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I have returned from the Cape Scott Hike. It’s a long way to drive for a hike (444km/275miles). One end of Vancouver Island to the other. Weather was a mixed bag of sun and rain. We left Victoria at 9 in the morning and arrived at the trailhead around 6pm Sat. Aug 9. We camped out in the back of my truck for the night though there are two small camp grounds near by (one free and a private one).
Sunday morning (Sun Aug 10), we were up early, and on the trail by 8am. There is a dedicated well worn trail to follow.
First part of the trail is very nice. Don’t be deceived by this. About a 1.5 km from the trail head the trail starts to show its true colours. All of the trails we hiked have lots of cris-crossed roots, courderoy road (small logs laid across the trail for trail stability), board walk, and two of the trails had plank roads. Sounds great until they get wet (read slippery).
We hiked to Nels Bight, a 6 hour/ 16.8km (18km on topo map) rated hike while taking in local historical areas. Did I say I hate courderoy road? This is a beautiful beach with an outhouse, food cache, and fresh water(?) The water was brown in colour and tasted like a shoe repair shop smells like (Tannin flavored groundwater). We both filtered and or boiled the water. Flavor did not change. The food cache made of metal was very rusty, looks like it could be replaced. This is also the location of the ranger cabin for the area. The area along the route is very nice with forest, meadows, and old fields. There is not a lot of elevation change along the trail. Weather co-operated for us.
Nels Bight is a beautiful 2.5 km long sandy curving beach that when we were there gentle waves lapped at the shore. This beach reminded me of the beaches I have seen in Mexico.
Monday Morning (Aug 11). We awoke, fed, and packed for a day hike to the Cape Scott Light House. Aug 11) a 7km hike one way. We followed the trail from the beach through the forested areas, along a couple of beaches and passed a sand dune area. The trail here was much the same as the day before, courderoy road, criss-crossed roots, mud, and plank road. Did I say I hate mud?
Much of this area is and has historically significant features present such as the Cedar Plank Road (built by the Royal Canadian Signal Corps during WW 11). The attempts at stabilizing the Sand Dunes for farming by the original pioneers. As well as the uses by the native Indians first in the area.
As we approached the Light House area, we noticed a message board with a message for my brother-in-law’s name on it. (We had married two sisters of the same family) We took the notice to the Chief Light House Keeper as requested. We found out that our Father-in-Law had passed away. The Chief Keeper helped us pass a message to our wives. I am sure that this is not a normal process or thing hikers can expect. My brother-in-law’s father is a retired Coast Guard Technician and had passed the message through to the Light House for us (Old Boys network). For a more detailed account see the Incident Section.
With Lunch in our bellies and a few pics taken, we returned to our camp where we again received notice of our father-in-law.
Tuesday (Aug 12). We awoke fed and packed for another day trip to Nissen Bight. About 7km 1 way. We got to see some more local artifacts, as well as some abandoned barges. This beach is a little difficult to find as the trail leads right to a small rock beach called Fisherman Cove. The main beach is of to the right a short way and is a sand filled beach. This Beach area can be used for camping as well. This area can also be used as a way point for the new North Coast Trail.
Wed. (Aug 13). We awoke, fed, and packed to return home at 6am. By 8am we were on the trail out. We hit the parking lot at 2pm. 3pm we left the parking lot for home at the other end of the Island. We stopped of at the Shoe Tree. A local custom that hikers could leave behind a worn out shoe of some kind attached to a tree. We saw hiking boots, runners, and a ski boot. I left behind a pair of worn out water shoes. At 10pm I dropped of my brother-in-law at his house.
Food was home dehydrated eggs, spaghetti sauce, as well as a home made ground beef stew. We also packed in pancake mix, some oranges, packaged potato mix, cookies, as well as a small pound cake. We ate well.
Wild life seen: 10 Black Bear, a flock of Seagulls around several hundred in number, many Raven, 1 Bald Eagle. And last but not least 3 little pigs. I kid you not, we saw three large boar size pigs that had escaped from a local farm.
If you go to this place stop and talk with the park attendants as they don’t have much contact with most of the hikers. They like to have fun too.
We had one day to strip down, clean, and put away our camp gear before we flew of to Saskatchewan for a funeral. Outside of the notice we had a great time, weather was great and I would think of returning at another date. Those of you who wish to learn more about Cape Scott you can check out the Port Alice Cape Scott website, or go to the BC Parks Website and look up the Cape Scott Provincial Park. Web sights below.