My friend Matt and I did a trip to Cape Scott over the Labour Day weekend. I managed to get Friday off so had four days of long weekend to use. We drove up to Cape Scott on Thursday afternoon, a 7 hour drive from Nanaimo to the north end of the island. The first evening we camped at the trail head and the following morning walked the 18 kilometres into Nels Bight, the first major beach on the trail to Cape Scott.
The hike is flat for the most part and passes through Eric Lake, old settlers pathways and a lagoon before hitting the beautiful beaches. At Nels Bight we watched Orca and Grey whales swim offshore and giant salmon frolicking in the waves. The beach was completely beautiful and a well deserved reward after the long hike. The greeting at Nels Bight is as follows:
You have hiked the settlers highway and tasted the exhaustion of a forgotten mode of transportation.
Remove your backpack and relish in your reward.
Stroll the sand beaches with the scurrying Sanderlings.
Test the ocean’s salt air.
Listen to the surf’s pounding song.
Probe the Cape’s silent, mythological places.
The pacific winds will blow their freshness to you and the storms their energy.
Nature’s peace will flow and all your cares and worries will drop like autumn leaves.
May you never forget the magic of Cape Scott.
The following day we hiked the 14 kilometres from Nels Bight to the Cape Scott lighthouse, a manned light house at the top end of Vancouver Island. Here we spoke to the lighthouse keepers who had been stationed here for the past ten years and were contemplating their future service at the lighthouse. It must be a tough lonely job manning this lighthouse so far from civilization. Fortunately, they do get lots of visitors from hikers making the voyage. On the way we passed Experiment Bight, sand dunes, Guise Bay and hacked through the under brush forging our own trail at times 🙂
On Sunday morning we woke to beautiful sunny skies but had to break camp and start hiking back to the trail head, another 18 kilometres back down the trail. With feet and muscles tender we retraced our steps and contemplating the drive home that evening, decided to stay another evening back at San Josef Bay. We collected water and swam in the Pacific before collecting firewood and resting our weary feet. Matt found a crazy piece of wood which burnt super well and super hot, oozing flaming sap as it burnt. Still trying to determine what type of wood it was.
On Monday we drove back down the road 7 hours to Nanaimo contemplating the distance we had covered in the past four days. We hiked over 55 kilometres in total over the Labour Day weekend, with our 30 pound backs. Hard work but well worth the reward of visiting one of the most remote and beautiful areas of Canada.
Cape Scott Hiking Trip by Michael Paskevicius is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.