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West Coast Trail – Day 4

Cribs Creek to Walbran Creek (11.5 km)
It Rained last night and the sand was everywhere. I did not get all the sand from Cribs Creek beach out of my camera until after the trip. It was also another light breakfast day, but I learned my lesson and ate several energy bars before we left.

We hiked on some great shelf today. I love shelf hiking. We also saw more sea lions, 2 eagles and more cormorants. Not a bad wild life day. The route had some wonderful sea stacks and the second light house on the trail at Carmanah Point.

Carmanah Point Lighthouse

West Coast Trail - Carmanah Point Lighthouse

Sea Lions getting hit by a wave

Sea Lions getting hit by a wave... which they seem to enjoy

Sea Stacks

Sea Stacks - Unfortunately I do not have a picture which does them justice.

We stopped at Chez Monique’s for breakfast/lunch around 9:00 am. Chez Monique’s is a little burger stand on an Indian Reserve. Monique who runs the stand is married to Peter whose ancestral land is where the burger stand is. Monique was not at the stand but at school studying horticulture so they can grow their own vegetables instead of bringing them in. Not bad for a couple in their 70’s. I split a bacon, mushroom, cheddar burger and a red snapper burger with another backpacker. Both were good but the bacon mushroom cheddar was better. I also took advantage of this occasion to buy a coke, snickers bar and a large muffin. Today was a good day for food.

Chez Monique's Menu

Chez Monique's Menu

The group at Chez Monique's

The group at Chez Monique's

Fantastic Looking (and tasting!) burgers

Fantastic looking (and tasting!) burgers

The view of the Carmanah Point Lighthouse after Chez Monique's

The view of the Carmanah Point Lighthouse after Chez Monique's

A member of our group turtled on this section of the trail. Turteling is where you fall backward onto your back, but because of the weight of the backpack you can’t get up unless you roll over like a turtle. I have to apologize for the lack of video or photos of this most hilarious event.

The long backpacker

I don't have a picture of anybody turteling so here is another picture I like from that day.

We decided to stop at Walbran and extend our trip to 7 nights from the original 6. This made for more relaxing and enjoyable days. It also allowed us to get the Walbran resort as we were at the camp site so early (roughly 1:00 pm). This gave us time to have a nice fire, play some cards and hang up our gear to dry from previous wet night.

Crossing Walbran Creek

Before getting to camp you must wade across Walbran Creek. When the water is higher you will be forced to use the cable car that is upstream.

The Walbran Resort Sign

Not too many camping spots come with a shelter already built.

Walbran Creek Reflection

Sometimes the water was just still enough on Walbran Creek to get amazing reflections.

Seagulls gly by Walbran Creek

There were lots of seagulls on the trail today. They are not as used to humans as the ones in the city which means they will take flight if you get close.

A look at the Walbran resort campsite

The Walbran resort in all its glory

Sunset at Walbran Creek

The sky tried to stay clear, which gave us a brief moment of colour at sunset.

Sunset at Walbran Creek Beach

Another view of the sunset at Walbran Creek

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West Coast Trail – Day 3

Tsusiat Falls to Cribs Creek (14.5 km)
Day 3 was an early start as we wanted to do a lot of distance and the terrain is starting to get more difficult. Our alarms went off at 5:30 am.

West Coast Trail - Tsusiat Falls Camp

Here we are packing up with Tsusiat Falls in the background

We just ate a few snacks breakfast as we knew we would be hitting Nitinat Narrows early and we would purchase fresh crab. The first part of the hike was on the beach and was a lot of fun before I ran out of energy.

A hole in the rock allowing us to pass at low tide what would normally be an impassible headland

A hole in the rock allowing us to pass at low tide what would normally be an impassible headland

Hole in the rock

Another view from the other side of the hole in the rock

We made it to Nitinat narrows and were the first group that day to ride the ferry across the narrows. After the ferry ride we ordered crab for early lunch/breakfast. Apparently this is the only place in the world to have fresh water dungeness crab in the world.

A sign telling us we are entering an Indian Reserve

On our way to the narrows a sign indicates we have entered an Indian Reserve

The Ferry Operator Checks Our Passes

At Nitinat Narrows the ferry operator checks our permits before we cross.

The crab shack where the ferry takes us.

The other side of Nitinat narrows has the crab shack.

My breakfast crab

Breakfast is served.

Unfortunately the last 10 km of the day felt long. Crab takes a long time to eat and between the light breakfast and the crab I did not have enough energy. It is too bad as I wish I felt better to enjoy the fantastic cliffs we were walking along overlooking the rugged coastline and beaches.

Cliff Side View

A cliff side view of the fantastic coast line.

A perfect untouched beach

We were high on the cliff when we passed this beach, but it looked like a great camping site... if you could get to it.

Along the way we saw lots of warnings about resident bears, past closed campgrounds because of said bears and saw a patrol cabin with an electrified fence around it because of, you guessed it, bears. I was so tired and I am glad I took the pictures or I would of forgotten that we even passed by these locations.

The First of Many Bear Signs

The first of many bear signs

A Patrol Cabin with an electrified fence

The second patrol cabin we see in our journey, this one with an electrified fence.

