Sometimes you can see both the forest and the trees. The Great Bear Rainforest, the planet’s largest intact coastal temperate rain forest, is an untamed strip of land stretching 250 miles along British Columbia’s coast that harbors extensive tracts of giant hemlock, Sitka spruce, and red cedar. The mighty trees rise high above a moist and ferny forest floor patrolled by coastal wolves, minks, Canada’s largest grizzly bears, and rare white Kermode spirit bears.
Fun Fact: The rain forest’s most celebrated resident is the Kermode bear, or spirit bear. A recessive genetic mutation causes these black bears to be born with cream-colored fur. One in three black bears on Gribbell Island is white.
Mount Tongariro, situated in a remote part of the country’s North Island, erupted for five minutes on November 21, spewing clouds of ash 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) high. In August, the 6,490-foot (1,978-meter) Tongariro had erupted for the first time since 1897.