Just a boat-ride away from Tofino, encounters and island – among many others – with the Lone Cone mountain, towering up to 730 meters above the sea level. Meares Island is covered with thick rain forest and lined with calm pretty beaches that welcome you to paddle, kayak or just chill by a fireplace right on the beach and watch the stars above or shiny plankton in the calm waters.
For thousands of years, Meares Island has been home to the Ahousaht Tribe as well as some magnificent old growth forests. Thanks to the Ahousaht people, these forests now remain protected from industrial logging. Local rumors have been passed down from generation to generation about a creature called Sasquatch.
Sasquatch – the local big foot creature
Sasquatch or Buc Miis is the big foot creature that can be spotted on the island. He is a hairy ape like man, about eight feet tall, he is extremely shy and produces high pitched whistles and throw large stones to ward off intruders. It’s very likely you will smell before seeing him. The locals describe the smell like “three times as strong as a dog that has been left outside in the cold and rain for a month.”
Sasquatch is not to be feared, he is a protector of the land and the Mother Earth and moves between the world of men and spirit. (seen and unseen). He is believed to be a harbinger of good luck and spiritual strength.
Here’s an advice from the Ahousaht people: “If you have the excellent fortune of seeing Buc Miis, quickly run up to him and wrestle with him, tickle her and roll around, then for sure you will gain all of his spiritual and physical strength”.
The Lone Cone hike
One of the biggest attraction on Meares Island is the Lone Cone hike. You think … climbing up to 730 meters would be just an easy day hike, right? Believe it or not, it is way more adventurous than you imagined. And although the sight from the top can be amazing – if you’re lucky – offering spectacular views of Clayoquot Sound and nearby islands, in fact it is the journey that stays in your memories for weeks!
First challenge to overcome on the trail is the mud. You pretty much end up tip toeing around large muddy patches – well, at least for as long as you’re trying to protect your shoes from getting dirty. Once you overcome that, the trail becomes easier and you can start appreciating the gigantic ancient trees that surround you. If you’re on the hike on a cloudy day, like we were, the fog surrounding you will add to a mystical impression of the place.
It is quite some time spent hiking the when you find the first milestone, a post that informs you that you just climbed up to 100 meters above the sea level, leaving 630 meters left to go. Somewhere there the trail also becomes interesting, surprising you with random tree trunks lying in front of you, ready to test your balance.
As you walk further, the trail gets steeper, you find more and more obstacles to crawl over, like fallen trees reaching up to your waist, left where they fell, never mind the trail. We ended up counting our milestones, cheering every time we reached another hundred vertical meters. You know, some people give up half way … but that wasn’t our case. Last couple of meters of scrambling up and there it was – the summit at 730 meters with its – well, not so amazing but surely mysterious views:
… and here’s how it should look if you’re not completely surrounded by a cloud:
Difficulty level: Medium, but get ready for a challenge.
To take with: Good hiking shoes, snacks, water, get ready to face some mud. ?
How to get there: From Tofino, take a water taxi to Lone Cone. Check their schedule to make sure you plan with the times the boat runs. Once on the island, follow the signs that lead you to the beginning of the trail.