Day 6 – West Coast Trail 2021

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | gear | video | WCT info

June 14, 2021
Km 65 to Port Renfrew

I awoke in the morning wondering whether my injured leg could get me out in time for the 3:30 ferry across the Gordon river.

I had ALL DAY to make 10km.

My leg felt no worse. And no better. Every step hurt but it seemed full strength.

Two choices, both challenging:

  1. Inland trail (mud scramble)
  2. Owen Point (most difficult section of the WCT)

I headed for the shelf.

First challenge — many surge channels.

Happily, the tide was very low. Waves almost non-existent.

Best weather of the week.

I was able to jump or walk around all surge channels without trouble.

Plan worked. I reached Owen Point at exactly lowest tide.

A highlight of the West Coast Trail.

Next challenge: HUGE boulders and log walking.

As a former gymnast, I enjoy scrambles. No problems.

I arrived Thrasher Cove before Noon.

From here my guidebook estimated 4 hours for 6km all inland. It could’t possibly take me that long, even injured. 🤫 Could it?

The Thrash is a steep, switchbacking scramble from the beach up to the high inland trail.

It seemed to take forever to reach the famed Donkey Engine.

I started to worry about time. There is some gorgeous easy trail walking on the final 5km, as well. Nobody understands WHY this section takes so long.

Donkey engines were used to pull huge logs, back in the day.

I didn’t reach the final ladder down to the Gordon river until 3:25pm, 5 minutes before the (supposed) deadline to cross.

Whew.

As required, I waltzed into the West Coast Trail office to check off the trail. Relieved.

I had a second permit to start the next day BACK to Bamfield. A WCT yoyo. But had to cancel due to injury.

Easiest was to simply change the reservation. Out of the blue, I decided on July 3rd out of Nitinat.

Once the excitement of finishing ebbed, my leg really started hurting on the slow plod 5km into Port Renfrew town.

Just before I got to the hiker’s hut I had booked, 3 friends from the trail stopped to ask me if I wanted a ride to Nanaimo.

Sweet.

That was exactly what I wanted to do.

I collected my resupply. Cancelled my reservation at the hiker’s hut.

Got home before 9pm.

And I’m already looking forward to another West Coast Trail week in July.

Day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | gear | video | WCT info

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