WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013
Cheakamus Lake in Garibaldi Park - Camping in June
Cheakamus Lake in Garibaldi Park is one of the best places for early summer camping in Whistler. The snow usually melts from the trail sometime in May and this year most of the snow was gone earlier than usual. Such an easy hike or biking trail conveniently close to Whistler.. Just 35 minutes from Whistler Village and we were at the parking lot at the Cheakamus Lake trailhead. We did bomb through the horribly potholed 10 or so kilometre logging road pretty quickly. If you have a car or non 4x4 vehicle you can make it, but slow going for sure. As usual in June there are few people on the trail. Just one runner, two bikers and no hikers but us. A lucky break in the weather brought out the the sun all day and the lake seemed to glow in that unnaturally looking blue that I can never seem to get used to. Amazing turquoise water, deep green forest and beautiful blue sky. The only sound is the deep and distant sound of water flowing past as Cheakamus Lake becomes Cheakamus River. The only movement is the occasional fish jumping in the distance. Cheakamus Lake is often described as a great lake for fishing, but two attempts at fly fishing here last year come up with nothing. Later this week the fish stocking begins in the smaller Whistler lakes. Cheakamus doesn't get stocked with fish, but Lost Lake usually gets 1000 fish and Alta Lake gets 750 or so every year. You don't need much skill to catch fish in those well stocked Whistler lakes, but this wild and huge lake surely takes a lot of effort and technique to be successful. With the first campsite at 3k was empty and with lots of sun we stayed there and didn't bother continuing to the nicer campsites at 3-4k further along the trail. Heading up to Helm Creek and Corrie Lake next week. Located across from where we sat on Cheakamus Lake. Corrie Lake is hidden in the trees far across and above us. A few patches of snow way up there but hopefully little to contend with on the trail. Beyond Helm Creek and Corrie Lake we will continue on to Panorama Ridge and Black Tusk. About 15k from where we sit, the route from this side of Garibaldi Park splits off from the Cheakamus Lake trail about 1.5k from the trailhead.
SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
The Meager Mudslide From 2010 Is Still Very Visible
The huge mudslide near Meager Creek Hot Springs back in 2010 looks like it happened weeks ago. Very few plants grow in the sandy dirt piles that scatter the landscape for several kilometres around the Upper Lillooet River near Meager. Dead and still dying trees that withstood the debris flow look barely alive. Hundreds lay in the wasteland and hundreds still stand. Most are greying and dead while some have bits of green still alive on their upper branches. For a wasteland the place is unexpectedly beautiful. Nothing seems where it should be. Oddly unnatural to see a whole valley, literally blasted away by water and debris and not quickly recovering. In BC everything seems to grow fast and green. In this area, only the occasional purple flower pokes out of the dead, grey, sandy ground.
It makes quite a surreal place to hike. And you can really wander for hours around here. The Upper Lillooet River winds through the chaotic terrain. Hiking along the shore you find bizarre rocks produced from the geologically active Mt Meager. Strange piles of mangled trees everywhere. And looking up the valley, destroyed landscape.
Meager Creek Hot Springs is still accessible, but you have to cross the Upper Lillooet River. It's usually quite tame and slow, but in the spring time the level rises and it moves faster. After this crossing, there is a 7k hike to the springs. An easy alternative to Meager Creek Hot Springs is Keyhole Hot Springs, just 7k up the logging road.
SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 2012
Cute Bear Cubs and Their Big Mom Lurking in Whistler
Amazingly cute bear cubs visited our backyard this morning.
There seem to be an extraordinary number of bears around already this year. Last week I saw two full grown bears wandering around together. So unusual to see two grown bears wandering around together.. and such different colours. In the vicinity of Whistler Golf Course there must be no less than 5 hanging around most of
the summer. It's unusual, it seems this year, to go on the Valley Trail around the Whistler Golf Course and not see a bear. But that seems the norm in Whistler this year. With so much forest throughout Whistler, bears surely take comfort in lurking in the shadows in the midst of so many people so close. I learned something the other day. The all to often encountering a bear on the Valley Trail can be inconvenient. If the bear doesn't scare off the trail by shouting or gesturing, try walking into the brush at the edge of the trail. The crunching sound caused by walking on the twigs and underbrush at the edge of the trail seems to spook bears into rushing quickly into the trees. Maybe the Whistler bears are used to people, but they still scare easily from foot crunching sounds they hear. Worth a try anyway.
MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2012
Keyhole Hot Springs (aka Pebble Creek) - Spectacular
The amazing Keyhole Hot Springs (sometimes called Pebble Creek Hot Springs) are only 1.5 hours from Whistler. Located west of Pemberton in a very geologically active part of BC. An area along the chaotically beautiful Upper Lillooet River about 100 metres long contains several hot spring tubs. Ranging from the luxurious, cemented into the side of a cliff, hanging at the edge of the river. To the less luxurious, but also amazing sand pools where the hot water bubbles from underneath you as you relax. You can dig these as large or as small as you wish and have to cool them down with river water from time to time as the temperatures rise.
Meager Creek Hot Springs are just a few kilometres before Keyhole Hot Springs, and still there and usable, however the giant bridge was destroyed in 2010 when the massive mudslide swept it away in moments. The $900,000 scrounged together over years of squabbling and negotiating to build it crashed through the valley below. This extraordinary bad timing and luck will almost certainly ensure that a new bridge will never be built. Not just because of the massive cost, but also the massive activity under the ground here. You can still get to Meager, but you have to walk there, parking and hiking from where the bridge used to be. The river here spreads through the valley considerable, so even when the water is high it may only be two feet deep, so very manageable. For a hot springs enthusiast, this is a small barrier, though if you do you are risking a very possible and sudden death.
Catastrophic mudslides can and do strike often here. Roughly one a decade. Meager Creek Hot Springs are in the wake of these slides, however, Keyhole Hot Springs is not. It is shielded from the path of these mud slides by a massive wall of rock laid down by the massive eruption of Plinth Peak in 410BCE. Plinth Peak is visible as you lay in the Keyhole Hot Springs and this wall of rock lays across the river valley from you, towering high above. Bring binoculars if you go and look at it closely and you will spot dark spots. These are trees and parts of trees eroding out of the rock face, frozen in time on that day 24 centuries ago.
What a spectacular place... and there is a beautiful, huge campsite too. There are two more hot springs in the opposite direction of Pemberton. These are Skookumchuck Hot Springs (2 hours from Whistler), and Sloquet Hot Springs (3 hours from Whistler). Skookumchuck Hot Springs is a collection of hot tubs of the kind you would see at someones house that collect hot spring water. It is a shabby looking hot springs, but somehow has a beautiful charm to it. Well worth a visit, at least if on the way to the beautiful Sloquet Hot Springs.
SATURDAY, JUNE 2, 2012
Lost Lake Fishing
Lost lake is one of the easiest places around to catch a fish. Standing on one of the several little floating islands, you see them jumping in every direction, almost constantly. You would swear that they must stock the lake, but they haven't. They haven't yet this year that is. In a couple weeks, usually the third week in June the lakes around Whistler are stocked with about 500 rainbow trout each. Amazing. They are jumping everywhere and they haven't even stocked it yet this year.
They are pretty easy to catch, it seems. Throw a fly in where they are jumping and within a minute or two you get a bite. Even if they didn't bite, it wouldn't really matter. The scenery is sensational. Distant, snowy Blackcomb mountain towers just over the bright green trees. And the lake is usually smooth as glass, reflecting the world above almost perfectly.
Lost Lake is always busy but mostly on the main beach and the big, clothing optional pier. The trails around the lake are quite busy as well and if you walk or bike them on the way to the lake you often see a bear lurking in the trees. Usually, it seems, being barked at by a tiny dog.
SUNDAY, MAY 6, 2012
The Monstrously Famous Hemloft in Whistler
The Hemloft shot into fame recently in Whistler. Constructed in the wilderness of Whistler by what can only be described as a super nice guy with a sense of adventure that is impossible to comprehend. Everything about this masterpiece is bewildering. From it's location. Hidden, yet in the middle of so much. You wouldn't expect something so grand, so understated, so graceful, in a rustic forest. It stands out as if it represents so much. Hidden in the midst of multi million dollar mansions it counts as a powerful contrast to at once seems so wrong with the world and so right. Jockeying for position, these magnificent houses rise on prime Whistler real estate, only to be overshadowed by this small, yet psychologically imposing spectacle of some forgotten true meaning of happiness.
