And now, the West Coast Trail

13 km – Gordon River trailhead to Camper Bay

It’s a rare weather window this week on the Pacific Rim. Clear blue skies, little wind, no sea mist.  Perfect.

To get on this famous trail, all hikers must reserve online months in advance. There are no walk-on spaces. This trail is for experienced backpackers only. But I just showed up and was lucky enough to get someone’s cancellation. After the 45 minute information session, where the scariest scenarios are presented, and I want to quit before I’ve started, but I have already paid over $200,  I catch the 11:30 boat across the Gordon River to the southern trailhead.

Here are the things that could go wrong:

  • Injury. This is a very dangerous trail, muddy, slippery, terrain, broken boardwalks. Ladders and heights that will test the bravest of souls.
  • Eaten by a bear
  • Eaten by a cougar (Vancouver Island has the highest concentration of cougars in the world)
  • Dehydration
  • Hypothermia
  • Getting washed out to sea by rouge waves
  • Tsunamis
  • Earthquakes

Well, this better be good.

Going northbound, the first few days are the most challenging. It is slow going.  Roots, mud, rock, and uneven trail. The first camp is Thrasher Cove, but I make good time and get to Camper Creek site. All the camp spots along the trail are on beaches. Everyone on the beach is deliriously happy, they’ve survived another day and it is very beautiful. The mouth of the river is deep and inviting. I go in for a swim with all my clothes on including socks and shoes. Ahhhh.

An 11pm arrival in the dark, father and his 10 year old son. Quite distraught but also relieved to finally find the beach. They were exhausted and stressed. I made them one of my dinners while they set up their tent. It was nice to help someone, as I have been helped many times in the past.

I am stiff and sore from my first day on the WCT and my 2 days before on the JDF trail. I know from experience that I’ll be raring to go in the morning.

4 thoughts on “And now, the West Coast Trail

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