West Coast Trail 2021

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Day 1 – June 9, 2021
Bamfield to Michigan

The West Coast Trail Express delivers clean hikers to the Visitor Centre at Pachena Bay close to Bamfield.

Private logging roads from Lake Cowichan to Bamfield were surprisingly good in 2021.

In normal years, we would have checked-in, watched a video, and filled out our paperwork — walking away with a WCT Overnight Use Permit.

DON’T LOSE THAT PERMIT. You are required to show it to get on the ferries at Nitinat Narrows and Gordon River.

Due to COVID, 2021 was different. Watching the videos was done online. Rangers QUIZZED us outdoors to see if we actually knew the content.

My reservations was for June 10th. I’d planned to start early the next morning. BUT the trailhead campground was still closed. Rangers agreed that it would be better to set me off on to the trail rather than have me hanging around Bamfield overnight.

To start there are two choices:

  • Steep ladders, OR …
  • 1 km on the beach
Beach start

We met 4 ladies coming in who were first to finish on the Bamfield end of the WCT 2021. They’d taken the beach but told us to head inland as the tide was now too high.

I would end up hiking in parallel with the 3 guys here, all Canadian border guards.

LADDERS challenge right from the start.

This is the “easier” end of the trail. Still, it’s 12km to the first campground. Mostly inland.

Around every corner there’s something weird and interesting.

Pachena Point Light Station at 10km is a highlight. But it was still closed to hikers due to COVID.

toasted bagel with PB and marmalade

When not muddy, the inland trails are magical.

MICHIGAN

Almost every hiker stays at Michigan coming and going because it’s closest to Bamfield. That said, it’s not nearly one of my favourites.

Less crowded than ever before, I still decided to wade the river and find a small site in the trees away from the ‘mob’.

Folks had seen a bear on the beach earlier in the day. It’s essential to secure all food in the bear lockers.

In the evening at low tide I went exploring the shelf.

This is the boiler of the Michigan which went aground 1893. This is the shipwreck coast, after all.

Perhaps I should have carried on to one of the next two small campsites: Darling or Orange Creek.

See my GEAR for this adventure.

West Coast Trail 2021 Trip Report PREVIEW

by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Click PLAY or watch a short preview on YouTube.

I’d planned to YOYO in celebration of our #1 hike in the world reopening after the pandemic:

June 10 starting SE from Bamfield.

June 15 starting NW from Port Renfrew.

As happens so often on the WCT, plans changed.

I broke my main camera on day 3 of a planned 12 day adventure. Then bruised my thigh badly 😩 on day 5 — landing hard on a root in a mud bog.

I felt forced to reschedule my second West Coast Trail to start July 3, 2021.

I’ll put together detailed info-tainment videos for the WCT once I’ve done it twice. 😇

RESERVATIONS

Reservations opened April 30, 2021. Open only to Canadians.

Due to computer system glitches, I wasn’t able to start day 1 ~ June 4, 2021.

The earliest I could reserve was June 10th out of Bamfield.

TRANSPORTATION

As the ferry Port Alberni to Bamfield was still closed to hikers, I booked by phone on the West Coast Trail Express.

CAD $125 Nanaimo to Bamfield one way. I was the only passenger.

Excellent service. I recommend them.

West Coast Trail YOYO Attempt

BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

I’ll be mostly offline for the next couple of weeks.

After being closed for all of 2020, our #1 hike in the world opened to reservations on April 30, 2021 — for Canadians only.

The online reservations system worked well — but my credit card was twice declined for no reason. I repeated the process and was finally able to pay.

Since there is less demand this year than normal, I was able to book myself for:

June 10 starting SE from Bamfield.

June 15 starting NW from Port Renfrew.

I’ll make haste on the first 75 km (47 mi) hike.

Pick up my resupply in Port Renfrew. Have a hot shower. Some wine.

Then take it more leisurely on my YOYO return to Bamfield.

Click PLAY or check out my hiking gear on YouTube.

I’ve done the WCT four times in the past. It doesn’t intimidate me at all. I LOVE climbing ladders with a HEAVY pack. 😀

Wish me luck!

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Trans Canada Trail OR Great Trail?

A branding expert could use this as a marketing blunder.

NOBODY knows what to call the ever evolving 24,000+ km network of greenways, waterways, trails, and roadways.

Official website:

As of June 1, 2021, the name of The Great Trail of Canada has changed back to its original name, and is once again known as the iconic Trans Canada Trail. …

Back in 2016, we decided to separate the name of our organization (Trans Canada Trail) from the name of the physical trail (The Great Trail), as a way to celebrate and highlight the significant milestone of connection in 2017.

tctrail.ca

SO …

  1. The 4560km non-motorized is called THE GREAT TRAIL
  2. The organization is called TRANS CANADA TRAIL

I’m pleased nobody will ever be confused on that again. 😐

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Edward Hathway’s 72+ hikes in New Zealand

He spent the pandemic well. What a year!

Edward:

In the year since the New Zealand Covid-19 lockdown ended in late April 2020 I completed 72 hikes (“tramps” in the NZ vernacular), and fifteen shorter walks.  …

  • 68,500m (~225,000ft) of ascent and descent
  • Almost 900km (~550mi) of walking
  • On 64 of these hikes I climbed to a peak or other high point, ranging between 445m and 2333m high, and averaging 1000m of ascent and descent each time
  • 58 of these high points were named peaks over 1000m of elevation, so I incidentally completed the 52 Peaks Challenge
  • All of these tramps were on New Zealand’s South Island

… the best views were on the tramp to Barrier Knob via Gertrude Saddle in Fiordland …

Here’s a list of these 72 tramps plus 15 short walks. …

HikingScenery.com