West Coast Trail


myLife, Travel

by maria on 01.09.2008 - 18:40  

West Coast Trail

Lessons learned while on the West Coast Trail, in no particular order:

1. Do not wear new boots for the first time on this trail. When we were getting ready to head out at the trailhead, we ran into some people who were just finishing their trip on the trail. One of the guys literally had his boots completely wrapped in duct tape. The boots were defective, and within the first few miles, the soles had begun to fall off. He had managed to hike the entire trail on his duct taped boots, but I imagine most people would have chosen to bail.

Note: Duct taped boots should not be considered waterproof.

2. If you find yourself saying, 'I don't have time to read the map', it is probably a good time to find somewhere safe, and find time to read the map.

3. Spaghetti straps are not a good idea under a heavy backpack.

4. Two pairs of socks, even if clean and dry, but especially if not, is not really enough for a five to eight day hike that takes you continuously either through either a rain forest or along a beach.

5. Mole skin doesn't work particularly well while hiking over difficult terrain, especially when feet are wet. Bandaids with duct tape is probably a better option.

6. Always bring duct tape. See #1 and #5.

7. If you are going to be backpacking on a beach and through a rain forest, make sure you check that your stuff that is suppose to be waterproof, say boots or a tent, really is waterproof before said trip. Along the same lines, don't expect stuff to dry out when hiking in a rain forest.

8. Time is somewhat less reliable on Vancouver Island. Locals definitely operate on their own time, and it may or may not coincide with yours.

9. Olive oil, shallots and garlic are worth their weight in a backpack. They make everything taste better.

10. Double bag everything that is in the slightest bit liquidy. Use stuff sacks and dry bags to compartmentalize your pack and keep everything dry. Have extra bags.

Probably best not to ask how I learned most of these, but I will say I did learn from other's mistakes as well as my own. ;-)

A word of advice about reservations for the WCT: Don't bother spending the non-refundable deposit to try to get a reservation. Chances are you won't get one anyway. Instead, go directly to the trailhead and put yourself on the waitlist. Go ahead and sit through the orientation, and you should be able to get on the trail within a day or two. The waitlist rolls over, so if you don't get on the trail that day, you move up to the top of the list for the next day.

This is without a doubt the best book about the trail:


To see the pictures, and read about our adventure, go to my WCT photo page Also, I've posted some videos.

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07.05.2014 - 14:36  


Great Advice!!

Thanks for the words of wisdome. I live in the North West and am too old to go hiling but in my youth I hiked the Green Mountain trail(the long trail) that goes from Canada through Vt. down to Mass. We only went a short ways(overnight) But!! I particularly remember the new boot thing and had to half carry my husband to the car. But the adventure is still remembered with fondness (now that it is in the past) Thanks for the pictures , the blog and the memories. My Hubbie would have loved your story!! Thank you.