Jun 2, 2009 at 10:02 am #1236739
I am doping the WCT in July with my 12 yr. old son, anybody completed the trip this year yet ? I was loking for a more up-to-date report than what is currently on the web. Thank You…PETER / SeattleJun 2, 2009 at 10:04 am #1505240
I should have spell-checked this :o) "Doing" and "Looking" what a dope ! PETERJun 2, 2009 at 1:22 pm #1505285
I was the first person on the WCT this year and the first off. What information do you require?Jun 4, 2009 at 3:39 pm #1505959
My son is twleve and we are doing this trail in early July, We travel light usually, and I have heard different reports of boots vs. cross trainers, any feedback in this regard would help…and what animal life did you see ? I also heard you can geta boat back to Bamfiled, weather permitting, at the end of the trail, hiking North to South, do you know if this correct. Thanks…PETERJun 4, 2009 at 7:18 pm #1506009
a.) If you are going light, I would recommend light hikers – low or ankle cut depending on your preference. However, things will get wet and muddy so you might want to consider wearing a waterproof sock with a non-gortex shoe or a gortex shoe. We had rain for most of the trip, and my GTX Montrail Hardrocks did great until the very last day and then they started to wet through. You really do not need a heavy leather (or similar) traditional backpacking boot on this trail. It will only be a hindrance on the beach.
b.) Wildlife – whales, seals, sea lions, bear, cougars, wolf, mink, bald eagles (lots this year), and sand flies. Most of the sealife is visible toward the north of the trail. I did not see any bears this trip but have in the past. No cougars visible but we did see some tracks. Many wolf tracks which was a thrill.
Each designated campsite has bear lockers or a means to hang your food and smelly toiletries.
Water is abundant and clean. You would be fine to use chemicals v.s. a filter.
Use trekking poles! They are invaluable on this trail in my opinion.
Take your time as things are always slippery.
Have fun on the ladders!
Any other questions, please let me know.Jun 5, 2009 at 7:09 am #1506116
I do alot of flying by the seat of my pants….how likely is it to get a permit if I just show up? I heard they give out a couple a day on a first come first serve basis. Could I sleep in front of the office, kinda like when I needed those Brittany Spears tickets? ;)
SteveJun 5, 2009 at 7:52 am #1506121
Hi Steve. I think the odds are pretty good that you would get on just dropping by on the same day – if not, definitely the second. I believe there are more for places available for drop-ins.
If you start in Port Renfrew, there is really no place to camp as the orientation is now at a community centre. You could, I guess, climb into a closet and hide until they locked the place at night. (heh,heh)
If you start in Bamfield / Pachena Bay, there is a large field right in front of the Parks Station, a pay campsite a little farther north, and the Pachena Bay (georgeous) that you could probably nestle into for an overnight although I don't know if they patrol the area – probably claim to but probably do not.
This year I had enough rainfall to kind of make me grumby on the second to last day. We started the day at Tsusiat Falls at about 8:00 a.m. and the rain started and did not finish until mid the next day. Ladders, mud, slippery logs, etc. I was tired of it so we hiked out a 1/2 early (arriving about 12 hours later) to the trailhead and camped. The next day when we questioned the 'Ranger' why she had not disturbed us (we were thinking we might have an issue camping there given the No Camping signs), she indicated that if we were camping there overnight then we must have gotten in late and she wanted to give us time to sleep (!). Go figure.
Steve it is an awesome adventure and highly recommended (4th time for me and it is different each time).
A hiking buddy had the DSLR camera so I am awaiting pics and will post some then.Jun 5, 2009 at 7:59 am #1506123
David, thanks for the great info. I have almost a month off, give or take a day here and there, in August and I'm trying to decide where I should go to. Problem is I don't know exactly the dates I have to be at work…
A hiking buddy had the DSLR camera so I am awaiting pics and will post some then.
Definitely looking forward to this! I'd love to see a Gear List and Trip report aswell..hint hint. :)Jun 5, 2009 at 8:17 am #1506126
Yes – trip report and gear list / review will be in order!
