Fisherman’s Trail, Portugal

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

I FINALLY hiked Fisherman’s, one of the world’s best coastal hikes.

Porto Covo to Zambujeira do Mar in NOVEMBER.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on YouTube.

HIGHLIGHTS

Sunsets are what I remember best. Usually with wine.

Weather was perfect for me in early November, though it’s considered too late in the year for hiking. I saw only about 12 other multi-day hikers over 4 days. Most hotels and restaurants had already closed for the season.

Beach walking is lovely … for a while. There’s a LOT of sand on this adventure.

In November I had most beaches to myself.

Clifftop vistas are stunning.

Charming villages are particularly charming in November, nearly deserted in the off-season.

Porto Covo
Vila Nova de Milfontes
Fort of Pessegueiro

I’d highly recommend 3 days, 3 nights Porto Covo to Zambujeira do Mar. In either direction.

As do most, I added Zambujeira to Odeceixe. But you could certainly skip that day as it doesn’t add much. And requires quite a few kms of road walking.

If looking for MORE, however, Fisherman’s Trail (Porto Novo to Odeceixe) is only one section of the longer Rota Vicentina.

In case you’re considering hiking high season, here’s how some beaches may look on a busy day.

Zambujeira do Mar

Norway ➙ Faroe Islands ➙ Iceland

Dream by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Many of my hiking travel plans have been cancelled starting March 2020. Pandemic. 😕

IF possible in August 2022, here’s my PLAN.

Cycle and hike Norway on my Trek Checkpoint touring bike.

Catch the ferry in northern Denmark. Stopover in the Faroe Islands.

Continue to Iceland for yet more cycling and hiking.

Fly out of Reykjavik.

Price for that ferry starts at 404.00€ plus meals onboard.

It’s 30+ hours to the Faroes. Another 15+ hours to eastern Iceland.

Travel between the islands is not difficult, I understand. Here’s an overview map of popular hikes.

Photo by Tomu00e1u0161 Malu00edk on Pexels.com
Faroe Islands photo by Tomu00e1u0161 Malu00edk on Pexels.com

Hesquiat Peninsula Trail, Vancouver Island

West Coast Wonders offers a guided fly-in hike over 6-8 days.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

It’s also known as the Escalante Trail as most hikers start at Escalante Point.

Accessing this coastal route requires either a float plane out of Gold River or water taxi from Gold River or Tofino. Or you might be able to kayak.

Hesquiat Peninsula Provincial Park is situated on the west coast of Vancouver Island and occupies most of the eastern shore of Nootka Sound. (MAP) This park is a significant tourism corridor for rugged coastal hiking, boating and sea kayaking. …

This prominent low-elevation peninsula is a significant wilderness area protecting heritage sites, representative old-growth forest stands of Sitka spruce, lodgepole pine, white pine and yellow-cedar and a freshwater lake. The park also encompasses a variety of coastal ecosystems including extensive off-shore reefs, boulder, cobble and sand beaches, sea caves, sheltered bays, kelp beds and mudflats.

This wilderness park has numerous hazards and is in a remote area of the coast. Kayaking and hiking along the shores of the Hesquiat Peninsula is recommended for experienced paddlers and hikers only. This undeveloped wilderness park has no facilities, however backcountry camping is allowed.

If you want to know more, download the Wild Isle brochure.

Trip reports:

Michael Paskevicius (2017)

Wolverine (2004)

Fisherman’s Trail, Rota Vicentina, Portugal

I’m considering the famed Portuguese Fisherman’s Trail in November.

Leave a comment if you have advice for me.

Moon and Honey hiked in early November. Though some restaurants had closed for the season, they still felt it was not too late in the year.

76 km/47 mi.

4 days

Porto Covo – Vila Nova de Milfontes (20 km)
Vila Nova de Milfontes – Almograve (15.5 km)
Almograve – Zambujeira do Mar (22 km)
Zambujeira do Mar – Odeceixe (18.5 km)

Most stay in town each night as there are no campgrounds and wild camping is prohibited.

