Hesquiat Peninsula Trail, a.k.a. Escalante Trail - ClubTread Community

User Tag List

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-29-2005, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada.
Posts: 278
Default Hesquiat Peninsula Trail, a.k.a. Escalante Trail

In my continuing attempt to hike as much of the west coast of Vancouver Island as possible, I organized a trip to trek the Hesquiat Peninsula Trail this summer. This trail is also known as the Escalante Trail since it commences near Escalante Point on the west side of the peninsula. I have also heard it described as the mid Island Coastal route. I would rate the hike as one of the best on the coast with respect to wilderness experience. It was not difficult to do but there are some tedious stretches.

Access to the trail will involve either float plane out of Gold River or water taxi from Gold River or Tofino. If you take a water taxi from Tofino the cost will be fairly high. We took Air Nootka from Gold River for both entry and exit from the trail. I have used their service in the past and find them very competent and reliable.

The trail commences near Escalante Point. After getting dropped off by Air Nootka pilot Ron in a small bay at low tide under some threatening skies, we headed down the deserted beach to a small stream and our first camp site.



The rains hit over night and we set out the next morning in a steady down pour.



we were stimied by a high tide and a tricky surge channel just north of Split Cape so decided to retreat to some caves to dry out and wait for low tide to get across the channel the next day. The weather front blew out so next morning we set out with a renewed sense of optimism.


When we got to the surge channel the sea which was splashing over the rock in the middle of the channel was gone and we were able to scramble across and then pass our packs across it.



In a few more hours of walking we reached Barchester Bay a beautiful stretch of sand. Like all of the beaches we encountered on this trip, we found it completely deserted and free of human footprints. There were plenty of wolf and bear tracks however. There is a great place to camp on the south end of this beach across a large stream. We found crossing the stream a ways up from the mouth was easier in the rain flooded channel. We had originally planned on camping here but decided to push on to Homais Cove.

Much of the walking along this stretch was over a ridged shelf that lies exposed at low tide. At high tide the hiking would be more tedious since you would get pushed up against the tall grass near the margin of the forest.

Homais Cove is picturesque spot. Lots of wildlife around with sea lions just off the coast on small islets.

The next day we took off and hiked around Escalante Point with its great lighthouse. The light house keepers were friendly and invited us in for coffee and cookies. We spent a pleasant couple of hours conversing and reading old newspaper reports of the Japanese shelling of Escalante Lighthouse and Point during WW II. There are also various conspiracy theories about who actually did the shelling back then. Some attribute the firing to US or Canadian vessels as an attempt to get Canada to enter the war in the Pacific. As a result of thie shelling Canadian war bonds sold at a great rate and a few months later Canada committed troops to the war effort in the Pacific.

Past the lighthouse we started along a beach that we called BBB-Billion Boulder Beach. We found the going tedious across boulders of varying sizes. This stretch is about 7 k's long and there are no camping areas until one get close to Matlahaw Point on the SE corner of the Peninsula. There is camping at Smokehouse Bay and a small stream provided for a water source near there. We treated all water sources by filtering.

We pushed on past the point and camped at the site of Hesquiat village. This used to be home to close to 5,000 First Nations people. We had read the story of Father Brabant's mission to Hesquiat so we wanted to explore the area. There are now only 3 full time residents on the reserve-David and Diane Ignace and family live in the first house on the left hand side. We stopped in for tea and paid them a reasonable fee for camping on the reserve ($10 per night per tent). We explored around but the only reminder from the mission days from the 1870's was the mission bell in the building that was meant to be a museum. Purdon Creek at the north end of the reserve can be waded or more easily crossed on the bridge a bit upstream from the mouth.
The stretch from Hesquiat to Teamit beach was some of the best hiking on incredible beautiful sandy beaches. Out from Hesquiat the beaches were mostly small rocks or pebbles until about 1 km past Anton's Spit. We camped at the last creek, Bwan'as Creek just before LeClair Point.



Although it is possible to round the Point at high tide by scrambling along the small cliffs, we found the going to be easier at low tide. There are a few headlands along the way to Boat Basin that necessitate leaving the coast and walking along some well defined by pass trails though the forest.

The remaining section to Boat Basin is fairly easy hiking along rock, sandy and pebble beaches.

We toured Cougar Annie's garden by arranging to meet up with Peter Buckland through e-mail before the trip. The site for it is here:

http://www.boatbasin.org/garden.htm.

We found the tour and the gardens as well as Peter's vision for the area to be well worth the visit.

The next day we hiked along the logging road for a few kms to Hesquiat Lake where Air Nootka picked us up.

We spent 4 and a half days on the trail. Most days were easy to moderate walking with the one day from Homais COve to Hesquiat being hard. The total length of the trek was about 47 km. Aside from two other hikers who we passed near Homais Cove we saw no other hikers the entire time that we were there. Saw a few bear and lots of sign of wolf and cougar.

Well worth the effort and expense associated with the access.
Wolverine is offline  
Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-29-2005, 10:04 AM
Off the Beaten Path
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Whistler, , .
Interest: hiking, mountain biking, skiing, talking to my puppy, trekking in Nepal
Posts: 783
Default

Nice. I did Nootka Trail a couple of years ago. This sounds like a good trip as well! Thanks

----------------------------------------
If life hands you lemons...add vodka and chill!
Sharon is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-29-2005, 10:33 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Backroader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Tumbler Ridge, BC, Canada.
Posts: 1,382
Default

Paint me green with envy; this is near the top of my "really, really, really, want to do" list. Looks like you had some great weather, too.

