The Shorepine Bog is on the west side of Vancouver Island just south of Tofino in the Pacific Rim National Park. The rusty coloured, moss covered bog is a stark contrast to lush rain forests surrounding this small ecosystem. Instead of three-hundred-year-old trees flexing their giant majestic trunks and branches, these three-hundred-year-old trees are withered, twisted and weather beaten. Thick, spongy moss called sphagnum covers the ground, trapping the famous west coast rain into the soil until it becomes so acidic that growth of any tree or plant is a small miracle.
There were moments when I looked around and felt like I was in a bizarre dessert — the trees as small and stunted as ones you might find in Africa, yet beyond the clearing I knew giant cedars reached skyward, draped in moss and surrounded by bright green ferns. Here in the bog I saw trees that appeared dead except for the newest branches holding pine needles and miniature pinecones in the hope for future life. And if you lean in closer to the ground you'll see hundreds of colours of moss, flowers and other plants — life represented by these small victories within a harsh environment.