BikePacking Wesley Ridge, Vancouver Island B.C.

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

AKA Mt. Wesley Traverse

I tried and failed to do the Wesley Ridge traverse:

  • close to tourist hotspot Cathedral Grove
  • trailheads on highway 4 between Parksville and Port Alberni
  • about 10km with 750m elevation gain/loss
  • about 6-8 hrs from one end to the other
  • additional hour or two walking abandoned rail tracks back to start
  • not maintained. Hundreds of fallen trees.
  • buggy but few mosquitoes
  • route finding necessary

I started at the end closest to Parksville assuming it would be less busy than the Cathedral Grove trailhead.

click for larger version

I made a video of the BikePacking trip. Cycling to and from my parent’s place in Parksville qualifies this as a #MicroAdventure.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I hid and locked my bike close to the trailhead. Transferred what I needed to my hiking pack — and headed up the railway tracks.

I missed the turn-off up mountain. It’s not obvious. On my return I flagged the start to make it more conspicuous.

Steep.

The strenuous 2km climb up to the telecommunications tower is called Wesley Tower Trail.

Many continue on to the first lake vista. It took me about 2 hours to get here. There are two benches, one named Forever Tuesday after the Tuesday Walkers Club in nearby Port Alberni.

Most turn back at this point. There’s no one path across the ridge from here.

I gave it a good try. You follow different (competing) sets of orange tape flags. Some lead to dead ends.

A bigger problem was scrambling hundreds of fallen trees. Not bringing long pants, I got quite scratched up. It was bushwhacking.

Another problem is water. I saw no flowing water — only remnant snow melt tarns. 

With daylight failing, I finally decided to find myself a great tent site.

It doesn’t get much better than this. I had to HIDE in the tent at dusk, however, pestered by small non-biting flies.

From here I could see steam rising from Port Alberni.

Here’s where I stopped.

Good night.

Next morning, nearly out of water, I decided to hustle back the way I’d come. I’ll try the Ridge from the other end on some future trip.

related – Lonny Barr – Wesley Ridge Trail

tramping Stewart Island, New Zealand

There are three main multi-day hiking trails on Stewart Island:

Rakiura Track (3 days)
North West Circuit (9-11 days)
Southern Circuit (6 days)

Stewart Island can be visited all year round, and it possible to do the aforementioned hikes at any time of the year. But, our recommendation is to visit sometime during the peak summer months, when the weather is warmer, sunny days are (slightly) more likely, and the daylight hours are longer.

We suggest visiting December through March. …

Ultimate Gear Lists – STEWART ISLAND HIKING GUIDE

The weather is notorious. But your biggest problem is not likely to be mud … it will be sandflies.

Charles Darwin was a hiker

He got into hiking in his 20s, but it was trekking and scrambling in little know wilderness on four continents visited on his five-year-long H.M.S. Beagle voyage between 1831 and 1836 that cement him as one of the most worldly hikers in history.

 “Mount Darwin” is the highest peak in Tierra del Fuego. On February 12, 1834, Captain FitzRoy named a mountain after him on his birthday. …

Mt. Darwin

Darwin walked mainly to discover plants and animals unique to those regions.

I learned all this by reading his travelogue Voyage of the Beagle.

By the way, the famous phrase “survival of the fittest” comes from Herbert Spencer’s 1864 publication, “Principles of Biology.” The term is largely thought to have been coined by Darwin regarding his thoughts on evolution; however, this is a wrong assumption.

tramp the Travers-Sabine Circuit, New Zealand

  • LENGTH: 50 miles / 80 km
  • DURATION: 4-7 days
  • TYPE: Circuit
  • START / FINISH: St Arnaud (or Mt Robert Carpark)
  • BEST TIME: December through April

At the northernmost end of New Zealand’s Southern Alps lies Nelson Lakes National Park. …

The park is named after two glacier-carved alpine lakes found at it’s northern end — Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa. These two lakes are tranquil and idyllic, making them great locations for car camping or day walks.

However, the real gems lie deeper into the park at higher elevations. Travers Saddle rewards the keen fit hiker with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Blue Lake — claimed to have the clearest freshwater in the world — is quite surreal, with colours that dance magically in the sunlight. Lake Constance offers the solitude of a true high-alpine lake environment. …

… this circuit is one of the most stunning multi-day hikes in New Zealand. This trail can get relatively busy in the peak season, although it is not nearly as crowded or expensive as one of the “New Zealand Great Walks”. …

Ultimate Gear Lists – NELSON LAKES & BLUE LAKE HIKING GUIDE

Cape Wrath Trail, Scotland

Cam Honan

The Cape Wrath Trail is often referred to as Britain’s toughest long distance walk. Stretching approximately 230 miles (370 km) from the Highland hub of Fort William to the remote lighthouse of Cape Wrath, it is an unmarked and sometimes trailless route that passes through the wild and spectacular landscapes of northwestern Scotland. Due to the unpredictable weather and challenging terrain, it is a hike that is best suited to experienced ramblers who possess a good level of fitness, navigation skill, and a stoic disregard of having wet feet.

I hiked the Cape Wrath Trail in the summer of 2018. …

Cape Wrath Trail Backpacking Guide

The Skye Trail, Scotland

Cam Honan:

Scotland’s Isle of Skye is a place steeped in myth, legend and natural beauty. Tales of giants and shape-shifting water horses are woven together with stories of dramatic mountain ranges and coastlines. It is an island that engages and inspires all that visit, and for those possessed of a wayfaring disposition, there is a 128 km (80 mi) trail which spans its length that encapsulates all of the diverse wonders for which it is renowned.

I hiked the Skye Trail in the summer of 2018. The post below includes impressions from the trip, logistical and background information, route recommendations, and a gear list. …

Skye Trail Overview Map (Cicerone Guides) | Note: I added the place names in bold red font.

Click over to The Hiking Life to read the rest.

The Skye Trail – Trip Report & Backpacking Guide

Arctic Circle Trail, Greenland

… At just over 100 miles long, and taking 7 to 10 days to complete, the Arctic Circle Trail crosses the largest ice-free patch of West Greenland.

This splendid backpacking route, lying 25-30 miles north of the Arctic Circle runs from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut – both with airport access.

a summer walk, ideally from mid-June to mid-September, when the tundra is bursting with life; during the long winter, snow and ice, short days and bitter cold are the norm …

Cicerone

Bo Normander posted an excellent trip report from 2017:

GUIDE TO THE ARCTIC CIRCLE TRAIL IN GREENLAND