West Coast Trail – Pacific Rim National Park – Day 4: Hike

Kilometers 53- 44

Those of us heading North Bound chose to ford Walbran Creek for beach access. Low tide, 0.8m, at 11:29am. The tour group decides 7:30 or 8:00 am would be a could time to cross. I decided to cross with them, as the guides knew the best path and I wanted to hear their methodology.



We crossed here. Photo by Double A

D had decided he needed to be evacuated due to open wounds and infection, but they don’t do rescues at Walbran as it is too dangerous. He had patched himself up the best that he could, but he had to get through this day. Thankfully, the beach was fairly flat.  The Double As forded a little further upstream.

DSC08158 2
This was looking back to where we cross Walbran Creek.

Eventually the fog dissipated and the hike was full of blue sky.


On the sea shelf we saw sea anemones, star fish, and urchins. In the sand, we saw were a group river otters fished earlier in the morning. In the sky we saw bald eagles soaring. In the ocean we saw whales diving all the way up to the lighthouse.


Everything was beautiful and my heart was full. Even so I knew that this would likely be my last day.  Regardless of D’s injury, his spirit had long left him.  It was a let down for each of us.  Even so I was so thankful for being there. Thankful for doing this with someone I had been friends with for 25 years. And, I felt accomplishment for getting through the hardest part of the trail with him. He did things that bothered me and likewise – which is to be expected. I share this because, it’s important to note that trails like this test your mind, your body and your relationships.

Version 2DSC08173

Vancouver Point


There were sea stacks along the way and waterfalls at the gorgeous campsites of Bonilla Point and Carmanah Creek. The creek at Bonilla was nothing to cross, but at Carmanah we foolishly attempted to cross in our boots. Do yourself a favour and take the time to put your sandals on for this one.

Bonilla Point

While we walked along the beach Carmanah Lighthouse got closer and closer. A beacon of hope and the potential end. I say this because we weren’t sure that they would consider D injured enough to be evacuated.

Version 2

At the end of the beach next to the former restaurant was a pile of drift wood with buoys to mark the trail up to the lighthouse and Cribs Creek campsite at kilometre 42 or Dare Beach at kilometre 40. I rested here with the Double As and waited for D.  We had reached a critical point. We would find if D would be evacuated or if we had to bare onwards to Cribs.

Sadly, this is where I left the Double As thinking we would say goodbyes at the lighthouse or meet at Cribs. We did not see them again. I’m sorry to part as we did. I will be forever thankful for their kindness, conversation and patience. These two are an amazing team and loving, brave and adventurous. They are the kind of people that give you hope for the world. This moss covered heart is for you two.


I caught up with D and S of the Engineers at the lighthouse, where we said our goodbyes. D found the 2nd lighthouse keeper in the garden, who got the 1st keeper. They contacted the Coast Guard, who said they would get him if no one had a life threatening injury. We then spent several hours rest, eating, and taking in the gardens and some secrets of the grounds.  We learned that their cat, Trouble, was nearly taken by a bald eagle a few days earlier.

Bald Eagle circling the gardens

During our time here, the tour group came through and we got to say some farewells there.

Version 2

Version 2
Whale skeleton and animal skulls.

This serene place stirred my soul. Such peace in an ever changing landscape.

Intriguing compass garden with a view of Vancouver Point

The air was filled with the sound of barking sea lions. Had I known how long we would wait, I would have gone down to the beach the to be closer to Sea Lion Rock.


Once we got word that the evacuation boat would come for D, it took about 40 minutes. That’s 40 minutes from Gordon River Trail head to the lighthouse.  If we had to wait for the next day, we would have had to stay at the lower beach.  This was the only time I used my rain pants and my Mom’s yellow rain poncho. My mom and daughter insisted that I would prefer the poncho to my rain jacket.  They were right, but more because of what came later.

The evacuation rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIB) was piloted by a team of two. One stayed in the RIB and hovered off shore, while the other rowed a smaller inflatable boat to the beach. Once we were aboard the RIB, it was like hitting rewind through a 3rd person’s observations. This one had an orca sighting.

Away from the lighthouse.
Back at Camper Bay. The Coast Guard’s row boat is on the beach.

The Coast Guard picked-up L, another evacuee. L used a Garmin InReach to call for help.

Thrasher Cove to check for people in distress.

When you think the journey is over, you find out it isn’t….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s