Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vancouver Island's West Coast Trail - A Trip Into the Green - Part 2

2019 UPDATE: Thanks to fellow West Coast Trail companion Nicky Calvert for providing this link with an update on what is going on at the Chez Moniques burger stop on the West Coast Trail. It is a 21 minute YouTube video. See it here.

Part 2 begins with our group leaving Walbran Creek after three days on the trail and 23 kilometers of hiking. It wouldn't be a rainforest without a little fog would it. By the way, I came up with a definition for a rainforest on this trip. It is a forest that rains when it is not raining! We saw it and experienced it. It gets so foggy in the mornings that the trees are drenched in moisture, then it runs off and "rains" down on the forest floor. Rain while not raining!

It actually wasn't as dark as this looks. Temps were always warm.

Rush hour traffic on the West Coast Trail. Certain camps provide that people will leave north or south at regular intervals. This means that at times, you will encounter lots of folks heading the other way.

Out of the mist came this gem of a sea stack! Iconic and photogenic.

Some of the largest debris items from the Japan tsunami of March 20, 2011 were visible. We saw a sign on the trail that announced that the largest pieces would begin arriving in the summer of 2013. Here it is! NOAA has a web site devoted to the debris fan, accessed here.

And then, we came upon a scene too large to be described as simply debris on the beach. We had arrived at the famous Chez Moniques - the world's most uniquely located hamburger stand in the world.

Driftwood sign in the dining area.

Hiking enjoying typical hiker fare, grease, fat, and beer. I guess Chez Monique's serves the same role as Phantom Ranch does in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This is more rustic though.

Here is Monique, a transplant from Quebeq. After arrival, you enter the kitchen where Monique will take your order. Numerous workers (rear) prepare the meals which are really worth the $17 Canadian. An experience not to be missed. Visit their Facebook page here.

Just beyond Monique's is the Carmanah Lighthouse, built in 1891. It helped to steer ships away from the treacherous coastline.

Slightly tilted, gently curved sandstone layers that are differentially eroded and inundated with sea water. I love the poetry of landform description.....

Our 4th nights camp was at Cribs Creek and the setting sun made an appearance on this beautiful sea stack. People were swimming in the ocean here.

Back on the trail, we dived into the green.

The colors on the fungus was outstanding.

More fungus.

Who knows what this is?

Did you know that slugs come in all colors and sizes. This one had spots and seemed to be in heaven. I saw one slug devouring a mushroom right on the trail.

Ladders and boardwalks are never far away.

I was intrigued the whole hike by the fact that the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate resides just a few miles offshore of Vancouver Island. If that plate were to let loose and slip, the rangers said we would have 8 minutes before a possible tsunami would come ashore. It was a concern I had from before the start of the hike and I was gratified to see that its possibility was managed for with these blue signs. The earthquake never came during our hike but it did some 313 years ago. Check out the story here and here. You'll be amazed.

Crossing the suspension bridge at Cheewhat River. Some in our group saw wolf tracks in the sand below the bridge.

Pictures cannot do root and mud justice. We'd be hiking along and then the trail would approach a wall of exposed roots and slick mud. The height was sometimes daunting but the experience was priceless.

Another First Nation restaurant beckoned us on the south bank of the Nininat River (pronounced nit-nat) at km 36. This is a place were one of the ferry boat rides is needed to cross the river - so they have a captive clientele.

Gil destroyed this Dungeness crab. I ordered the salmon and it was delicious, especially the huge baked potato that came with it slathered in butter. Nothing like hard work to make you feel good about eating bad!

Beauty everywhere.

Even the rocks. There are a lot of descriptive pieces written about the WCT but with such thick vegetation, the rocks take a back seat.

This is the ratio of rocks to plants that I am used to.

This is even better....

Hole in the Rock at Tsusiat Point, km 27.

Approaching Tsusiat Falls Beach where we had our 5th nights' camp. The winter storms have cut into the shore and carved this cliff face.

At one place saw an unconformity in the rocks. Here the grey sandstone we had been seeing al along the coast capped the "basement" rocks, a crystalline granite. You can see the unconformity in the middle part of the photo where the horizontally-bedded and slightly darker sandstone sits on top of the lighter and slightly recessed granite.

The rocks of Vancouver Island are part of an exotic terrane that was rafted into and was welded to North America about 130 million year ago. There are multiple terranes that have docked into our continent and they all have names. Vancouver Island's terrane is called Wrangellia, shown above as the large landmass on the far left, just as it is docking onto the continent. Map courtesy of Ron Blakey, Colorado Plateau Geosystems.

Tsusiat Falls at very low water levels. This is a spectacular spot on the trail and we camped here.

Close-up of the falls.

Sunset from near Tsusiat Falls.

There will be a Part 3 to finish this blog posting! Stay tuned.


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