West Coast Trail

Data 2013-08-31
Dystans 77.7 km48.3 mi
Czas 1 dzień 9h:54m
Zdjęcia 76

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Wykres (Kółko myszy powiększa)


Preliminary DiscussionThe West Coast Trail (WCT) trip has been several years in the making, although Sicilian and I are both getting reasonably seasoned at our annual hike now, the main driver for the WCT at this point in time was Fury who now lives on the West Coast and had this trip as a kind of bucket list item.Overall due to the various needs and conflicts of life, trip planning for this started about 3 years earlier, but as with most of these types of items the real bulk of it happened in the last 120 days.  This is more than normal with our trips, but with the need of trail bookings, plane tickets, water taxi reservations and everything else more than enough had to be in place well in advance to ensure a smooth trip.  And that is where everything pretty much went to hell.  After watching the Parks Canada web site http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/index.aspx for most of 3 years making sure that we had everything lined up I went to the site 90 days in advance (around June 1 to check things out) and found out that in 2013 they had changed the reservation system and that all the spots had been booked until about Sept 4, 2013.  Already we were off to a poor start.  After much debate and research we decided that we would go anyway and hope for 3 of the 5 standby spots either Aug 31 or Sept 1 still giving us 8 days to hike the trail.  With this settled and a car at hand we booked flights directly into Victoria, BC where Sicilian and I (MulderX) were picked up by Fury and we all drove directly to Port Renfrew.  Along the road to Port Renfrew we saw many deer (so be careful) in the car headlights and even an Elk we believe. In Port Renfrew we parked in the hiking parking lot and the 3 of us pulled out all the stops for a nice comfortable sleep in the car from 1:30 am - 5:30 am when we had to catch the ferry.After a night of restless sleep we changed clothes, packed up and started the hike with a quick jaunt down to the docks to meet up with our water taxi.  Juan de Fuca Express turned out to be the best decision we made for the entire trip.  Although the small bobbing boat wouldn't be for everybody the day was nice with just a big sea swell on and the water taxi ride, rather than being a point A to point B run, was a great 3 hours spent Sea Lion and Whale watching, we even saw a small Sea Otter.Upon arriving in Bamfield we had to take the Taxi directly to the Park as the primary reason for taking the Water Taxi wasn't to see the sea life (although that was the best part), it was to beat the bus to Bamfield, which we did, and as such we were able to grab spots 2, 3 and 4 on the standby list for that day.  Wo ho, the first hurdle has been crossed.  However the next "safety presentation" wasn't until 1 pm so we now had to wait for the bus to arrive before we could hit the trail.  After grabbing some coffee and a muffin at the local campground shack we were ready to go.So waiting around on a nice sunny day isn't so bad, but we did have a 14 km hike in front of us and we had also found out that although we were looking at blue skies and sunshine, 2 days previously there had been about 50 mm of rain which meant the trails would be wet.  If you don't know the WCT's legendary mud, get ready, it can be bad in places. Day 1, Saturday, Aug 31, 2013Daily Log: Trail Head (Bamfield) --> Darling RiverHike Time/Distance/Speed: 5 hrs/15 kms/3 km/hrWeather: Cloudy/ClearTemperature: 11 low/22 highWind: Light BreezeRain: Cloudy/ClearAlready tired from a fairly long and sleepless night before, we hit the trail as quickly as possible after the 1 pm briefing in hopes of avoiding the slower hikers on the trail and ladders.  Sicilian and MulderX are pretty quick on the trail preferring instead to stop often to rest or sight see rather than do the slow and steady pace and at this point with Fury new to the whole situation they were setting the pace.  The first day was really just a taste of what was to come for many days on the WCT.  A little trail, a little mud, a little board walk, a little shelf, at little beach and a little ladder.  The one interesting point that we ran into was that many people kept asking us if we were starting or coming off the trail, it took us a while to realize that although we were clean obviously indicating we were just coming onto the trail we were carrying much smaller packs than many others on the trail so people were unsure which direction we were heading.  Sicilian and MulderX have continued to get smaller and lighter each year and coached Fury quite a bit (although he still had the biggest/heaviest pack by far).  