West Coast Trail – Pacific Rim National Park – Day 1: Hike & Camp

Kilometer 75-70 + 1KM

We woke up quite early 6:00 or 6:30am so that we had time to eat and pack-up.  The first Gordon River ferry is at 8:00am. Not all 25 people can fit on it. There we met up with the engineers and a lovely couple, the Double As.  There was also a tour group.

Butch is the ferry pilot with a big personality. If you look below the antlers, on the ferry terminus you’ll see his name.


A five minute ride across the narrows gets you to the Gordon River trailhead, which begins with this 85 degree ladder. Hints of what is to come.


On the first day hikers reach the highest point on the trail. This is marked by an old logging donkey engine.


It was a hot and humid day for heavy packs, steady inclines, roots, mud moguls, rock scaling, ladders and broken bridges. It took us about 50 minutes/ km, not including stopping.  This was the only day that we stopped to cook a lunch.


Our original aim was to get to Camper Bay. When we reached the intersection to Thrasher Cove, we started heading onward to Camper Bay, but seeing that it was more mud, roots and climbing we turned back toward Thrasher Cove knowing that on Day 2 we could take the beach route.

The 1km trail down to Camper Bay begins with a rooty incline and end with a series of ladders.  Expect this to take 30 -60 minutes.

When we got to the beach there were many campers tented up against the tree line to avoid a rising tide surprise in the middle of the night.  There is clear stream at the North end to bathe and collect water to filter.  Prior to our arrival a woman who had injured her ankle had been pulled off by rescue boat. And a few hours later a young man with his church group was rescued due to suspected appendicitis.  An interesting first day to say the least.

Fun fact 1, after all that work and time, we could see where we camped and ate dinner on Day 0.


Fun fact 2, Each camp is a beach paradise and well earned respite.


Fun Fact 3, Just when you think you are done with ladders for the day, you head over to the outhouse. Each campground has one or more raised Phoenix composting toilet outhouses. They use sawdust for composting and are raised to protect against animals.


Fun Fact 4: Friend build fires.  Though as someone who loves making fires, I was perpetually thankful for friends who shared fires.  There was only so much drift wood to go around and friends make it more fun.


Fun Fact 5: When you wake up in the middle of the night because you think bears are invading the campsite. Lay there a moment and realize that it’s really all of your neighbours snoring and be thankful you brought earplugs.

Fun Fact 6: Yes, there are rats. I saw two large ones at this site.  The bear bins that the park provides don’t just protect against rats.  In addition to food, put all cooking equipment, toiletries, lip balm, and sunscreen in the bins.  You don’t want a rat to eat through your tent.




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