Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vancouver Island's West Coast Trail - A Trip Into the Green - Part 3

After a wonderful night at Tsusiat, it was time to hit the trail once again. Right out of the gate, there is this nice ladder complex. I say "nice" because I loved the ladders on this trail and I think if t-shirts were made for the WCT, they would contain images of hikers on a ladder. Most guidebooks talk about the mud. But to me the ladders were the highlight.

At least there are intervening platforms on the way up!

I started taking pictures of the km signs to show what the various portions of the trail looked like.

The boardwalks were interesting. In some places they were newly constructed. In most places the ravages of too much rain showed its toll. I'd be curious to know how long it takes for a boardwalk to attain this condition? My guess is 15 years.

Then there were the cable cars, an interesting way to cross a river with a backpack. They were fun.

This one was across the Klenawa River at km 23

Look closely and you'll see a backpacker near the top of the tree in the background. These things are HUGE and to think that they were uprooted, washed from the river to the sea, then thrown back onshore during a tremendous winter storms is a powerful image. We saw some logs whose outer portions were shredded by the sea wave agitation.

Morning rush hour at km 21.

I hung out here at this ladder and platform, and admired the symmetry of the ladder and green ferns. It was such a Buddha moment!

They do green like we do red.

For a diversion, here is Southwest red!

Northwest green

Every camp had a food locker to protect the food from bears. We saw fresh bear scat in this area near the Darling River.

Every camp also had its own toilet. This one at Darling River was especially unique and keeping with the theme of "ladders".

Our final camp on night 6, along the Darling River. We camped on the beach every night on this trip.

The home stretch is fairly flat and easy to walk.

But we kept anticipating the end of the trail and so - it never seemed to arrive. After six hours and 14 km, we arrived at Pachena Bay, the north end of the WCT. During the January 26, 1700 earthquake and tsunami, the Native village at Pachena Bay was destroyed with a total loss of life. If you didn't read the account of this quake from Part 2 of this blog, check it out here and here. (I just had to double post these links - it is one of the amazing geo-stories from this part of the world).

Trails end at km 0 and bridge #1. What a sense of accomplishment. There is not a lot of elevation gain or loss but the footpath is uneven and filled with obstacles. Still, the beauty of the place overwhelmed the difficulty.

Home - the international border near Bellingham, Washington. Thanks for reading! And thanks to my dear friend Karen K. for the invitation to make this fantastic hike and also to the Stompa group: Nicky, Suzanne, Gil, Kai, Seth and Amber who were fantastic trailmates. The memory of this hike still lives on.


  1. Hey Wayne...we've met once...Carole Voss...I found your blog after the 89 highway collapse. I hiked the WCT a number of years back...thanks for the 'reboot' of memories! Definitely...the WCT does green and wet vs our red and dry! Will be sharing on Facebook so my fellow WCT and GC hiking friends can enjoy. Thanks!

  2. Hey Wayne...we have met once before...Carole Voss, Marble Canyon. Found your blog after the Hwy 89 collapse...I hiked the WCT in the early 2000 with other GC friends. Green/Wet vs Red/Dry. Thanks for the 're-boot' of memories from these posts. Will be sharing on Facebook for others to enjoy!

  3. Fantastic photos! What a great trip! The intense green and the ladders and catwalks remind me of the Adirondacks. Thanks, Wayne

  4. Wow! I'm impressed, and loved following along on the WCT map. file:///C:/Users/tonik/Downloads/2019-WCT-Map_EN.pdf

  5. The right link to the WCT trail map:


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