~ submitted by John Young
June 30 – July 4, 2018
My fifth trip on the Nootka Island Trail off the west coast of Vancouver Island didn’t disappoint. In fact, I might have enjoyed it more than ever. It was more crowded than before–we saw several other groups of hikers, one even bigger than our group of nine. But, still not nearly as busy as other coastal hikes such as Cape Scott or the West Coast Trail, due in large part to the remoteness, accessible only by water taxi or float plane.
As the organizer of our trip, I opted for the water taxi transport return from Tahsis. It’s a lot cheaper than flying (especially when we had nine people in our group), and scenic, although on the day we set out, it was drizzling and rough, so not as enjoyable as when I last did it two years ago. With the boat ride option we had an extra three km to walk, too, at low tide across picturesque mudflats, making the trail about 40 km long altogether.
The trail is not on protected land, and is only sporadically maintained by volunteers, although in places you’d never know it, with huge fallen trees to clamber over and salal to stagger through. For me, though, this is part of the attraction–the ruggedness of it. And the variety of the trail is arguably unsurpassed — from lush old growth rainforest to swampy headlands, sandy beaches to boulder fields, the wonders never cease.
Thanks to my fellow hikers for making this a most enjoyable excursion!