There are magical places hiding deep in the rainforest. Across the bay from Ucluelet, east of Port Albion and away from the ocean, is a network of unpaved roads. Some are still active logging roads, while others have are the routes to recreational areas like Toquart Bay and Mussel Beach; and some lead the way to the Uplands development and Ittasoo Bay. Along these roads are overgrown off-shoots, older logging roads that have become more like paths. Along one of these paths you will find the Stairway to Heaven.
We started hiking down what was obviously an overgrown logging road. It had probably been deactivated around 20 years ago by the looks of the growth. Along this path were salmon and black berry bushes galore, and plenty of bear scat to go with it. Carefully, while singing our favourite songs to assure the bears kept their distance, we made our way down the road until it became a literal dirt (mud) path through thick old-growth forest.
After a short distance we came across what I think is Maggie River. The gorge across the river had been bridged by an old fallen log. On the log someone had thoughtfully carved stairs. I knew we were headed to a place called “The Stairway to Heaven” so when I saw the log I thought we had arrived. I was wrong...we were just at the stairway...not at heaven yet.
Across the log and around the river’s bend we saw the brilliant sight! The water pooled beneath giant cliffs and a cascading water fall. THAT must be heaven! Excited to explore this special place we skipped along the water’s edge until reaching the small cliffs where we climbed up to get a better view of our surroundings.
From a-top the cliff we could see a series of waterfalls creating several pools and different levels until finally reaching the main stream. Behind the waterfall were gullies and crevasses that water escaped through, and further still a river running wild over rocks and dead fall, coming from the deepest parts of the forest.
We sat there for a while. Watching the small red flowers sway from the breeze caused by the nearby rush of water. There was no sound except for the sound of the white water, surging over the rocks and splashing into the calm pools below. The air was so crisp and fresh that afternoon and I imagined this place being special to the indigenousness people who lived here before us. How they probably fished in these pools and how this was most likely a spawning ground for salmon.
Had it been a warmer day I would have been tempted to go for a swim and spend the rest of the day resting on the rocks. This place truly is like heaven...and the stairway is pretty cool too.
Until next time,
The Gray Team
Note: When traveling in the back country always tell someone where you are going and never go alone. Never do anything beyond your physical capabilities with and always come prepared with water, extra food and clothing. Be cautious of wildlife as you are in a remote area where they are less expectant of humans.