Richardson GMP

by Neil

In June, four friends and I had the opportunity to hike the West Coast Trail. It was something that was on each of our bucket lists and we had discussed doing it for several years, but coordinating schedules always was an issue. While the trail is open from May 1st until September 30th, given our “Wet Coast” weather, trying to time the journey with the least amount of rain possible (and it will rain) narrows the window of opportunity to the 12 weeks between June and August.

The Trail is a 75 km hike along the Pacific Coast in the Pacific Rim National Park, and showcases the rugged beauty of the coastline which was once referred to as the “Graveyard of the Pacific” due to large numbers of shipwrecks during the 1800s and early 1900s. Originally called the “Dominion Lifesaving Trail,” the trail was built in 1907 to aid with the rescue of survivors of shipwrecks.

The trail starts in Bamfield near Barkley Sound and runs south to Port Renfrew. However, you do have the option of starting in Port Renfrew and hiking north. We chose to start in Port Renfrew as the southern half of the trail is far more challenging than the north which is much flatter with long stretches of boardwalk. We decided to start at Port Renfrew and travel north as hauling a 50+ pound back pack over rugged terrain would be much easier while we were fresh, injury free and the weather conditions were favorable. To give some perspective about the level of difficulty, we covered approximately 15km on the first 2 days of hiking versus 46km on the last two days.

Day One started with a 45 minute orientation session which everyone must attend before stepping onto the Trail. The session covers various topics, including how to read the tidal charts, camping etiquette, and recent sightings of local wildlife (i.e. bears and cougars). They also warn you that the first 1km of the trail is particularly challenging, and can take up to 90 minutes to complete. When you first hear this, you wonder “How is that possible? That is only 11 meters per minute, that can’t be right!” But they are right, and you find yourself asking what you signed yourself up for after the first 60 minutes. However, Day One finished on a high note at Thrasher Cove campsite where we enjoyed a well-deserved steak and beer while hanging out on a sandy beach (yes, we actually did pack steaks and beer for our first meal!).

The trip had many highlights, but probably the most notable was the good stretch of weather we encountered. Hiking and packing up camp in the rain is never fun, and we were very fortunate to have experienced only one morning of heavy rain on our last day of hiking. The trail was physically demanding in relatively dry conditions, and I imagine the level of difficultly would have increased exponentially if it were wet. For example, there are certain points on the trail which require you to climb and descend a series of ladders which are 5-6 stories tall – after decades of use, some of the ladders are not in the best condition, and they would have been more difficult to scale if they were slippery with a heavy pack on your back. Also, even in dry conditions there were portions of the trail with ankle deep mud bogs that needed to be negotiated, however, we were told that after being saturated with rain these same spots could be knee deep mud pits!

Other highlights included a very close encounter with a black bear, enjoying a burger at Chez Monique’s and salmon at the Nitinat Narrows ferry crossing (after a couple days of eating only dehydrated meals, having the chance to enjoy real food was a real indulgence), watching gray whales, and enjoying a day-off at Tsusiat falls.

The experience was fantastic and I’m glad to say we all made it back to civilization in one piece.

— Neil




Dwight Jefferson, CIMA®
Senior Vice President
Portfolio Manager
Tel.: 604.640.0555 • Email

Tyler Steele, CFA
Senior Vice President
Portfolio Manager
Tel.: 604.640.0554 • Email

Paul Rietkerk, CIM, FMA
Portfolio Manager
Tel.: 604.640.0562 • Email

Neil Kumar, CIM®
Portfolio Manager
Tel.: 604.640.0406 • Email

Wendy Lloyd
Tel.: 604.640.0556 • Email

Jessica Dewey
Tel.: 604.640.0405 • Email

Brenda Geib, BA
Tel.: 604.640.0559 • Email

Richardson GMP Limited
500 – 550 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 2B5

Toll Free: 1.866.640.0400
Fax: 604.640.0300

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