Hiking up in Cape Scott

In my last post, I talked about The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, which I read while my husband and I hiked around in Cape Scott provincial park, at the northern tip of Vancouver Island. First, let me say that it was the perfect book for this trip. I was pretty bagged at the end of each day, since I’m not exactly in the shape of my lifetime right now, and it was engaging yet easy to put down once my eyes were too heavy to prop open (or read by the light of my glaringly bright headlamp). It was nice and compact, light, and the perfect length. I finished the book only shortly before the trip ended — I love when that works out!

Cape Scott Provincial Park

So, a few brief words about the hiking trip: we had originally planned to do the entire North Coast trail, a 60-some kilometre trail that (shockingly enough) follows the north coast of the island. Clever name, eh? As it turns out, the logistics are somewhat trickier than we had anticipated (would have involved either a long car shuttle (thus two vehicles) and/or very expensive boat taxi), and we weren’t feeling in as good of hiking shape as we would have liked. (I blame Merlin.) So we ended up taking it easy and hiking around inside the main part of Cape Scott Provincial Park instead: equally enjoyable, and no stress of having to finish a long hike in a short amount of days (and then tack 8-9 hours of driving on either end).

Trail Map, Cape Scott

We started out late, so after a long drive we ended up walking the first 3k into San Josef Bay, and were stunned by how beautiful this little cove is. The next day, we dawdled around camp while it rained, and finally set out around noon when the rain let up. We trudged the 17km up to Nissen Bight, and got set up before the rain started again. The third day we made a short 7k trek over to Nels Bight, and then had a rest day so my poor sandfly-bitten, heat-rashed, blistered feet could rest. Then day five was a long ~17k hike back to the hiking lot, mostly in the pouring rain. All in all it was a quiet trip, with lots of time for reading and absorbing the gorgeous views. (If you want to check out a better trail map, BC Parks has a good one here).

San Josef Bay

The sun came out at Nels Bight.

trails were getting muddy by the last day...

I have to say it was a great experience but I think I prefer hiking in the mountains to hiking on the coast. Still, since we are on the Island it was great to experience the trail. Next time, we’ll head down to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and do some trails there…


what about trails?

So far, I’ve said lots (ok, a loose use of this word) about books (spines) and nothing about trails (soles). Well, as another part of my move to Vancouver Island, I want to explore the natural beauty of this place. My husband and I have a tradition of doing a three- to six-day backpacking trip each summer.

Last summer, we hiked the Skyline Trail near Jasper, AB.

The year before, we did the Rockwall trail in Kootenay National Park, BC.

Before that, we did the Iceline Trail near Takkakaw Falls and Field, AB.

This year, we want to do something on the Island, since we’re here. My fella has already done the West Coast Trail and the Juan de Fuca trail, which would have been obvious choices. So this year, we’ve set our sights on the North Coast Trail. It promises to be rugged, isolated, and challenging… are we up for the task? I’m not sure!