Day 1: Pachena Bay to Darling River
This was our first day’s hike on the West Coast Trail, after spending the night in the campground. We woke up early and had breakfast, then packed everything into our backpacks. We wouldn’t be coming back here, so everything had to be carried or thrown in the trash. Our goal for the day was to hike 12 km to the Darling Creek campsite, which was supposed to be prettier than the first possible beach camp at Michigan Creek, which was located at 10 km.
It was low tide, so we started the hike on the beach, and didn’t bother climbing the ladders near the ranger station like we did for fun the day before. It was an easy half mile to the spot where we would have to leave the beach for the trail in the forest.
We made it to Clonard Creek and took off our packs. We were in no rush. We checked out the tidepools, which had lots of sea anemones and starfish. We met a local First Nations family there that was harvesting food from the rocky shore.
After that, it was time to hike in the forest for the next 9 km. There were impassable headlands along the shore, and no way to hike along the beach. And the forest turned out to be quite beautiful, with tall pines and luxuriant undergrowth. There was no shortage of muddy sections, and there were lots of bridges and ladders along the way. We discovered a variety of wooden walkways. Some were fallen logs with flattened tops that had been incorporated into the trail, while others were sawn planks laid down lengthwise. The tops of the planks were often roughened with chainsaw cuts to prevent them becoming too slippery. There were also well-constructed walkways made from milled lumber. Some of those were new, and others were gradually decaying into the mud. But most of it was simply a trail through a peaceful forest. We hiked along with a growing sense of wonder.
Panorama video of an open, quiet section of pine forest
Video of a whale breaching near Sea Lion Rock just west of Pachena Point
GoPro video panorama from the view point above Sea Lion Rock
Video of a baby whale and a mama whale playing in a kelp bed near Michigan Creek on the WCT
Panorama video of a sunny afternoon on the beach
For a topographic map of the hike see my CalTopo Page
For LOTS more photos of the trek see my Flickr Page