Surviving Vancouver Island Wilderness – ALONE TV

Alone (TV series) … follows the self-documented daily struggles of 10 individuals (seven paired teams in season 4) as they survive alone in the wilderness for as long as possible using a limited amount of survival equipment. …

They may “tap out” at any time, or be removed due to failing a medical check-in. The contestant who remains the longest wins a grand prize of $500,000. …

Seasons 1, 2 and 4 were shot on Vancouver Island.

The first season premiered 2015.

They were dropped on Quatsino Sound in Northern Vancouver Island, Canada, only accessible by boat or float plane.

As I hike and cycle a lot on the Island, I was keen to see how mere mortals could live off the land in a remote rain forest.

Starting a fire was the first big challenge. EVERYTHING is wet all the time.

Food was the long term challenge.

Lucas was by far the most skilled in season 1. He built a boat, yurt and even a musical instrument.

But Lucas didn’t take home the $500K first prize. That went to the contestant that was psychologically strongest. I do believe he could have lasted weeks longer — though he lost over 60 pounds.


The 10 people selected for season 2 were better prepared. The challenge was the same — remote, wet Vancouver Island. Though the weather was better.

The final four all found ways to last a long time. But as winter approached, the food supply dwindled.

Nicole was one of my favourites. Marine biologist. Expert in intertidal zone ecosystem. Knows what plants to eat. What plants not to eat.

She had the luxury of letting a big salmon go free one day. Wow.

I was cheering Jose, as well, a Spaniard who had adopted the ways of the North American indigenous peoples. His kayak is amazing.

In the end, missing loved ones at home was the final reason to tap out.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Season 4 had seven teams of family members competing against one another.

Same geographical location.

Personally, I found the pairs stories less interesting. Did not finish the season.

How much FOOD do you NEED on Long Hikes?

Andrew Skurka:

My experience is that most backpackers will be satisfied with 2,250 to 2,750 calories per day.

If you are young, muscular, larger in size, and/or on an intense trip, aim for the high end of this range. If you are the opposite of any of those aim for the low end of this range.

Calorie-counting is tedious, so you may find it more practical to weigh your food. In this case, aim for 18 to 22 ounces of food per day.

The average caloric density of your food is generally about 125 calories per ounce, so 18 ounces equals 2,250 calories and 22 ounces equals 2,750 calories. …

Food-Planning Basics for Backpacking

Magnetic Cutlery for Travel

Full Windsor sent me a sample set of their Magnetic Flatware.

And I’m impressed.

High quality. Durable. And the magnetic coupling is super slick.

There’s no way I could possibly bend or break the spoon as I’ve often done in the past with metal and titanium. The knife has a serrated edge that could cut wire!

Details.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’ll be doing a detailed video review on my next multi-day adventure.

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

related – STINGY NOMADS trip report

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.

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

Day 3 – West Coast Trail 2021

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

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

June 11, 2021
Tsusiat to Cribs

Finally. Serious rain.

But I was dry in a little tent secured under a Tsusiat cliff overhang. Didn’t need my fly.

Put on the water shoestrail runners with neoprene booties — in the morning as I’d be starting on the beach. Tide was low enough.

My rain gear perfect.

I enjoyed walking through Tsusiat Point a second time, 12 hours after exploring it the previous evening.

The shelf in the rain is classic West Coast Trail. But you are forced inland at the impassable headlands of Tsuquadra Point.

I stayed with the water shoes due to muddy pools on the inland trails.

IF you have the agility of a gymnast, you can often save time by walking natural log bridges.

In the rain, it’s tempting to stop and see if there is availability at the Ditidaht First Nation Comfort Camp.

The inland trails were overgrown after having seen no hikers for almost 2 years. The WCT was closed due to COVID in 2020.

It’s always a thrill to reach Nitinat Narrows, cold, deep and fast moving tidal waters.

For days I’d been looking forward to fresh caught salmon lunch.

There are cabins to rent here though I’ve never stayed.

As you can see, my camera fogged up badly.

Departing the crab shack, there’s a lot of new (slippery) boardwalk. Careful.

And the way got even more overgrown. At one point, I thought I’d missed the main trail. Tempted to head back to the crab shack to borrow a machete. 😀

There’s a good suspension bridge over the Cheewhat river.

This day I really enjoyed switching back and forth between trail and coastline.

At one point — for fun — we tried and failed to cross an impassable headland. Waves were too high to wade. I turned back to the last beach access, but some younger hikers managed to scramble up the cliff to rejoin the inland trail.

Didn’t arrive Cribs until 8:30pm. Very tired.

Set up my tent in the trees in the first available spot. Next to the pit toilets.

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

BestHike #9 – Haute Route in the Alps

The Haute Route, from France to Switzerland, is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute introduction on YouTube.

Haute Route

Chamonix to Zermatt, Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn – in two weeks of mountain travel you will see the greatest collection of 4000 metre peaks in the Alps!

AT A GLANCE

  • also known as the Walker’s High Route
  • Alpine charm: valleys, lakes, glaciers
  • great food, history, culture
  • from Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe (4810m, 15,781ft)
  • to the Matterhorn, the most beautiful peak in the alps
  • 9-15 days
  • 180+kms (112mi)
  • best months June-Sept
  • crosses 11 passes, gains more than 12,000m elevation
  • difficult hiking
Ibex-horns

Read more on our Haute Route information page.

GSI Pack Grater for Camping

Each year a group of friends heads out for a week of hiking and camping.

Each year they compare gear.  And consider adding something NEW to their kit.

In 2020 I was very impressed with Karen’s GSI Pack Grater.  Less than $10.

Very lightweight and compact, it did a terrific job grating cheese for our traditional Trail Quesadillas.

We typically make the Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk version including fresh apple and Rosemary.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’m purchasing a GSI Pack Grater for myself.

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