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Bella Coola and Vancouver Island in Sept 2013

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My husband and I will be visiting BC from Sept 20-Oct 5 2013. This is what we have scoped out so far:
- 5 nights at Bella Coola Mountain lodge, with a focus on grizzly bear photography. We also have a day trip scheduled on a boat to vist fjords and coast line. Additional time spent hiking and exploring
- 4 nights in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. Planning to take a boat ride through Barkley sound, and exploring tidal pools, among other things.
- 4 nights near Port McNeill, focusing on the Gulf Islands and wildlife watching. Booking a full day photography tour, but on our own for the rest of the time.
- 1 night around Victoria, then home.

We are avid wildlife (including birds) and nature lovers as well as photographers. We like to be active and out and about all day. We also like to explore back roads to find quiet, un-touristy spots.

My goal with this post is to try to find out about some of the hidden gems on our route - back roads that are really worth a drive, restaurants that are a local secret, trails that are worth exploring, anything off the beaten path.

Any suggestions?

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