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A Kilted Adventure on the West Coast Trail with Chris Nicol

The West Coast Trail traverses through Pacific Rim National Park along the outer edge of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Parks Canada calls it “the Hike of a Lifetime” – 70 ladders, 130 bridges, 75km and 6 days and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. I have been an outdoor enthusiast for as long as I can remember and the WCT has always been on my ‘bucket’ list.

 Like a metaphor of life, the joy of the trip was not in the destination but in the journey itself. I am blessed to count my children among my best friends so the opportunity to complete the WCT with my son was as special as the scenery. And wow, what scenery … the endless ocean, lush temperate rainforests, untouched beaches, rocky outcrops, epic waterfalls, glorious sunsets and stunning vistas. Honestly, we ran out of adjectives by the second day. It was a week of absolute ‘awesomeness’.

We chose to hike from south to north which meant the first few days would be harder than the last especially given that our packs were full. You take a small boat across the channel and are immediately faced with a ~30ft ladder to climb. They tell you in the mandatory trail orientation “if you can’t do that, then don’t attempt the trip”. But by that time the boat has left you and quite frankly there was no way I was turning around anyway. So ‘up we went’ to begin our week-long adventure. 

    Some Highlights:

    • The scenery – Nature is Amazing!
    • Time spent with my son – it just doesn’t get better than that
    • Completing the trail in my Sport Kilt – everything is more epic in a kilt, right?
    • Weather – it rains often on this trail but we were blessed with sunshine
    • 500 ft of ladders to descend on the first night …. and climb back up the next morning
    • Swimming under Tsusiat Falls and camping by the ocean each night
    • Fresh Halibut and a beer at the mid-point
    • Fatigue and sore muscles – a reminder that effort is not easy but it is definitely worth it
    • The bonfire on our last night – other hikers joined us to share in the fellowship of the trail
    • Did I mention the scenery?
    • The final 1 km walk along the beach and dip in the ocean was the best way to finish the adventure

    Life is an adventure and what better way to enjoy it than hiking in a kilt with your son through the wilderness.

    Was it challenging? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

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