Summer 2016

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Courtesy Justin Walker SUMMER 2016 BCA A .COM 17 west coast trail DESTINATIONS One hiker shares his adventures on Vancouver Island's spectacular West Coast Trail BY JANET GYENES Y ou might expect the chatter among hikers on the West Coast Trail to be about challenges – like navigating the notoriously twisty trail over its 75-kilometre stretch, or climbing the wooden ladders (one with more than 200 rungs) while weighed down by a 14-kilogram pack. But campfire conversations focused on food, says BCAA Associate Manager Markus Fehrmann, who hiked the trail with his partner Bonnie Leung last summer. "Everyone is boiling water and eating at the same time," he says. "We'd look at each other's pouches of freeze-dried food and ask, 'How many calories are you getting and what meal are you saving for tomorrow?'" Of course, camp food wasn't what lured them to this remote trail in the Island's Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It was the challenge of a multi-day hike in a historical spot. "It's one of the bucket-list trails," says Fehrmann. The West Coast Trail winds north from Port Renfrew to Bamfield, through the traditional lands of the Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations, who have made their homes on this wild coast for thousands of years. There's a fierce beauty here: the path passes through ancient rainforests, thick with cedars, and crosses surging creeks and rivers. Lonely beaches stretch for kilometres, punctuated by pocket caves and tidal pools brimming with life. The trail was built in 1907, as a rescue route for survivors of shipwrecks along the tempestuous Trail Tales from the

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