Otherwise we bypassed Michigan Creek camp site and instead passed the extra 2 Kms to Darling River camp ground.  This was a good choice as it was considerably less packed with tents, but arriving fairly late we set up camp, ate and put the food bag in the bear box only 10ft away (poor choice of location) and crashed into bed. Day 2, Sunday, Sept 1, 2013Daily Log: Darling River --> Tsusiat FallsHike Time/Distance/Speed: 5 hrs/12.7 kms/2 km/hrWeather: Cloudy/ClearTemperature: 13 low/18 highWind: Slight WindRain: N/AThe next morning MulderX was the first up (unusual) and as he came out to the beach was made aware of a black bear fishing down the coast on its way away from the camp towards Michigan Creek.  We also ran into another bear while heading south on the trail and had to wait out on the shelf while it passed on the beach area.  Although the bear didn't approach too closely it was apparent that it was used to hikers coming down the beach towards it.  Day 2 proved to be similar to the first, but it also had our first cable car which is an interesting experience in trying to keep all your fingers attached to your hands.  The day also saw a few derelict items from the logging days in the area and the night at Tsusiat Falls where MulderX got to christen the brand new outhouse....sweet, an outhouse that smells like fresh cut cedar.  Day 2 also saw the first hard day for Fury as by the end of the day he was glad to be rolling into camp.  Overall the group was still recovering from the first night so we were out cold again at an early time. Day 3, Monday, Sept 2, 2013Daily Log: Tsusiat Falls --> Cribs CreekHike Time/Distance/Speed: 7:45 hrs/19.1 kms/2 km/hrWeather: Fog/CloudyTemperature: 15 low/21 highWind: Slight WindRain: N/AToday we got to fit through the Hole in the Wall at Tsusiat Point.  It is probably worth mentioning here that we found the tide tables to be overall conservative and more than once we didn't even see the "impassible point" that we were rushing to beat the tide to.  Overall though, the tide timing (high tide between 10 and 12 through the week) worked well for us until the end of the week coming into Owen point.  Also note that today is the longest day of the hike, but it was also the first with one of the non-hiking treats....fresh food at Nitinat Narrows.  It is interesting to have fresh food and cold drinks on the trial, and the food could be crap and it would still taste awesome, however with crab fresh out of the water and Salmon and Halibut being caught right in front of you.  I believe this is also where Fury got his trail name of Mudder (remember Seinfeld, "his father was a mudder...his mother was mudder") for just plowing through the mud with his fancy Gortex boots.  This was also the day we chose to hit the "beach" where there were lots of rocks and MulderX reinforced his trail name of the Goat.  After that we rolled down to Cribs Creek and MulderX had to sleep on the ground "sand" for the only night on the trail. Day 4, Tuesday, Sept 3, 2013Daily Log: Cribs Creek --> Walbran CreekHike Time/Distance/Speed: 6:10 hrs/13.7 kms/2 km/hrWeather: Cloudy/ClearTemperature: 12 low/19 highWind: breezeRain: N/AWaking up Day 4 brought the first morning of real dew.  Now don't get me wrong, we are at sea level, next to the ocean, it isn't really dry ever, but Cribs brought the first morning dew where everything was just soaked, it probably would have been better if it rained.  Also by Day 4 the trail was starting to feel dry, that isn't to say that there isn't any mud, just that most of the mud had gone from wet slop to more like sticky mashed potatoes.  This made traveling quicker, but Fury was definitely starting to feel the burn.  We passed through Carmanah Point Lighthouse where a father and daughter tend and we got a bit of information about what it is to live in a light house like that and what they do on a daily basis.  They also informed us that the dead sea lion we saw on the beach which looked pretty new was actually 6 days old so unless a bear bothers no other animals can break the skin of the sea lion until it deteriorates on its own.  This also brought us to the second fresh meal on the trail at Chez Monique's.  Although the Crab Shack is nice and has fresh food, Monique's is more like an actual restaurant/corner store with a bevy of good items available for sale including alcohol, fresh baked goods and of course the hamburgers for which she is known.  Also on the day we got to see our only piece of Tsunami garbage from Japan (we think at least).  At the end of this we ended at Walbran Creek.  If I can recommend one thing, don't camp "in the creek", as there was a very cold breeze that came down the creek at us all evening long which wasn't around the point on the Ocean side.  