Thursday, September 04, 2014

West Coast trail

The West Coast Trail runs along the coast of Canada and it was based along a trail used by shipwrecked sailors who were trying to make it back to civilization.  There is also a history of the First Nation people using the trails.  In these days of GPS the trail has outlived it's utilitarian purpose and not has become a site of recreation for any number of campers and hikers. 

I started out the trip in Victoria and met my friend Anthony.  Victoria is upper class hippy-ville.  Boutique restaurants and an assortment of craft and novelty stores.  Beautiful weather and a bevy of tourist related activities greet the visitors to this city.  Anthony and I stayed in the Youth Hostel although the bar across the sleep that played live music into the twee hours was no help to our sleep.  We woke early: 5 and head out to catch the bus to Bamfeild.  It was a long and arduous 5 hour trip along some very dirt roads.  Eventually we made it to the ranger's house and we were told that it was very busy and we might bot be able to get on the trail for several days.  My heart sank.  This is what I feared: being unable to touch foot on the trail after traveling across the globe.  But we were put on a waiting list and headed to the nearby campsite to wait (days?!?!).  The camp site had all sorts of amenities including hots showers and firewood.  The view was beautiful and the sky clear.  Hold tight for pictures.  My friends should be sending them.

"Friends" you may ask?  I thought it was just you and Anothony?  Ahhh.  This is another story and another aspect of the trail.  It is quite busy and trail hikers end up being social.  But let's continue with out story for now..

The hike was 6 days and 75 kilometers.  We made about 2k per hour and on average hiked about 12k a day.  So this would mean a good solid hike of 6 hours and we would be rolling into the camp ground at 3 or so.  We would grab a nice spot, set up our tend and have time for relaxing and taking a dip in the very very cold ocean/river/lake/waterfall.

The trail was built like an obstacle course.  There was beach hiking, woods hiking, ladder climbing and zip-line zipping.  The beach was either sandy covers or large haphazardly tossed boulders.  On our second to last day we had two hours of boulder hopping.  Many people (and by "many people" i mean 1 or 2) get K.O.-ed by the boulder field.  They slip on the black moss and hit their head and face.  I myself did a little scamper dance and landed on my butt with one such encounter with black moss.

The woods usually had boardwalks but many of the board walks had rotted away or they were never there in the first place to rot away.  So the above was a typical trail for about 20k.  Tangled roots and mud pits.  As such many people wore GATORS which look like plastic leg warmers but serve the purpose of keeping your feet dry when you tread through muddy and wet places.  But we took to the trail during the DRIEST SUMMER ON RECORD.  So a lot of the problems you would hear about from the past were not present during our short 6 day excursion. 

We made friends with a lot of people because at the end of the day we would end up camping at the same site.  This made the trip much more social than most out door camping you would do. 

All in all it was an amazing trip and I hope to go back to Canada sometime real soon!


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