On Thursday it was finally time again – back into the wilderness, hiking, wet feet, my tent & sleeping bag and trail food. I really needed the escape from the city. But let’s start at the beginning. Scott, another lad from the original Airbnb who is currently staying on our couch and Sean, a Canadian fellow Te Araroa hiker who I met on the trail and who is back in Canada again, decided to do this together.

How do you get to the trail head in style? Yes, first you take a Corvette.

And with the Corvette you drive to the airport to enter your plane which will fly you to Vancouver Island. But since I am here on a mission you don’t just board a plane, no you just take your own ?. So after we had to sort out a few weight and balance issues with all of us, fuel and the luggage we were good to go. Taka, one of the instructors from my flight school was so nice to accompany (@Sarah: pronounced [uh-kuhm-puh-nee] ?) us and to take the Cessna back to Vancouver.

With this I was able to fly us to Victoria and by this doing my first flight in rain, over the ocean and landing at a real commercial airport. Directly after us an Air Canada flight landed. Jiehaaaaa! So cool. We hopped out of the plane, took our backpack, Taka took the plane back and we went to Victoria to meet up with Sean.

Next morning we got up early to get a last and big breakfast in before the bus picked us up at 6.45am to get to the trail. After a short safety briefing by the park rangers in regards to bears, cougars, wolves and search and rescue procedures we were good to go and took the ferry over the Gordon River to start with one of the many ladders of the trails.

 

Usually people do the trail in 6-7 days due to the rough terrain. Sean and I figured it should also be possible to do in 3: 75km divided in three days gives you three 25km days – she’ll be right, ey!

So we did a little bit more than 20km on the first day. It had rained for two days before we arrived and therefore it was a little bit muddy. Nothing we hadn’t seen. But it was a lot of up and down, many roots and ladders so you had to watch your steps.

It was slippery! We all slipped and fell a few times. But you might as well make most out of it when you are on the ground already… ?

But the rangers are very kind in this area. The trail is very well maintained and there is support in many areas.

But the forrest was dense and very beautiful. It reminded me a little bit on the Longwoods or the northern part of Pueora. Many trees were covered in moss.

…and very mystical forest.

We arrived camp at 8pm and were happy to pitch the tents and crawl into our sleeping bags. How much enjoyed to be back in my little castle. We left again at 8am to make some distance. The weather was overcast but dry and we even got some sun in the afternoon. The trail alternates between forest, bush and beach sections. Sometimes you have the choice depending on the tides. The beach walks though are mostly tough since the sand is very lose and very often consists of bigger pebbles which makes walking hard. But the views of course are nice.

A nice feature on the trail are the cable cars to cross the rivers. But why using them when you can just do it the old school style. Finally wet feet again… ?

We were also very luck this day. While we had a little break for a snack Sean spotted orcas close to shore. A very rare happening. I was really excited about it!!

The tide was quite strong during these days and it made a huge difference to walk during high or low tide. And it also offered interesting views on the tidal areas.

We finished the day and decided to free camp next to a bridge so we could take the ferry over the Nitinat stream early in the morning. The other helpful thing about the bridge was that we had a safe place to hang our food out of reach for bears and far enough away from our tents. A beautiful spot to have dinner as well.

Also a small spring was found which catered us with excellent water!

When we woke up next morning we had heavy fog on the river. We took our breakfast on the bridge again and enjoyed the view. We also saw a bald eagle which flew over us out to the sea.

The trail offered more spectacular forest. Especially the mist made it special again.

Sean and I treated us with a nice crab from the ferry operator. 30$ well invested.

After the ferry transport we continued to the end of the trail where we were going to pitch our tents tonight so we would only have a small stroll out next day to catch the bus back. And then it really happened – I had my first bear encounter. A female black bear with a cub! We were downwind from her so she couldn’t smell us. When we were close enough and had taken a few pictures we made noise to make her aware of us. Unfortunately she was not scared of us and didn’t take any measures to leave. Since the was right at the beach and you are not advised to cut her off from her way back into the forest we had to wait for her to leave. We waited for about 45 minutes and then decided to circle around her on the sea side – luckily it was low tide.

Well, and then it was more or less over already. We camped on the beach and this gave me this fantastic view when I woke up the next morning.

A short hike out to the pick up spot and that was a great weekend again! I have to do more hiking again. Sean and I are extremely hooked again. And one more thing – NOBO for life. Also the WCT was done NOBO again. Best regards to my old NOBO team… ?

The journey back to Vancouver took forever – enough time to recover…

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