Approaching the Hemloft, you scramble up and through deep rainforest just metres from your car. Looking back you can't even see the road you just left. The trees, alive and dead block your view. Closing the world you see into another world, sheltered from the rest. It was an accident that the creator of the Hemloft built here. He spotted a perfect grove of trees as he put it. But he looked for months. The accident landed his creation in the midst of mansions. On Crown Land as they call it. Not owned by anyone. We all own it, in other words. Canada. Canadians. You of course can't just build on land like this. But he did. Many people do in fact. Build little places like this, but of course not like this. This is exceptional.
If you can find it. Try walking toward it, or rather where you think it might be, and think of what it took to bring what was to become this place.. here. It's staggering. The trail, if you want to call it that. Is barely there. Certainly six months of the year it isn't. But, despite the massive internet knowledge, the trail is barely visible. This is, in every sense of the word, hidden.
Why, in this neighbourhood of millionaire excess should this creation stand as something?
Because it represents, in some abstract and real way.
Because it does. Because it has 94000 Facebook fans. Because the comments on the creator's site are passionate and thought out. Because it created something out of nothing. It grew out of passion. To create. To make something that wasn't there and have it be so beautiful as to create a following that is incredible. Only weeks ago, no one knew of this place. Now, nearly a hundred thousand people feel passionate about it. About this place that was for so long overlooked.
You do wonder. How many people have come to Whistler, taken this drive, and missed this place. Everyone missed this place. Except one person. He saw it. And now, we see it too.
In this world of unrest and misplacement, this is a contradictory shrine to something simple. He dragged this place into being. One piece at a time. Over weeks, then months, then years. Only to, as we see from the video online. To share a moment. A day. A special set of days. A safety. A longing for a place to sleep. He found it day after day. Then built a home for that way of thinking. It came out of inspiration and determination. Not to mention a skill developed of a breathtaking depth.
We look on it with easy eyes. We took some time to Google the details, then we pieced it together. The time we took, and the effort, was little in comparison to what he took to create this. When we look at one of the idols of modern time, we only see them as they are now. Not the pain of their foundation. This is what the Hemloft teaches us. Anything is possible. And anything can happen. And in this world, anything happens all the time. This Hemloft is a gift to our imagination. The impossible is possible.
If you don't fit this million dollar world, you can still outshine them if you want to. And if you don't. You can still just find a grove somewhere and build. And live. It would be presumptuous to say that this world is worth more than any other world, or million dollar house around. But it is. In the fundamental worth of reality, it is. Over 94,000 Facebook likes count as something in this world. Just as democracy in this world is founded on democracy. So the future of this cute and meaningful monument is a symbol of the future of our world. We recently watched the Arab spring rise out of Facebook into something worldwide. So should we see this little tree house in Whistler become a hallmark of what is right in the world.
Leave it beautiful as it is. 94,000 love it the way it is. And that number is counting.
MONDAY, MAR 12, 2012
The Amazing Skookumchuck Hot Springs
Hard to believe that they are open year round and the campsite is used as well... even in the winter snow. Just two hours drive north of Whistler.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2012
Elfin Lakes/Diamond Head Snowshoeing in Garibaldi Park, Squamish
The Elfin Lakes/Diamond Head trail in Squamish is an amazing place to snowshoe. The trail is easy to follow, not too steep, and after the first 5k the views are phenomenal. And astonishingly, amazingly, there are two luxurious huts. One after 5k is called the Red Heather Hut and is a day use only, warming hut. Which means it is a cute little house in a snowy paradise with large windows, a fantastic wood stove and stacks of ready cut wood to fill it with. This may not seem luxurious, but in the cold mountains of Garibaldi Park in Squamish, a little house with a wood stove is paradise.
From the Red Heather Hut to the Elfin Lakes Hut is a further 6k, and constantly beautiful. The views are incredible because the trail runs along a sharp ridge so you often have views both left and right. In the early morning or evening light this makes for quite an amazing contrast in light and colours reflecting off the mountains all around.