You can have luggage transferred each night, hiking only with a day pack.

It’s possible to extend the hike on the Historical Way of the Rota Vicentina. I’ll probably start with just the Fisherman’s Trail.

costa-selvagem sm

related:

Liz BoulterWalking Portugal’s Atlantic coast 2013

Sarah BaxterRota Vicentina: Welcome to Europe’s empty corner 2013

Trip Advisor reviews

Best West Coast Trail video of 2021

I hiked the West Coast Trail twice in 2021. And watched plenty of videos while putting together our own “How to SURVIVE the West Coast Trail” playlist.

BUT was still blown away by Rudy D’Alessio’s cinematic edit — only 11 minutes long. It sums up the challenge and grandeur of our #1 hike in the world with no excess. No voice over.

Shot on an iPhone 12 Pro Max with a Moment macro lens for the closeups.

#respect

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’ve subscribed to his YouTube channel (Ratatrail) and will be watching MORE starting with Pacific Crest Trail thru hike.

HOW to survive the West Coast Trail

BestHike editor Rick McCharles

After hiking the West Coast Trail twice in 2021, I put together a video playlist with two goals:

1. WHY the West Coast Trail is our #1 hike in the world.

2. HOW to survive. It’s dangerous and challenging.

Below are all 7 videos. If they help, bookmark them and/or subscribe on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch the Introduction on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch Bamfield to Michigan Creek on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch Michigan Creek to Tsusiat Falls on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch Tsusiat Fall to Cribs Creek on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch Cribs Creek to Cullite Creek on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch Cullite to Port Renfrew on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch Nitinat Option on YouTube.

South Africa’s Whale Trail

As I post this hike is still closed due to COVID.

The Whale Trail is an unforgettable experience, taking you through one of the Western Cape’s most unique and diverse nature reserves.

The route stretches over 55km, from Potberg to Koppie Alleen, with five overnight stops (hikers spend the first night at Potberg before starting the trail). The unspoilt natural beauty on this trail is unsurpassable, leading through lush fynbos and offering stunning views of the coast.

De Hoop is known as one of the best land-based whale-watching spots in the world. Between June and November, the coastline is transformed as southern right whales migrate here to breed and look after their young.

Reservations are limited to group bookings of either six or 12. (No children.) The tariff includes the shuttle service from Koppie Alleen, where the trail ends, back to the Potberg tourism office and the Whale Trail parking area.

CapeNature

If you have a group of 6 people and are interested, check a trip report on Hiking South Africa:

The Whale Trail

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on the Whale Trail race.

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

Day 5 – West Coast Trail 2021

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

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

June 13, 2021
Culite to Km 65

Wow. What a fantastic campsite.

Protected from the rain by the cliff, I had my own personal kitchen.

Here’s the impassable headland at Cullite.

Therefore everyone heads up the the ladders. Those at Cullite highest of all.

Top of the stairs is a quagmire of mud and trippy roots.

But the inland trail can be beautiful.

Wild and weird mushrooms.

One of the most interesting creatures is the Banana slug.

If you could eat them, you’d never starve. And they have been eaten by humans — but are not appetizing. Remove the slime first.

DAMN. I slipped in a mud pit — face first — badly bruising my thigh on a hidden root.

The leg seemed to work … but was painful. I limped on with the logic of walking it off.

Expect MUD on the WCT.

I can’t go on, I’ll go on.

Our plan had been to camp on the beach Km 65 . Cross Owen Point at low tide next morning. And out to Port Renfrew.

Km 65 is only 8km from Cullite — but the short day sounded good since I was now injured and moving slowly.

Unfortunately there was no place to set up a tent near Km 65. 😕

I decided to camp right on the trail. A good spot, actually.

I was able to secure my food because I’d carried it in an Ursack.

Ursack AllMitey bear bag

No campfire.

Went to bed early hoping the leg wouldn’t hematoma.

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

%d bloggers like this: