Morning clouds in Alpine Lake Wilderness. Shot from Gravel Lake on the PCT.
Let’s play with a new AI photo filter…this is Vinci / Delaunay before & after…
We’re told during orientation to allot 5 hours to go from Thrasher Cove to the ferry at Gordon River…steep up and down, slippery, ladders…and the last ferry is at 4:30. Took me 3.5 hours at a steady pace, and I definitely needed to take my time. Very easy to twist an ankle or fall.
Sunrise at Thrasher Cove
It’s a 1 KM climb from Thrasher back up to the main trail junction…ladders, steep rock, roots.
Derelict donkey engine at 72 km
Ferry at Gordon River
Craig and the final ladder. And it’s the first ladder for those going northbound.
Time to wrap up…I scooted over to Victoria to get in the waiting line for the ferry
We pass by house boats…
…before exiting Victoria Harbor and head for home.
This day was timed to take the beach route at low tide vs. taking the inland forest path.
Love these log crossings
And this was typical even after a stretch of dry days
Go straight up the middle
Watch your feet
Surge channel on the coastal route at low tide
Stay high when traversing the coast at low tide.
Sandstone moon craters
Low tide at Owen Point
Quick video vignettes: two panoramas, approach to a surge channel. I fell on slippery algae by the sea cave…small head bump, nothing serious.
Tree stand at the Strait of de Juan Fuca…that’s the United States on the horizon.
Close-up of a Zodiac Rescue Boat used by CA Parks. About 40 evacuations off the trail so far this year.
Thrasher Cove CG
Follow the trail
Coastal trees above the surf
Morning sun shines through
Old planks guide the path
Chez Monique’s place: everything on the menu from coffee to burgers to salmon
I took 3 sketchy jumps here. Made two of them.
And had wet boots has a present. Tip: Just swap out to sandals for the river crossings.
Coastal trees at 51 KM
Coastal tree in the fog
Pano of Walbran Creek
Lots of climbing
The trail ahead
Follow the planks
Down, across, and up
Trail tetris with mud
…or look down…
…just do it.
Finally settled into…
…Camper Bay CG for the night.
WCT Guardian Hut sits on the edge of the beach
The ‘Cadillac’ of latrines: compost only, throw cedar chips on top when you’re done
Trail with ocean view
Let’s do a quick pano
Cable car crossing at Klanawa River
Nice spot for lunch
Ladder system down to Tsusiet Falls
The first of many trail log crossings
Ferry ride across Nitinat Narrows
Boardwalk trail at 33 KM
Forest trail at dusk
Pano of Bonilla Point…the campground is just to the other side of my shadow
Tent side at Bonilla Point CG
Start of trail at the northern section
First ladder system
It’s a Suzuki
At the Pachena Lighthouse
First view of the beach at 12 KM. This is Michigan Creek CG.
Bear encounter – mama bear and cub on the beach. Just foraging for food, non-aggressive. Darling River CG is just beyond them
Quick 10 second view from a GoPro at wide angle…just look for the dark shape movement.
Entrance to Darling River CG
Tent side at Orange Juice Creek CG
The West Coast Trail (WCT) sits on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island…
- Covers 55 miles / 74 KM of trail across forest, beach, rocks, mud, tree roots, boardwalks, river crossings, cable cars, and two ferries.
- Includes over 100 bridges and 40 ladder “systems” ranging from 1 to 4 stories high
- Rated as “difficult” by Parks Canada. Over 90 evacuations in 2015, 43 evacs in 2016 by the time I did the hike.
- WCT is accessible by permit only from May 1 to September 30, closed rest of the year.
- I went north to south, from Pachena Bay to Gordon River
- Want to book your own trip? Start here on the CA Parks site.
Here’s the gear setup for 5 days…
In order to start the hike, I first needed to get to Pachena Bay…
Traveled to Gordon River by motorcycle
Passed by this cargo ship at Port of Seattle
Acrobats on the ferry to Victoria
Scooted to Gordon River/Port Renfrew, where I parked the bike at Evan’s
Backpack weigh-in: 42 pounds minus a full water bladder. Not bad for 5 days.
Here’s the Pachena Bay hut, where you get an orientation lecture, trail map, and updated tide chart.
Quick panorama in front of the hut
Close up view of map and tide chart