The Elfin Lakes Hut is quite a thing as well. Buried in a few metres of snow, you have to descend snowy stairs as if walking into a snow cave. Once inside two remarkable things hit you. First the warmth, the thing is heated... shocking. Second the size. This half buried hut looks small from the outside, but once inside you marvel at the hugeness of it all. Sinks, large tables, windows everywhere... and a set of stairs going up to another floor above. The upstairs is wall to wall bunk beds. Unbelievable cozy and tidy. The whole interior has a wonderful ski lodge feel. After I went back downstairs with the bouncing walk of a kid in a new tree fort, still amazed at this hut in the mountains, I noticed two modern timer dials on one wall. Turning one a bit sheepishly and brightness filled the place. There are lights. Unbelievable. The Elfin Lakes Hut has power. Unbelievable.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2012
Bushwhacking to Mount Currie Soon To Be A Thing of the Past
It seems the awful, bushwhacking route to the spectacular Mount Currie in Pemberton is well on it's way to becoming a proper trail. As reported this week in the Whistler Question newspaper, Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy has some forward thinking aspirations to enhance hiking in the region to encourage tourism. A fantastic idea that is well overdue. With the extraordinary increase in hiking popularity in Squamish and Whistler in the recent years, and Mount Currie's unquestionable beauty, the cost to construct the trail hopefully will be well spent.
The future potential of this trail is quite exciting. Better facilitating the Mount Currie to Wedgemount Lake route, which is virtually unknown except in a few back-country skier circles. One discouraging factor to this has always been the lack of clear route to Mount Currie. With this overcome though, the three day mountain and glacier spectacular from one to the other becomes that much more enticing.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2012
Rainbow Falls Snowshoeing in Whistler
Rainbow Falls are amazing to see in the winter. Just steps from the parking lot and you are engulfed in snow. The trees are heavy with it and the river, in parts completely covered with it. The falls are beautiful with a massive frozen overhang and ice everywhere. It's so easy to snowshoe to them as it's a short, though beautiful, half kilometre walk in the woods. This is an easily accessible and convenient place to snowshoe in Whistler.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22, 2012
Whistler's Amazing Fire and Ice Show
Every Sunday in the winter months Whistler puts on and amazing and amazingly free show at the base of Whistler in Whistler Village.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2012
Snowshoeing to the Whistler Train Wreck in Whistler
Mid winter and -15c the Whistler Train Wreck is bright with snow. Normally a dark place even on a sunny day, with snow everywhere the colours are brighter and the amazing paintings seem so much more alive. The Cheakamus River is very different as well. Though a lot less water flowing through, there are magnificent ice formations where in the summer there are massive, crashing falls. Such a peaceful place too. Not a footprint or sound except the background river flowing. It's a bit tricky to find the train wreck in the winter but just look for the red post on the right of the tracks. It's about 1 metre high and opposite the tracks (walk 10 metres then look left), on the left there is a slight opening in the trees. This post is about 500 metres from the highway underpass.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2012
Joffre Lakes Snowshoeing
Joffre Lakes is a wonderful place. Breathtaking with its amazing turquoise lakes in the summer and in the winter an equally breathtaking sea of white. Though it takes a bit longer on snowshoes to get to the beautiful third lake of the Joffre three lakes. In the summer expect to hike the 5.5k to the third lake in about 1.5 hours, on snowshoes it might take 3 hours. The return times are much shorter though. 1 hour in the summer and under 2 hours in the snow.
Snowshoeing is easy and relaxing to Joffre Lakes. There is no avalanche danger if you keep to the trail and do not continue past the third lake. The only danger is losing the trail (mainly on the way back to your car). I've never snowshoed Joffre Lakes without seeing an easily visible trail of ski or snowshoe tracks in the snow however, the days are short in the winter and when the light fades the ski/snowshoe tracks you easily followed on the way up become harder to discern. This is a bit worrying though the contours of the land push you toward the first lake near the parking lot. To be safe you should always have a map or gps and headlight with you in the winter and be extra cautious about leaving early and returning early to get lots of light on the trail.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2012
Whistler Village at 5am
Lurking in the holiday-land in the early hours. Christmas runs all winter in Whistler Village.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011
Snowshoeing in December - Cheakamus River
Cheakamus River, a short drive south of Whistler is one of the most accessible, convenient and beautiful places to snowshoe in Whistler. Drive south of Whistler Village for 8k. At the Function Junction lights, turn left. About 100 metres ahead you will see a sign on your left directing you to Cheakamus Lake. In the winter this road is unplowed, so you will need to park near this sign. From your parking spot walk a few metres up the unplowed road toward Cheakamus Lake. You should see a trail go toward the river on your right after a minute or two. Walk along the river until you reach the suspension bridge (about 2k), cross then snowshoe back on the other side of the river until you reach your car again.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2011
Snowshoeing in Vancouver - Dog Mountain
Dog Mountain is a beautiful, short and fun hike or snowshoe trek close to Vancouver and starting from the parking lot of Seymour Mountain. Just 2.2k gets you from your car to breathtaking views of the big city below. It's fairly popular, so even in the depths of winter you will find the trail in the snow well packed down and easily followed. It is also a favourite evening hike to catch the sun setting over Vancouver. Dog Mountain is a fantastic trek partly because of the drive to the trailhead. The trailhead is located at the far end of the main parking lot to Mount Seymour Ski Resort.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2011
Hiking in Vancouver - Lighthouse Park
Lighthouse Park is an extraordinarily little know piece of paradise, so close to to Vancouver as to see its tall buildings, yet immersed into a dramatically beautiful coastal rainforest. A wonderful network of trails winds throughout massive Douglas-fir trees and Western Red Cedars as well as golden Arbutus trees stretching toward the ocean. There are so many great aspects of this hike. The first is the beautiful drive to get there. Marine Drive spectacularly hugs the rugged and steep coast of West Vancouver.
