West Coast Trail - Transportation Options - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-05-2017, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
Scaling New Heights
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Calgary AB
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Default West Coast Trail - Transportation Options

My group of four is trying to figure out what our best option is for transportation. The shuttles seem super expensive and inconvenient, so I'd prefer to do a car drop. Only issue with a car drop is that we would then have to drive back to the other trailhead to drop that car's owners off, before heading back to Nanaimo. We are hiking South to North, so basically, we'd be looking at driving 2.5 hours back to Gordon River to drop the other two off, and then another 3.5 hours back to Nanaimo after multiple long days of hiking.... but frankly, a multi-hour shuttle bus ride that costs $90 a head doesn't sound much more appealing!!

I learned today that there is a boat option as well? Like, we could drop a car at Pachena Bay, take our orientation there, and then hop on a boat at 1:00 PM over to Gordon River? (We would do that the day before we are set to beging our hike if we went with this option). It's $99 a person from what I read, but does anyone know where I would find out if this is still an option and, if so, what the current schedule and rates are? The guide I found that info in is from 2009. Of all the options, that one sound the most pleasant.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-06-2017, 07:47 PM
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There is a boat service but expensive - $1500 or $400 per person. If you can join others then your cost will go down. Check GPO.

Think you need a bite of the reality pie. Factor in your gas, wear and tear on vehicle on logging roads, long driving day, and you may see the $90 as a fair price.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 01:05 AM
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Think the water taxi(s) don't exist anymore. There was one guy who started a gofundme-page last year (when there were no water taxis) for getting/keeping a boat for such trips - but I can't find anything about his business...
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kokanee75 View Post
Think the water taxi(s) don't exist anymore. There was one guy who started a gofundme-page last year (when there were no water taxis) for getting/keeping a boat for such trips - but I can't find anything about his business...
I've read in various places about a boat service caleld the Juan de Fuca Express, which brings people from Pachena Bay to Gordon River / vice versa, run by a guy named Brian something. I can't find a website for the business anywhere. I found a phone number listed on a tourism page somewhere, but when I phoned to ask about schedule and rates there was no answer, not even an answering machine... so I have no idea if it is still operating or not or what the cost is. The first place I saw it referenced was from 2009 and said it was $99 a head. The other place I saw it references was from like 2014 I think and said $135. If he is running that service, I don't get why he wouldn't have a website... it's friggin 2017 people lol

Anyways, not gonna bank on there being a reasonable boat option. I think we are probably going to just leave both our cars at Gordon River and then take the shuttle bus back when we are finished, as friends who did it last year said the Pachena Bay access is really, really rough and we'd be better off not taking our cars there. The Gordon River one isn't smooth sailing either, but it isn't nearly as bad we're told.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 12:37 PM
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Think we paid $120 each in May (return). I thought it was a fair price given the number of hours driving and the operator's costs (fuel + serious maintenance).
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-17-2017, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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So, we have booked the shuttle service from Pachena Bay back to Gordon River for our final day. In the email confirmation I recieved, it says pickup is at 1:45 pm at Pachena Bay. I'm wondering, how early should we start that morning in order to make it from Michigan Creek to the trailhead by 1:00 pm? For some reason, we had it in our heads that the bus was at 4:00, so we figured we could have a pretty relaxed morning. But if we are trying to get out by 1:00, that changes things quite a bit! I have heard this part of the trail is "easy" compared to the rest, but I doubt it is "easy" in general terms... like, we have done 15km hikes that have taken us less than 4 hours but I don't want to risk missing the bus because we are over-confident in the pace we can set.

What do you folks feel is a reasonable amount of time to expect to complete that portion in?
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 10:33 AM
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That section, given it is all dry now, 3.5 - 4.5 hours max. Even when it is in traditional West Coast state (wet and muddy) it is 5 hours at a slow pace.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tatlow View Post
That section, given it is all dry now, 3.5 - 4.5 hours max. Even when it is in traditional West Coast state (wet and muddy) it is 5 hours at a slow pace.
Awesome - thanks!
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 11:46 AM
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In perfectly dry conditions at top speed we did it in 2.5.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 11:59 AM
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I would count 4 leisurely hours and include the side trip to the sea lions - very nice spot. The lighthouse is not so interesting.
And if it happens that you make it in 5 days maybe it is nicer to stay at the Pachena Bay Campground for the last night.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 07-18-2017, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kokanee75 View Post
I would count 4 leisurely hours and include the side trip to the sea lions - very nice spot. The lighthouse is not so interesting.
And if it happens that you make it in 5 days maybe it is nicer to stay at the Pachena Bay Campground for the last night.
Thanks for the tips!

I think I'd prefer to get on the trail by 8:00 AM and be able to take our sweet ass time enjoying the one easy day we'll have haha
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