We decided to spend a couple of days on the Wildside trail on Flores Island in mid-July. Flores Island is about a forty minute water-taxi ride from Tofino, a small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Once you reach Flores Island the difficult part of your journey is over as the Wildside trail is an easy jaunt. Many people hike it in a day as it is only 11 kms. to where it ends at Cow Bay making it a 22 km. return trip. However, spending a night at Cow Bay provides an opportunity to linger in the beauty of this remote location.
The coast of British Columbia is a jigsaw of islands and inlets. While the water in the inlets and the protected
side of islands tends to be calmer, any water facing the open Pacific will be large rolling waves at the calmest of times, hence the name, ‘Wildside’.
Walking the trail takes you along gorgeous stretches of sandy beaches much of the time while some sections lead into the forest.
With climate change, smoke from forest fires often plagues many communities in British Columbia, especially in July and August. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, a fog bank hovers just off shore during the summer months, moving in regularly to coat the trees with moisture. This fog has been a blessing to the area as it minimizes the threat from fires, keeping this part of the province fresh and clear most of the time while other parts of the province may be suffering under a blanket of smoke.
Forest fire smoke in late summer, never a problem in my youth, has started to become a constant in recent years. Therefore, I highly recommend that you select a vacation in one of the outer coastal communities if you visit the province during the latter part of the summer.
We were fortunate to be almost the only ones spending the night at Cow Bay. As usual, the supper that you pack for many miles has a certain charm to it, especially with the backdrop of the setting sun.
We brought the dogs along on this hike and I had them in my tent so the wolves wouldn’t come after them. Although they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, we don’t plan to take them on future trips. Besides having to pack food and water for them (I know some people have their dogs pack their own stuff, but we figured they are so active their food would end up hung up on a tree somewhere), one of them decided to try to wake us up at 4:00 am. She kept pestering me and standing on top of me until I finally relented and got up at 6:00 am. Then, after successfully getting all of us up at the crack of dawn, she then decided she hadn’t had enough sleep herself (surprise! surprise!) and cheated on the way home, snatching a nap every time we paused for a few minutes. The other dog was no problem at all so it depends on the character of your dog, I guess.