today at 7:51pm    Large bear just crossing Peninsula Road in between tourists by Pacific Rim Motel…

Peninsula Road is the main street running through town.  I wonder  if the tourists minded the bear crossing between them.  It’s funny!  Well, maybe not.

The problem is that bears should be afraid of humans. When they’re not  and they start meandering through the town, they become a danger to people and themselves.

So what do you do, if you see a bear?  Pick up your kids, hold onto your pet and talk in a low, calm voice. Eh? Explain that you’re leaving his area and back away without staring him in the eye.  And if it’s not male a bear? Hope that baby bear is in day-care.

Ucluelet, BC. July 2018

Walk About: Big Beach

When it’s dark and overcast outside the best thing to do is … go for a walk.  It is the Pacific North West after all. There will be cloudy days.

Heading into Big Beach, we are reminded that this is wild country and we should look out for bears, cougars and wolves.


“Maybe we should start walking with your maraca shakers,” I said to Hubby.  “Then the bears would hear us coming.”

“Them and everyone else,” he said.

I was thinking about the surplus of  shakers and noise makers at home.

“In a pinch, we could also throw it at them,” I added.  “If they came too close.”

We didn’t see any bears, so we kept on walking.

On the way we came upon the remains of an ancient ship wreck.   It’s one of the mysteries of Big Beach, in that no one knows it’s identity or origin.  Given the rough seas, it’s no wonder that this stretch of coast line is called the Graveyard of the Pacific.


It’s easy to get lost in taking landscape pictures.  While the vistas are gorgeous, it’s the close-up shots that put you on the trail.

Heading back we took a short cut through the bush.

“There’s lots of berries here,” I said. “Stuff that bears like to eat.”

In fact, it looked like a bear might have been sitting here.

Those berries sure looked delicious.   I wonder what they would taste like?

“Come on,” Hubby said. “I can hear something moving about in there.”

Maybe I’ll try them next time.

Ucluelet, BC.  July 2018




Something to write about

Please Note: Despite imagery, Canada is not really an island 🙂

WordPress has been bugging me about my domain renewal.    It’s been a year since I purchased domain and I needed to rethink whether it was worth it.  Not the fee per se, rather the effort to maintain a blog.   After all, a lot has happened in a year.

When I first started I was living in Asia and wanted to chronicle bits and pieces of my life there.  After nearly ten years away though,  it was time to go  home to Toronto.   Lovely though it was to re-enter the familiarity of my hometown, there didn’t seem much newsworthy to blog about.

However, something’s about to change. My hometown is going to get a lot smaller.  Toronto will remain a 2.8 million metropolis (no fear there) but we will be moving to Ucluelet, with a population of 1,717.

I expect there’ll be a difference and maybe, something new to write about.

So I’ve decided to renew my domain and continue to post The Sandy Chronicles.  I have to change the blog’s tag line though.

Stay tuned for more about Exploring Life on the Edge.

Ucluelet, BC.  July 2018


Landscape photography is not my forte.

But given the coastal views in Ucluelet, British Columbia, I cannot but try.

Ucluelet – Stress Free Zone Ahead

Located on the westerly side of Vancouver Island (which on the west most side of British Columbia’s mainland), Ucluelet is this the rugged cousin of the more famous Tofino.

Amphitrite Lighthouse

It is well known for it’s black volcanic rock beaches and dramatic coast lines.  The Wild Pacific Trail starts at Amphitrite Lighthouse and loops up and along the Pacific Rim, with walking trails traversing cliffs and rain forest pathways.

North Pacific coast line

Wild Pacific Trail – one of many look outs

Closer to Tofino, the cliffs give way to stretches of  black-grey sand beaches.  Pounding waves make  this a destination spot for avid surfers …

Cox Beach

… and bicyclists,

Long Beach – Surf favorite

…  joggers and plain ole, laid back beach walkers – like me.

Ucluelet, British Columbia. June 2018

Walking Through the Pacific Rain Forest

The best way to experience nature is to take a walk.

While exploring Tofino we took a hike to Schooner Cove in the Pacific Rim National Park.  The web page said it was a short and relatively easy trail, leading through lush rainforests and over gentle meandering streams.

“How long is it?” I asked.

“It’s not far,” hubby said. “Less than ..” he mumbled into his shoulder as he turned away to get something from somewhere else.

So we walked.  It started out easy enough.

But after walking down and around for what seemed like forever, we came to this extended ramp.

Down and across …

… and across some more

At this point, with only the faint promise of  surf in the distance, we had too much vested in the walk to turn back.  We continued walking, going up and down several more ramps and valleys until we faced the final ascent.

On paper it is  only a two kilometre hike. However most of it is climbing up or down stairs. It could have been worse.  If there wasn’t a board walk for instance.  But then I probably wouldn’t be taking this hike.

How was Schooner’s Cove, the final destination?  It was good.

After the walk we went back to the hotel.

Thoughtfully displayed, for our post-walk reflection were these warning signs.

Cougars, Wolves and Bears. Oh dear.

Pacific Rim National Park in Tofino, Vancouver Island. BC. 2017