Crazy Trees

I wish there were more trees that grew like this.

Cool looking mushroom

I wonder if it is edible?

A Garter Snake

A garter snake.

We got in to Cribs Creek which is a unique beach. It has sea lions off the coast and large rock shelves that would fill up with water when the waves hit and have little water falls come off of it. This beach also has the finest sand of all the beaches we stayed at. It gets everywhere because it was wet, however it was comfortable to walk on.

Mini waterfalls

Some of the mini waterfalls

I have been defeated

This is why you should always eat a good breakfast backpacking. Even if you are going to eat crab 2 hours later.

Day 3 was a blur because of a lack of food for me, but still enjoyable.

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West Coast Trail – Day 2

Tsocowis Creek to Tsusiat Falls (10 km)
As we packed up camp the group we camped with on Day 1 gave Jayson a bottle of fuel they found. A man named Joe lost it and asked them if they found it to send the bottle of fuel towards him. We took the bottle and I have to admit I thought we would never find Joe.

We walked on a lot of shelf today. I think walking on the shelf was my favourite type of hiking of the whole trip!

West Coast Trail - Stream

The cool part of the West Coast Trail is you constantly see beautiful nature all the time. This was just past Tscowis camp.

West Coast Trail - Shelf Walking

Walking on the shelf is fun. You can do it fast and there is lots of marine life along the way to see.

Around Valancia Bluffs (km 18) we saw an abandoned grader and donkey engine on the trail. I assume they were used to maintain the trail in the past. I also saw a boiler from a ship that was in the sea around Trestle Creek (km 20) and an anchor on the beach.

West Coast Trail - Anchor

The part I wondered is how did this insanely heavy anchor get this far up on the shore?

West Coast Trail - Donkey Engine

The old donkey engine which nature is slowly eroding.

West Coast Trail - Grader

I am assuming this grader is what the donkey engine used to pull to maintain this stretch of trail.

We also had to use our first cable car at Klanawa River (km 22) which was a blast!

West Coast Trail - Cable Car

Cable car's are nice change to the standard hiking.

When we got to camp we swam under Tsusiat falls. The water was cold but it was refreshing.

West Coast Trail - Swim at Tsusiat Falls

When you see a waterfall, you have to swim under it!

When we got to our campsite we found some people had buried their fire rather than putting it out. The still smoldering fire let us get a nice fire going real quickly. Unfortunately it started raining and we did our best to build a make shift shelter with the fire.

West Coast Trail - Setting up camp at Tsusiat Falls

Fortunately we were able to set up camp before the rain started.

We also found Joe who was camping at Tsusiat falls and were able to return his fuel. The entrance to the outhouses and bear caches at Tsusiat camp are behind 4-5 feet of piled up logs. This makes for an interesting adventure in the middle of the night 🙂

West Coast Trail - Sun Rays

We didn't get a sunset this night with the clouds rolling in, but the scenary was almost as spectacular.

I know all this post seems disjointed, but it was that kind of day, lots of random stuff with the only connection being it was on the trail 🙂

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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


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.

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Adding a Sense of Movement to Avaition photos

Aviation photos can be tricky. If you put your camera onto a sports mode (if you have it) and take a picture of a plane in the sky you can end up with a photo of an airplane hanging in the middle of a blue sky. It almost looks like a model and not a real photo.

Hanging Aircraft

The interstate cadet in this photo just looks like it hanging by strings

One way to get around this is to try and use some techniques to give the plane some movement. In the photo below I have slowed the shutter speed down to make the props be a little blurry. This adds some movement into the picture. In this case the aircraft also takes up more of the frame which helps to make it more interesting when the background is only sky.

Liberator with blurred propeller blades

The blurred propellers adds some movement to this photo.

Another way to add movement is to add a background with more than just sky to give it context. In this picture we can see the blurred props, but also the mountains emphasize the turn, making the movement of the aircraft’s turn stand out. The aircraft is also photographed from the front. In general there is a greater sense of movement when looking towards the front of the plane rather than the side or from the rear.

Liberator head on

The mountains in the background provide a static reference for the airplanes attitude to emphasize the turn

Placement in the frame can also add a sense of movement. People often interpret diagonal lines with a sense of movement. As an illustration below I have a plane at an airshow with smoke on. The smoke starts in the corner of the frame as the plane moves towards the centre. This provides a sense of movement as the viewer of the photo traces the plane and smoke diagonally with their eyes creating the sense of movement.

Diagonal Aviation Example

Gene Soucy's aircraft dives out of the corner of the frame to give a sense of movement

A final technique is to use panning. In this technique the shutter speed must be slow. Pan with the aircraft in your viewfinder/LCD and click the shutter button. When you click the shutter button make sure you keep moving the camera following the aircraft until the pictures has finished being taken. This can create a photo with a sharp aircraft but the background being blurred giving a sense of speed.

Panning Aviation Example

The blurred background caused by the panning technique give a sense of speed to the Cessna Citation

As with all photography, these are guidelines and sometimes the exact opposite can produce a stunning photo. However these are some good tools to use to create more dynamic aviation photos.