West Coast Trail

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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Travel, myLife, Charities

by maria on 12.02.2008 - 20:41  

My very dear friend Dorothy married a wonderful man from Uganda last year in New York city. They had a fantastic wedding, and I have some pictures from that wedding on my old web site. Unfortunately my camera was not behaving well for that particular trip, so the pictures are limited, and not the greatest. This year they had another wedding, this time in Uganda, following Ugandan traditions as much as possible. Calvin runs a charity called Pilgrim, which assists Ugandans who are in need. It does this using a multi-armed approach. They help in several of the IDP camps, giving assistance directly to families. This assistance comes in many different flavours. They help the people in the camps to begin to pick up their lives, often by helping them to farm by providing seed and other necessities for farming. As well as the direct assistance of food, shelter, clothing and medical attention for people in the camps, they have created groups to help people with trauma, as many of these people have seen family members killed or abducted by the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) or the Karamojong or have themselves been abducted. They work to help to get the children back into school. When there was extreme flooding at the end of last year, they were one of the first aide groups to respond, ferrying people out of the flood zones, and working with other organizations to bring food, clothing, and medical aid to the people displaced by the flooding. They also run a secondary school, which is targeted towards children from the camps, and most of which are sponsored by Pilgrim or their sister organization Three Loaves, which Dorothy directs. Currently they are involved in a radical program to eliminate malaria in the Teso region. Most of their work is done in an area of the country called Teso, which includes the village where Calvin's family is from, and is now one of the poorest regions of Uganda. Click on Dorothy's picture for more pictures and commentary from our trip to Uganda to attend her wedding, and to see the work that Pilgrim is doing in Uganda.

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