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The West Coast Trail
By:  Lee Hawkings   (2009/09/16)


In early August I left home in Whitehorse with my family to hike the West Coast Trail located on the west coast of Vancouver Island between Bamfield and Port Renfrew. We drove our minivan (the blue one many of you will see around the ski trail in the coming months) for a few days down through interior BC and eventually across the water to Vancouver Island. After 3 days of driving and a long day of sitting in the back of a bus while we cruised along bumpy, narrow, twisty logging roads we finally reached the trailhead near Bamfield.

Our plan was to take 7 or 8 days to cover the 75 km of rough trail, ladders, boardwalks and beaches. Our group consisted of 8 people: me, my brother, my parents and the Bray family (family friends from Whitehorse) and we were definitely one of the biggest groups on the trail. We were definitely in for a fun, challenging trip.

The week before we arrived at the trailhead had seen some of the hottest temperatures on record and little to no rainfall. As we walked through fog along the beach the first morning we were not surprised at all to see that we were going to be getting the authentic west coast experience.

We spent the majority of each day hiking. The trail varied from a rooty single track going through the towering trees to walking on a flat sandstone shelf in the intertidal zone. There were also a lot of fun obstacle such as ladders, cable cars and river crossings. I had a great time on all of these but some of the people in the group found them a little more challenging.


On our third night we walked out onto an awesome stretch of sandy beach with the surf pounding continuously. It was getting a bit late so we decided to set up camp. I wasn’t that tired though and I figured the 4 foot breakers pounding the beach were a little to much to pass up so I headed out for a bit of body surfing. I got a couple good rides in and I was in the 8º celsius water for a good ten minutes before I called it quits in fear of getting hypothermia.

The next day we woke up to drizzle on our tent and that same drizzle continured pretty much unabated the whole next day. We hiked all day in the rain and we were all wet and a little miserable when we came to a restaurant set up along the beach in one of the first nations reserves. This restaurant had almost anything that you could be craving which for me was a nice juicy fresh fish burger for the reasonable cost of $15. It was pretty much heaven to be able to sit down under a nice dry tarp and eat some fresh, hot food. It was pretty hard to leave the restaurant but somehow we managed to walk another hour to our campsite.

 For the rest of the trip we had better weather and we had a couple of extremely long days. We had a wonderfully relaxing afternoon on the beach at a campsite called thrashers cove for our last night and the next day we hiked out to Port Renfrew in time for a big plate of fish and chips at the Port Renfrew hotel.

Interesting Reading. . .
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