Sigh. Someday.

----------------------------------------
I never get lost. It's just that sometimes, I'm not sure where I am.
Backroader is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-29-2005, 03:43 PM
Summit Master
 
mick range's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Forest Gnome Cabin, , Canada.
Interest: Outdoor stuff...especially scrambling,trailrunning,mountain biking,kayaking,and hiking, and of course photography
Posts: 13,876
Default

That is one I want to do even more than WCT.Great stuff!
mick range is offline  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 02:13 AM
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: , , Canada.
Interest: Hiking, hunting, fishing, and many others.
Posts: 3,951
Default

Love this picture. That must be a slate rock formation. Don't have to climb over mountains to have a fantastic hike. Wonderful TR.


----------------------------------------
Wildman
Wildman is offline  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 07:52 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Interest: Seriously active hiker/ mountaineer/ canyoneer
Posts: 2,269
Default

Nice! A little obscure too, which makes it even better.
Too Many Canyons is offline  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2005, 02:12 PM
gum
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Posts: 265
Default

Thanks Tim,

for the post and TR!

Much appreciated, Peter
gum is offline  
post #8 of (permalink) Old 10-02-2005, 03:43 PM
Off the Beaten Path
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.
Interest: hikingbikingyogastudyingarcticdogswatersportssnowshoeing
Posts: 934
Default

Great TR Wolverine! I missed this one, thanks for bringing it to my attention!
Bishop is offline  
post #9 of (permalink) Old 10-03-2005, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada.
Posts: 278
Default

A few more details about access for those who are interested in going. If you take a float plane you will have to co-ordinate with Air Nootka about dropping off near Escalante Point. Embarkation is best done at low tides and calm seas. So timing is critical. I am not sure about water taxis and what they require for dropping off conditions.
Pick up by float plane is at the South west end of Hesquiat Lake. Take the logging road which is easily accessed at Cougar Annie's. There is a overgrown road to your left just before the bridge over the Hesqiat River.
If you get stuck in Boat Basin due to fog and weather conditions, the Ignace's on the Hesquiat Reserve operate a water taxi service. Check with them as you go by for rates etc.
Wolverine is offline  
post #10 of (permalink) Old 10-03-2005, 08:48 AM
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: PNW
Posts: 8,494
Default

Nice little adventure
Aqua Terra is offline  
post #11 of (permalink) Old 10-03-2005, 10:45 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Whooville
Interest: Love the outdoors. Trying new things. And at night......BOGGLE!
Posts: 1,821
Default

Great TR..super trip!

----------------------------------------
Chaos, Panic & Disorder----my work here is done.
calixtomoon is offline  
post #12 of (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 02:39 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 14
Default

We are 4 cougar-aged women about to embark on this hike. We fly Vancouver to Tofino on Tofino Air and then are flown by them to Escalante. They fetch us at Boat Basin 6 days later. They have been fantastic to deal with - will adjust time for 2nd leg if first delayed or weather problems etc. We can leave things there for our return and they even helped with finding accommodation and spa treatments in Tofino for the day we return! They have sent additional information on the trail composed by one of their pilots. I think this beats the ferries and drive to Gold River for sure.
wendy1355 is offline  
post #13 of (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 10:30 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 14
Default

This is a trip-of-a-lifetime! The West Coast Trail covers the same distance but does not compare to the rugged beauty of this hike, following the beach instead of walking through dense brush and rainforest
This tour is for experienced hikers only. This route demands experience, coordination and fitness. Do not attempt this trip if you are in poor physical condition, uncoordinated or unprepared. We walk on few sandy beaches, a LOT of rocky headlands, boulders, logs, through rivers and muddy jungles. Due to tides and time of year we were often pushed up into tall grasses with lots of water channels and rocks waiting to ambush us. And we all carried about 40 lb on our backs.
We also had lots of rain and one night of 60 km winds and rain while at Anton's spit.
Wouldn't have missed it but cannot believe anyone would describe this as easy.

wendy1355 is offline  
post #14 of (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 10:40 AM
Summit Master
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Vancouver, BC, .
Posts: 5,612
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by wendy1355

This is a trip-of-a-lifetime! The West Coast Trail covers the same distance but does not compare to the rugged beauty of this hike, following the beach instead of walking through dense brush and rainforest
This tour is for experienced hikers only. This route demands experience, coordination and fitness. Do not attempt this trip if you are in poor physical condition, uncoordinated or unprepared. We walk on few sandy beaches, a LOT of rocky headlands, boulders, logs, through rivers and muddy jungles. Due to tides and time of year we were often pushed up into tall grasses with lots of water channels and rocks waiting to ambush us. And we all carried about 40 lb on our backs.
We also had lots of rain and one night of 60 km winds and rain while at Anton's spit.
Wouldn't have missed it but cannot believe anyone would describe this as easy.
Sounds like quite the adventure!! I hope you'll post your own TR and pics as I would love to hear more.
wilderness_seeker is offline  
post #15 of (permalink) Old 07-08-2008, 11:46 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 14
Default

Will do as soon as I figure out how!
wendy1355 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1