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Day 2 – West Coast Trail 2021


Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Day 2 – June 10, 2021
Michigan to Tsusiat Falls

Good morning.

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Another surprisingly clear day for June on the WET Coast Trail.

You head south from Michigan on the beach. But I wore my DRY shoes with wool socks. Optimistic.

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The usual rule on the WCT is to take the beach unless forced inland by tide, weather or impassable headlands. I stayed on the beach this morning as long as I could.

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Between Billy Goat and Trestle Creek you MUST head up. Happily, it’s a relatively easy section of trail walking, even after being overgrown during the pandemic closure year.

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One of the highlights of inland scrambles is admiring old growth trees.

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At Trestle, I headed back down to the coast. Switched to my grippy trail runners with neoprene booties. I would end up wearing my “wet footwear” at least 75% of the time. I’ll wear the same on future WCT hikes.

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Day 2 – West Coast Trail 2021 9

At the Klanawa river I headed back up to do the cable car crossing. FUN and a bit challenging if you’re alone.

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It’s about 3km further to famed Tsusiat Falls.

Plenty of ladders.

Challenging, trippy, muddy trails, as well.

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I was taking many panorama shots on my iPhone. Some I’ll use in videos. They can make interesting speed ramps.

Arriving about 5pm I was surprised to see the only “cave” not occupied. I grabbed it instantly.

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It’s illegal to camp in caves on the WCT, but you could argue this one is more of a slot in the cliff face. Still, it’s deep enough to shield from rain.

I tried my best to keep sand out of the tent.

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Day 2 – West Coast Trail 2021 14

NO I didn’t swim. I’m still chilled from a plunge here in 2004 !!

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Day 2 – West Coast Trail 2021 16

In the past these famed falls have been crowded and littered. But post-pandemic we only had about 15 people sharing a BIG space.

Evening I went exploring Tsusiat Point at low tide. The highlight of the day.

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West Coast Trail 2021


Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Day 1 – June 9, 2021
Bamfield to Michigan

The West Coast Trail Express delivers clean hikers to the Visitor Centre at Pachena Bay close to Bamfield.

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Private logging roads from Lake Cowichan to Bamfield were surprisingly good in 2021.

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In normal years, we would have checked-in, watched a video, and filled out our paperwork — walking away with a WCT Overnight Use Permit.

DON’T LOSE THAT PERMIT. You are required to show it to get on the ferries at Nitinat Narrows and Gordon River.

Due to COVID, 2021 was different. Watching the videos was done online. Rangers QUIZZED us outdoors to see if we actually knew the content.

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My reservations was for June 10th. I’d planned to start early the next morning. BUT the trailhead campground was still closed. Rangers agreed that it would be better to set me off on to the trail rather than have me hanging around Bamfield overnight.

To start there are two choices:

  • Steep ladders, OR …
  • 1 km on the beach
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Beach start

We met 4 ladies coming in who were first to finish on the Bamfield end of the WCT 2021. They’d taken the beach but told us to head inland as the tide was now too high.

I would end up hiking in parallel with the 3 guys here, all Canadian border guards.

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LADDERS challenge right from the start.

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This is the “easier” end of the trail. Still, it’s 12km to the first campground. Mostly inland.

Around every corner there’s something weird and interesting.

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Pachena Point Light Station at 10km is a highlight. But it was still closed to hikers due to COVID.

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toasted bagel with PB and marmalade
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When not muddy, the inland trails are magical.


Almost every hiker stays at Michigan coming and going because it’s closest to Bamfield. That said, it’s not nearly one of my favourites.

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Less crowded than ever before, I still decided to wade the river and find a small site in the trees away from the ‘mob’.

Folks had seen a bear on the beach earlier in the day. It’s essential to secure all food in the bear lockers.

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In the evening at low tide I went exploring the shelf.

This is the boiler of the Michigan which went aground 1893. This is the shipwreck coast, after all.

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Perhaps I should have carried on to one of the next two small campsites: Darling or Orange Creek.

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West Coast Trail 2021 Trip Report PREVIEW


by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Click PLAY or watch a short preview on YouTube.

I’d planned to YOYO in celebration of our #1 hike in the world reopening after the pandemic:

June 10 starting SE from Bamfield.

June 15 starting NW from Port Renfrew.

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As happens so often on the WCT, plans changed.

I broke my main camera on day 3 of a planned 12 day adventure. Then bruised my thigh badly 😩 on day 5 — landing hard on a root in a mud bog.

I felt forced to reschedule my second West Coast Trail to start July 3, 2021.

I’ll put together detailed info-tainment videos for the WCT once I’ve done it twice. 😇


Reservations opened April 30, 2021. Open only to Canadians.

Due to computer system glitches, I wasn’t able to start day 1 ~ June 4, 2021.

The earliest I could reserve was June 10th out of Bamfield.


As the ferry Port Alberni to Bamfield was still closed to hikers, I booked by phone on the West Coast Trail Express.

CAD $125 Nanaimo to Bamfield one way. I was the only passenger.

Excellent service. I recommend them.