Also this was the first night that we started to interact much with the others that we were effectively hiking with since it was the first night we were into camp early enough and awake.  They were as we called them:- Engineer Woman and Bearded Man from Ottawa Region- Triathlete and Army (bear guy) from Vancouver- Camera Guy (later known as cell tower guy), Girlfriend, Brother and his friend- Brother and Sister in Black- Extreme Sports Duo from Edmonton and Calgary- The 60 pounders (uncle and nephew), (aka, the bear bell boys)- Wrestler and her half pint boyfriend (with the huge pack)I am not sure I want to know what they called us other than Fury who was known as the Shirtless One.Day 5, Wednesday, Sept 4, 2013Daily Log: Walbran Creek --> Camper BayHike Time/Distance/Speed: 5 hrs/11.9 kms/2 km/hrWeather: Cloudy/ClearTemperature: 12 low/21 highWind: breezeRain: N/ADay 5 is where we start to feel like the beginning of the end, the hike on this day is fairly short, but is where we truly hit the ladders.  Luckily we didn't have any hold ups with the ladders, but it certainly did take its toll on Fury who had been cursing the ladders since the first day.  Although by this point I was expecting him to start and shake off the weight and distance, it was becoming apparent that wasn't going to happen on this 7 day trip.  The best part of this trip is that it put us into my favorite camp site of the trip Camper Bay.  You will see good/bad ratings for most of the sites, but overall it is beach camping, this night was the only night that I really like the location, amenities, water location and overall look of the place...very nice. Day 6, Thursday, Sept 5, 2013Daily Log: Camper Bay --> Thrasher CoveHike Time/Distance/Speed: 7:30 hrs/11 kms/1.5 km/hrWeather: Cloudy/Clear/ShowersTemperature: 11 low/18 highWind: light breezeRain: very little < 1mmDay 6, most of the others who had been traveling with us got up very early and headed for Owen point in the hopes of beating the tide and heading out on that day, but we had plane tickets already booked and as such there was no particular rush to get off the trail.  So we decided to wait until the far side of high tide and wandered as slow as possible out of camp that morning and headed down to the shelf to get to Owen Point.  Something to note here is that there are 2 access points to the shelf, one closer to Owen Point, one further away.  The closer one bypasses the tidal areas, the further one requires a fairly low tide.  In the end it doesn't matter much since the tide needs to be fairly low to get around Owen Point, but it is worth mentioning.  Fury, Sicilian and MulderX scaled a small cliff to get around 1 point in the tide, and Fury crossed a small Surge Channel on a log, but overall the day was going along fine until we got to the Point.  At Owen Point we were still quite early, but it was noticeable that even with the tide significantly lower the footing wasn't the best. After a little searching we found the by-pass and chose it instead as it allowed for a firm grip on some ropes.  Once on the other side of the Point we looked around in the caves and at that time a group of 5 women arrived.  The tide was a bit lower and they were so concerned about getting wet so they started to jump down on the rocks to go through the caves to the point.  Suddenly one slipped and got the biggest bump on the head that I have seen in 20 years, then another one slipped and slid into the water, the 2 other who hadn't come down yet, followed our advice and took the bypass.  Then after a little rock hop scotch we arrived at Thrasher Cove a little late, but no worse for wear. Day 7, Friday, Sept 6, 2013Daily Log: Thrasher Cove -->  Trail head (Port Renfrew)Hike Time/Distance/Speed: 3:20 hrs/7 kms/2 km/hrWeather: Fog/Cloudy/ClearTemperature: 14 low/19 highWind: slight windRain: N/AThere isn't a lot to mention on the last day.  It was the first day in 3 or 4 which didn't have dew over every single thing we owned and the last day is the biggest vertical climb/decent as you start and end at sea level.  This again showed up in a big way on Fury as his shirt which normally took most of the day to get completely wet was wet in the first hour of the hike, but we made it out in one piece and down to Port Renfrew Hotel for Beer and a Burger...Heaven.Other Info and Notes:Getting to the WCT: http://www.i-needtoknow.com/wct/details/002.htmlJUAN DE FUCA EXPRESS: http://members.shaw.ca/berry5868/juanfuca.htmOne of the best pages for WCT info even if it is a little old:http://www.metatropo.com/reports/westcoasttrail0907.htmIn 2013 if you want to eat at the Crab Shack and Chez Monique's with all the accoutrements take at least 100$ with you.There is also lots of good YouTube Videos on the WCT.