Another is the wonderful variation of trails. They stretch out in several directions in the thick forest, each leading to breathtaking ocean viewpoints. Another is the variety of wildlife. Along with the majestic trees there are the occasional bald eagles, oystercatchers, seagulls, shore crabs, hermit crabs and starfish, among quite a lot else. Another is the seemingly endless array of picnic tables and even better, rock outcrops at the edge of the Georgia Strait and Pacific Ocean beyond.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2011
Snowshoeing in November - Rainbow Park
Alta Lake is located close to Whistler Village and easily accessible via the Valley Trail. From Rainbow Park, Whistler and Blackcomb look amazing across the lake.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2011
The Lions Hike - In Between Vancouver and Squamish
The Lions or Twin Sisters lie in North Vancouver, about an hours drive from downtown Vancouver. The two distinct, rocky peaks are visible from downtown Vancouver. The view from the top is spectacular. Howe Sound stretches out into the blue distance. A tough but wonderful hike.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2011
Parkhurst Ghost Town In Whistler
Parkhurst was a little thriving logging community decades ago. Long abandoned, now it's a surreal little overgrown world that feels a million miles from anywhere. To get to it you can either hike in from near the Wedgemount Lake turnoff from the highway, or walk from Whistler Village along the railroad tracks beside Green Lake, or canoe in from across Green Lake. This time we canoed in from across the lake.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011
Victoria's Beautiful Inner Harbour!
is centred around it's vibrant and amazingly beautiful Inner Harbour. The Parliament Buildings, the beautiful and historic Empress Hotel, the amazing BC Museum, Undersea Gardens and of course the wonderfully designed promenade walk.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2011
Joffre Lakes An Amazing Hike to Turquoise Lakes
Joffre Lakes is a beautiful one hour and twenty minute drive north of Whistler. Though a bit steep in some areas, the trail is pretty easy and short at 5.5k to the third and most spectacular lake.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2011
Ancient Cedars Hike in Whistler
Ancient Cedars, a cute little thousand year old cedar forest, a short drive from Whistler Village. There are other wonderful giant cedars in Whistler, quick and easy to find. has impressive giant cedars and the Valley Trail that runs past the Whistler Golf Course near the Village has an unexpectedly spectacular little grove. But Ancient Cedars is far more impressive and easily worth the drive and short hike.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2011
Hike to Nairn Falls North of Whistler
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2011
Wedgemount Lake - Hike to the Wedge-Weart Col
Wedgemount Lake is one of the most spectacular hikes in Garibaldi Park. Though it’s a relentlessly exhausting, steep hike, it is mercifully short at only 7km. The lake itself is a magnificent destination for a day hike or spectacular overnight amongst the dazzling mountain peaks and stars. Wedge mountain is the massive wedge shaped mountain next to Blackcomb mountain. Visible from almost everywhere in Whistler and the tallest peak in the entire Garibaldi Range.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2011
The Cheakamus River & Whistler Train Wreck Art Exhibit
Decades ago a train derailed south of Whistler. The cost to clean up the mess was deemed too high, so seven train cars were left scattered next to the Cheakamus River. As it turns out, time and local effort has transformed this mess into a wonderful work of art, an extraordinary bike park, and a great place to hike.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20, 2011
Ring and Conflict Lakes
Ring Lake is a fantastically beautiful and wonderfully remote lake. The 10k hike takes you through a beautiful forest of cedars then to a spectacular meadow filled with ponds and ringed with distant, enormous mountains. Then along a Lord of the Rings like valley, rising abruptly to a drastically steep final ascent to a mountain paradise lake. The 5k hike to Conflict Lake is quite relaxed and easy as you don't gain any significant elevation. The 5k from Conflict to Ring Lake is very steep, and though marked well with flagging tape and cairns, very difficult to follow.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 9, 2011
Wedgemount Lake - Still Snow in August!
SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011
The Peak Chair - Still Too Much Snow to Hike the High Note Trail!
Another year of record breaking snowfall in Whistler means that this much snow is still around at the end of July!
TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2011
Sloquet Hot Springs - Amazing!
Sloquet is wonderfully designed, as it were, though randomly by nature. The large, spread out campsite lies a short walk from the springs. You have to follow a dark and quickly descending trail toward an enormous, crashing river. As you near, you can smell the unusual, but kind of nice hot springs smell, and you see steam rising all around you, some steam rising, bizarrely, out of the grass clearing on the edge of the river. On your left a rising cliff, on your right the crashing river. The path narrows and steepens. Finally, you come to a large fallen tree which the trail seems to run to. So huge though as to not worry you walking the length of. Then, there it is. The massive fallen tree flanks it. Nestled between the tree and a cliff, in a large triangular area, with the river forming the third side are the Sloquet Hot Springs.
SUNDAY, JUNE 5, 2011
Port Renfrew's Avatar Grove and Canada's Gnarliest Tree
Avatar Grove and the Canada's gnarliest tree is absolutely spectacular. The wonderful little town of Port Renfrew, two hours north of Victoria is known for it's logging, amazing fishing and home of one of the trailheads to the world renowned West Coast Trail, is now reworking it's image to include this fantastic wonder. Dubbed Canada's gnarliest tree this mammoth cedar will surely leap from the unknown to the feature of millions of tourist photos in the coming months and years.
SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 2011
Vancouver Island's Amazing West Coast Trail
The West Coast Trail is incredible. Everything about it is amazing. From its wildly, incomprehensibly enormous trees to it's endless jaw dropping views. And it's tough. Very tough. It is a trail that shouldn't exist. Trails always form out of the easiest route worn down over the years. This trail was formed out of necessity. And the route is the only route. Hemmed in by steep cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other, the route evolved where it shouldn't have. Always wet, always up and down, thousands of creeks and canyons. Even with all the construction of suspension bridges and ladders it's brutal. And yearly, winter storms blast down impossibly enormous trees.
It's difficulty can be measured by its relatively short distance of 75km yet it takes 4-7 days to complete. This is for two wonderful, spectacular and telling reasons. First it is a jigsaw of a trail, up and down over endless chasms tangled with rainforest. It just takes a long time to snake through. The second reason is just too good to be true. It's so beautiful. Wildly beautiful. And this is a phenomenon that the West Coast Trail is alive with. It's unbelievably beautiful at every glance. Everywhere you look. This alone would secure this hike as one of the worlds best. But there is another thing that combined with its beauty, makes it what it is. The West Coast Trail. This is a phenomenon that is seldom understood or explainable, but I'll try here. It's tough. The trail is brutal. It's invariably raining. So you are always wet. This makes you soggy and crabby. Tired and exhausted. The treacherous trail in this wet is muddy, slippery and requires your full attention at every step. This mesmerizes you as you hike. You focus completely on your next step and your mind relaxes into a meditative state. This is when it happens. You look up, catch a glance of what's around you. And it's marvellous. This is it. The West Coast Trail is a perfect combination of brutal difficulty and spectacular wildness and beauty.
The West Coast Trail, originally called the Dominion Life Saving Trail was built out of necessity because of the enormous number of shipwrecks that gave this stretch of ocean from Tofino to Victoria the brutal name, The Graveyard of the Pacific. With at least 484 shipwrecks this trail formed to facilitate survivors walking to Victoria and rescuers hiking to help them. It inevitably became a recreational hike in the last few decades. It's difficulty, once it's worst trait, now it's defining feature. It lies within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve which represents and protects three beautiful, coastal lowland forests. Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail.