Bar Glossary of Hiking Terms
Bar: A ridge of sand or gravel in shallow water built by waves and currents. Tsusiat Falls along the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island has an excellent example of a bar. An enormous and ever changing sand bar created from the waterfall meeting the Pacific Ocean. Often this bar is a dozen metres high and 400 metres long as it runs parallel to the ocean before flowing into it. Similar to a barrier beach, however a bar is more pliable and recent than a barrier beach, which tends to have long-term plant growth on it.
The ever-changing bar created by Tsusiat Falls on the West Coast Trail. Every spring reveals a radically changed bar at Tsusiat Falls. Winter storms batter the shore and obliterate the established bar from the previous year. Though following roughly the same route every year, the bar here can be shallow or deep, winding or straight as it makes its way to the ocean.
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. West Coast Trail. This is a phenomenon that is seldom understood or explainable. 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 marvelous. 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.
Glossary of Hiking Terms Whistler Hiking Trails