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West Coast Trail – Day 1

Panchena Beach to Tsocowis Creek (16.5 km)
The alarm went off at 6:00 and we started eating breakfast and getting ready to start the trail. Our taxi came at 7:00 and after the obligatory starting picture we were off!

West Coast Trail - Start at Bamfield

Obligatory shot at the start of the trail in Bamfield

We choose the beach route at the beginning as it skips the 2nd highest ladder (or so we were told). It was raining, or misting as I like to call it but spirits were high despite the lack of sun.

West Coast Trail - Hiking in the Mist

Hiking in the mist

We stopped briefly at Km 9 to see the sea lions resting on the rock and a km later we stopped at the Panchena Pt Lighthouse for some lunch.

West Coast Trail - Sea Lions

Sea Lions

West Coast Trail - Panchena Point Lighthouse

Panchena Point Lighthouse

West Coast Trail - Lunch at Panchena Point

Lunch at the lighthouse

At Km 12 we stopped at the Michigan Creek campsite for a break. Some of the less experienced hikers got a lesson about not throwing food away on the ground and others took advantage of the break for a quick nap.

West Coast Trail - Break at Michigan Creek Campsite

Break at Michigan Creek Campsite

West Coast Trail - Nap Time at Michigan Creek

Nap Time at Michigan Creek

As we continued to our camp the weather had cleared up and we could see gray whales in the distance. We also saw part of an old rusted out boat.

West Coast Trail - Old Boat

This boat has seen better days

We set up camp, only to be disturbed by a bear who was curious. We then moved our camp to be beside another camp. The sky also cleared up to give us our first sunset of the trip.

West Coast Trail - Camp at Tscowis Creek

Our Camp at Tscowis Creek

West Coast Trail - Bear at Tscowis Creek

This bear stopped by, probably smelled all our garlic in our pasta at dinner.

West Coast Trail - Sunset at Tscowis

I was happy to see this sunset as I didn't know if we would get good enough weather on our trip

All in all, a good first day.

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West Coast Trail – The Start

This post is the first about my hike of the West Coast Trail.

After months of planning with the group, we finally were off and boarded the ferry to Vancouver Island. Arriving on the island around supper time, we stopped for a bite to eat and set out for the 1 and a half hour drive to Port Renfrew where we camped for the evening.

The view from our campsite, which happens to be the end of the West Coast Trail

The view from our campsite, which happens to be the end of the West Coast Trail

We camped by the Gordan River for the night, right across from where we will finish the West Coast Trail. In the morning we caught a shuttle bus to the town of Bamfield. On the bus we saw a deer, the first of many wildlife sightings. The bus was bumpy on the logging roads. If I had to do it all over again I would catch the boat that does whale watching where the whales come so close you can touch it, at least that is the story I am told 🙂

Packing up for the bus

Packing up for the bus

Our Packs

Our Packs

Our first campsite of the trip

Our first campsite of the trip

Our Shuttle Bus approaches

Our Shuttle Bus approaches

We arrived at our Bed and Breakfast finding out that there was some confusion and they thought we were coming the day after. Fortunately nobody was booked for that night and it all worked out. We went to our orientation for the West Coast Trail where we got some helpful tips and some remarks about “if” we would continue on beyond the half way point.

Our Orientation

Our Orientation, where we learn the dangers of cougars and bears

After the orientation the taxi driver showed us the new First Nations administration building and let us know about the town of Bamfield. We stopped at the local store one last time for some food for supper and went back to the B&B. At the B&B we showered and enjoyed the comforts of civilization which we would not see again for a week.

A First Nations Log House

A First Nations Log House

The Bamfield Restaurant and Local Store

The Bamfield Restaurant and Local Store

We packed up our packs for the next day and set the alarm for the next day…

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Backpacking to Tenquille Lake

In an effort to get ready to backpack the West Coast Trail I went on a quick backpacking trip to Tenquille lake. It turns out this is a little gem in BC that is well worth your time and effort.

Tenquille lake is outside of Pemberton and must be hiked to. The original trail was established to get to the gold found at the towns of Gold Bridge and Bralorne. There are two entrances, one just before the Hurley road starts and the other at branch 12 off of the Hurley road. We took the latter. For more information see club tread

Tenquille Lake Map

Tenquille Lake Map

I thought the entrance to branch 12 was confusing, considering it isn’t labelled “Branch 12”. However somebody has scribbled an arrow on the sign so we assumed the road was the one we were looking for. If you have a 4×4 with enough clearance you can avoid the 5 km of forestry road which is the worst 5 km of the trip. We were not so lucky so here is where our hike started.

Tenquille Lake Branch 12 Start

Tenquille Lake - Branch 12 - Where the hike starts

After a short while we were reassured we took the right route with one of two signs pointing us in the right direction. Right after this point the mosquitoes were really bad until we got to the trail head. No amount of bug spray helped as the grade of the road meant you were sweating off all the repellant in minutes.

Picture of me standing in front of the sign

Me, standing in front of one of only two signs

It wasn’t all bad on the way up though, the views are spectacular.

Pemberton Valley View

Pemberton Valley View

Finally we reached the trail head. This is were the hike got fun with better terrain, a trail instead of a road, and the bugs easing off.

Official Trail Start

Official Trail Start

The trail is very nice with some great views. The grade is much easier than the forestry road that proceeded it (thankfully!). When we got to the lake we saw a new cabin that had just started being built 3 weeks earlier. The supplies had to be flown in by helicopter. By the time this is posted, it should be ready for people to use!

The new Cabin

The new Cabin

Camp sites are located close to the cabin and around the lake. When we arrived there were very few campers and lots of privacy.

Campsite at Tenquille Lake

Campsite

The next day we just took it easy and enjoyed the amazing scenery.

Tenquille Lake

Tenquille Lake

Lupins in the alpine meadows

Lupins in the alpine meadows

Fishing at Tenquille Lake

Fishing at Tenquille Lake

A view of the alpine meadow with mountains in the background

The beauty of Tenquille's alpine meadows

Tenquille Lake at dusk

Tenquille Lake at Dusk

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and on day 3 we hiked our way back down.

The meadows on the hike back

The meadows on the hike back

I don’t think these pictures give the location justice. I recommend you go see it for yourself.