If you did the WCT in August, you could also do the Juan de Fuca trail or better yet (and definitely on MY list) the North Coast Trail.Jun 8, 2009 at 8:41 am #1506637
I just finished reading the West Coast Trail Guide. I'm guessing by the content, and continuous reminders, that their main concern is people hiking the trail who are not prepared, either physically or gearwise. I love how under "Other Recomened Equipment" there is stated in capitla letters "YOU WILL NOT NEED AN AXE. LEAVE IT HOME."
Anyway, sounds like I'll need to bring some serious raingear…no poncho this time around.
A little advice if you have any.
If I head out there, I guess flying right to Victoria would be best?
Can I take a cab right to the trailhead from the airport, or maybe even a shuttle of some sort?
Should I hike Northbound or southbound?
And then can I stay somewhere (hotel/hostel, B&B) if I have to wait a day or two for a permit?
Sorry for all the questions, I just get a little crazy sometimes when I start to look into a potential hike, and local knowledge beats the pants off googling stuff.
Thanks David.Jun 8, 2009 at 10:35 am #1506668
Ah yes….moisture management. That is what it is all about. If it does not rain fo you, then a Poncho would work but the odds are against you! Yes, you will need some decent rain gear. I used the OR Zealot (8 oz in XL) and MH Conduit rain pants (7 oz in L). It got to the point where there was so much rain and mud that I wanted to stay reasonably dry – who cares about sweating! (sort of). It was a blast!
As far as the guide going a little overboard – yes and no. The first time I did it I saw one fellow carrying a guitar, which I will assume did not make it out of there alive (the guitar, not the hiker) and another carrying a full bag of potatoes. Not kidding. The thought of it makes me wince.
Okay – to your specific questions:
-You can either fly to Victoria or Nanaimo.
-Logistics: My recommendation would be the South (Port Renfrew)to North (Pachena / Bamfield) as the most gruelling part is at the South end. You can likely get a cab to take you to Port Renfrew but it might be pricey. The alternative is to contact the West Coast Trail Bus (www.trailbus.com). You can get them to pick you up in Victoria (or Nanaimo) based on a fixed time and they will take you to Port Renfrew. If you get a 'round trip' ticket, they will pick you up in the North end and take you back to Victoria (with a stop in Port Renfrew again). It might be the most cost savings as they are the ONLY commercial transportation from the North end. I will be honest, the bus ride back on the logging roads from Banfield are an adventure in itself – about 160km's of bounce.
-Should you hike North to South? As indicated above, my personal preference is the opposite way but I have done both. The first 22 – 26km from the South end are the most technically difficult with some KM's taking an hour or more to complete even for a lightweight hiker. Past that point, assuming you can catch the tides and hike on the tidal shelf (highly recommended), you can make up to 4KM an hour and then have additional time to watch the whales, etc. Either way, the West Coast Trail Bus can help on the logistics front.
-You can stay in the North at Bamfield (6KM from the Pachena trailhead). I think there is a hotel called the West Coast Trail Hotel, but not sure. No Hostels that I am aware of but you may be able to camp locally. You may want to contact the Parks Canada Office to confirm about camping.
-In Port Renfrew there are several places but not cheap for one. If there are a few of you then the costs make more sense. Big sport fishing in the area. I do not think there is any place to camp at the South end. 5 of us stayed at the Trailhead Resort. Contact Peter Hovey @ 250 – 647 – 5468. They may be able to accomodate (maybe allow you to camp on the premises if they are full). Very nice people!
Let me know if you have any other questions or feel free to PM me.Jul 24, 2009 at 10:28 am #1516215
I have been reading through your useful posts from June as I am hiking the WCT next week. The only thing I have been wondering about is if I need to carry rope to hang food or not. I know there are some bear lockers out there but are they at all the sites now or are there still sites that i would need my own rope at.
CorinnaJul 25, 2009 at 12:40 pm #1516470
i just finished the wct a week ago. we did 6-days, 5-nights (Pt. Renfrew, Campers, Walbran, Cribs, Tsusiat, Michigan, Bamfield). There were two bear caches at Camper and Michigan and one at the other camp sites. If you put your food in the the caches as soon as you get to camp then you will be fine. If you wait until after dinner then you will need to hang your food.
btw, i would recommend doing it in 7 days. that first two days were brutal.
also, i recommend the water taxi in lieu of the bus ride back from bamfield to pt. renfrew. an extra $50 but we got to see some grey whales within 10' of the boat and circled some sea lions on haul-out rocks.
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