Northern Vancouver Island Camping, Biking and Hiking Trip

Have you ever planned a trip to the 9th degree and have everything work out like clockwork and still have serendipity? Well this was one of those trips.

The only minor hiccup was when someone forgot their hiking boots, but found a construction boot and a light hiker in the car. Luckily one was a right boot and the other a left boot. Serendipity!

We decided not to make reservations for the Friday morning ferry to Vancouver Island, and one of our cars was still far back in the queue. We were in a bit of a panic, but then the other car pulled right in beside us on the ferry. More serendipity!

One could say this trip evoked images of a remote paradise like a Hawaiian holiday: endless balmy sunshine, pristine beaches, and extraordinary biodiversity. Northern Vancouver Island also has wind as strong as the most southern point of the Big Island of Hawaii and a hiking trail called Puoli Vali — I am pretty sure there is a trail in Oahu that has a similar name. Also, both have surfers catching big waves and the Cape Scott logging road is as dangerous as Maui’s Hana Highway (we saw two cars in the ditch). Our rainforest is as muddy and gnarly as any tropical jungle, we even have orchids (albeit tiny). We need to be ’bear aware’ and they have to be ’wild boar aware’, both have a history of foreigners coming in and starting a settlement, both have the greatest risk for a tsunami, unwelcome plastic debris on the beaches and finally, friendly Indigenous people.

The Greek/Israeli shipping container disaster (caused by our recent cyclone bomb), left 109 containers floating in our oceans. One container has landed on Palmerston Cove just below Cape Scott. This container had 70 refrigerators in it. All the refrigerators were recovered except one. Plastic debris is washing up in the Cape Scott area in vast quantities and threatening marine life. The beaches are speckled in plastic – plastic water bottles, the end of a paddle, running shoes, 1000’s of plastic inflatable unicorns, vacuum packed bags of foods, giant plastic cargo bags, plastic gym mats, plastic baby cologne bottles, plastic ropes, sheets of clear plastic, boots, board games, cards and plastic Brita containers, paddle boards and Styrofoam. The other 108 shipping containers are currently heading for Haida Gwaii. Any boats or ships along our coastline better watch out for shipping containers as they can easily destroy a vessel. The Coast Guard are still looking for volunteers for the clean up because with every high tide, more garbage is being washed up.

Here are some trip highlights: seeing the tallest totem pole in the world in Alert Bay, summitting St. Patrick Mountain at low tide, biking to Bere beach which is a killer whale rubbing beach, meeting Canadian Coast Guards and helping them clean up the beaches, watching helicopters remove the 69 refrigerators from Palmerston beach, and hiking to Raft Cove (best kept secret on Vancouver Island).

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