Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The West Coast Trail

One of the most harrowing experiences of my life was hiking the West Coast Trail, a 47-mile long backpacking trail on Vancouver Island.

47 miles long... I think that is the horizontal distance... there was also a vertical distance to contend with: at one point, we had to climb up a kilometer or 52 stories of ladders up and down.

Ancient growth forest. Waterfalls. Bogs. Beaches at low tide (we had to consult tide tables!).

Crossing rivers and streams by hand-pulled cable car, fallen logs, and boat.

Ladders, lots of ladders.

One of the things you do to prepare for the trip is how to deal avoid being mauled by a cougar.

The hike takes seven days on average, and is a pack-in, pack-out affair. It took us nine days, and we ran out of food. Thankfully, we were able to beg some on the trail from first nation guides and other, more seasoned hikers.

At some point, most of our group wanted to be evacuated by helicopter from the trail.

Somehow, we survived. Seriously, it was like being on an episode of Survivor. At the time we hiked it, we had heard that there was usually one death every year. Surviving was not a given. I don't think any of us are the same. In fact, sometimes Dan and I still can't talk about it!

It is one of the most breathtaking, unspoiled places on planet earth.

No comments:

Post a Comment