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Cape Scott Trail: Day 1

This is Day 1 of my 5 day Cape Scott hiking trip in July 2015. I’ll be doing a post on each day with my favourite photos over the coming months.

Cape Scott has been on my list of places to hike for a long time. Lots of people I know have done it. You get to see the tip of the island. There are wolves and bears. There’s lots of mud. It sounds like the perfect place to get away for a week.

We left after work and headed up to Cluxewe Resort in Port McNeill. No one wanted to do the long drive and then break out all the tents and gear just to sleep in the parking lot so we started in an air-conditioned cabin on the water in Port McNeill. Not rustic at all but really really comfortable. The cool sea breeze and air conditioned kept it an almost-cold temperature, a welcome break from the heat in Nanaimo from the few weeks prior.

A 6:30 am start turned into a little later than we wanted but we still got out the door at a good time and on the road. One stop in Port Hardy to top up fuel and on to runner-up for middle of nowhere on Vancouver Island, Holberg.

After hearing about all the problems people have with their cars on the way to Cape Scott on the bumpy roads I was worried we might have the same issues. Justin’s trusty VW Jetta got us all the way there and back with no issues.

The parking lot was quite full when we arrived. As usual we had too much food packed for breakfast and had to either eat it or ditch it. We ended up giving the three last croissants to three girls that had just come off the trail from their hike. Good timing for them.

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The trail starts easy, flat and wide. A nice warm up for what was to come. I knew Cape Scott was a relatively flat hike, which I was glad for. My preparation for this hike was short CrossFit workouts. They don’t translate directly into long slow hiking. Better than nothing. 


The trail splits at 900 metres in. South heads to San Josef Bay. I recommend checking that out if you can. North heads to Eric Lake and then Cape Scott. 

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The south end of Eric Lake. It looks like a pretty place to hang out from the down the trail. This beach on Eric Lake is actually terrible. The water was brown and full of crud. There was no where to sit aside from a couple of logs above soggy dirty. The access by the campsite boardwalk 1.4 km north is much nicer. 

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The obligatory crossing a bridge photo. I seem to get these from every trip I go on and some of them are really nice photos. This one was crossing a creek by Eric Lake. Someone we were talking to before we left for the trip had run across a bear here and had to wait until the bear crossed the bridge and wandered off into the woods before they could cross. 

Eric Lake campsite

Eric Lake campsite

Eric Lake campsite looked pretty cool. If you were coming in late in the day and could only hike the 4k to the lake, I would camp here. It’s inland though, near the lake but not on it, and apparently a nice place for bugs to hang out. The camping would probably consist of arrive, kill as many bugs as possible, set up camp, go to bed. 

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Fisherman River had a good amount of water in it. There was a small place to camp near the bridge with a toilet and 3 or 4 tent pads. They were hidden behind the toilet and hard to see from the rest of the boardwalk trail. I only noticed them on my way back. 


Remnants of farm life from early dutch settlers. 

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The meadow and trail to Hansen Lagoon were one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The strangeness of seeing this view in the middle of a coastal forest made it very memorable. In my head it still shouldn’t look like this. But it does. 

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The beautiful sand of Nels Bight. 


The owner of Strategic, the company that manages the park for the province, was checking on the rangers working there. They hadn’t checked in because their satellite unit was broken. It was a bit surreal to be on the northern tip of the island, enjoying being as far away from home as you can get still being on the island, and having a helicopter cruise in and buzz the beach. 


Sunset. Good night Cape Scott! 

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Stay tuned for the rest of the photos from my 2015 Cape Scott trip. I’ll post links here after they’re posted. 

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