Exploring the Northwestern tip of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
The seclusion and remoteness of Cape Scott beckoned us from our home in Vancouver. With some friends coming for a visit from NYC, the time was right to catch the first ferry of the morning and begin the long journey to the top of Vancouver Island and the Cape Scott Provincial Park trailhead. It was late afternoon by the time we arrived at the trailhead, some 6 hours of driving after a 2 hour ferry later. It was late summer, the sun was shining and we started our hike in good spirits with Eric Lake as our first objective.
With a few rain drops starting to fall along with the last of the light, we hunkered down in the Eric Lake campsite at 3.5km in, itself a pleasant, tent-pad enhanced bit of forest to rest up for tomorrow’s longer haul. It’s a 17km hike from the trailhead to Nels Bight where we plan to pitch our tents and the next morning we are off and walking! In short time (the trail is almost all flat) we heard the sounds of the ocean and popped out to find ourselves on Nels Bight, our home for the next few days as we explore Experiment Bight, Guise Bay and Cape Scott itself. One of the best backpacking experiences I’ve had.
Cape Scott Provincial Park offers an incredible, remote location battered by Pacific storms with strong winds and heavy precipitation. We planned for the worst, and were rewarded with the best. That’s backpacking for you, happy to have the extra layers. Next time I will do things a little differently. I will wear sensible shoes – not my usual mountain-grade stiff-soled Italian leather boots. No, these are much too slippery to navigate the boardwalks and roots. I fell dozens of times, no joke. It was like walking on ice. Next time: soft-sole boots equipped with removable spikes. I’ll also pack my fly rod as the salmon were enticing us from the ocean at sunset every day.
A note on wildlife. While there is an ongoing ‘Wolf Advisory’ and both black bears and cougars are numerous in the park, we had no such encounter. We did find out there was a cougar on the main trail the day we hiked in, so it’s a matter of chance and timing to see one. I was certain we’d see wolves, and while the rangers we met see the mega-fauna weekly, we missed out. Which is OK, the sea life, birds and the natural beauty of the place were all we needed. In the morning fog, these predators are on the beaches and can mistake a human for prey, so keep your wits about you and don’t go jogging alone in the mist!
These images are available for editorial licensing and as archival prints for personal or commercial use, please contact me for additional info. This is a small sample of the work from this set and I will be returning to explore more summer 2017.