ADVISORY -- Tatchu Peninsula trail (log road) washout.
The logging road that comprises part of the route from Port Eliza to Rugged Point is washed out at approx. km 8 (from Port Eliza) It appears to be impassable.
This apparently happened last winter (Nov-Dec 2019). We discovered it July 5 when we attempted to hike there.
When we arrived at the washout (a gap of about 20 metres across by 15 metres deep) we scouted a while, but couldn't see a way across and up the other side.
We finally scrambled down into and along the riverbed, to the beach, where we camped for the first night.
Next day we looked for another route -- without success. We did find an overgrown trail* from the beach to the old logging camp, so we didn't have to do the hard climb back up to the logging road / trail -- but no way to continue past the washout to continue our planned trek.
I've been looking for up-to-date information about the trail. I chatted with a few people who have done the trek, but not since the washout. No new info there.
Then -- in a strange coincidence -- I saw a story by Jack Knox in the Times Colonist July 11 (2019). It outlined a couple's recent trip along the coast from Rugged Point to Tofino.
I contacted them and learned they had encountered the washout. Here's their story:
"...The edges were really unstable, and we weren't sure what to do. We could not get close to the edges, so going up or down that way was not an option.
Then I found a VERY rough bear route down the side that we were on, to the beach. So we dropped our packs to clear it (since we were trail-clearing experts by then) and made our way down to the river mouth. That all took a long time. The last part was a drop of something like 8', which we knew we would not be able to get up again (so I don't think this route is going to be doable at all any more, any time soon, going the direction you were going). Dave went down first, then I lowered both packs, then I went down.
Then we crossed the creek mouth - we knew from the map that the logging road is close to the beach farther along, near that former logging camp - so we did not try to go up the other side of the washout. Rather, we went along the beach and searched for some way back up to the road, which we eventually found, and then hiked in for a late-night arrival at Port Eliza.
I think we lost close to 2 hours getting around that. It was pretty hairy - high risk of injury going the direction we were going (someone needs to clean up the route we took down, perhaps install some ropes). And, like I said, I don't think it is doable at all going the other direction. There is no way to get back up that final drop on the W side of the creek mouth..."
You can learn more about their trip at their website: https://secret-coast.com
Hope this helps someone else avoid -- or prepare for -- similar problems.
*The trail from the beach is about 300M east of the washout. It was marked with two white boat fenders and one orange round float, tied to a large log at the treeline. It was an easy pushabout 30M through low overgrowth to a large open area containing a half-dozen logs. It's just 20M to the log road.
(We didn't see any marker going from there to the beach, but if you go towards the beach, between the logs and the old tin shed, you should find a way.)
Have talked to Jackie from Secret Coast and they had quite some adventures out there on the coast!
I have hiked the same route last summer and my advice for hiking Tatchu Peninsula is:
Start at Rugged Point (easy landing for float planes) and hike down the coast to Yellow Bluff Bay
Book a pick up with watertaxi from Shorebird expeditions out of Tahsis
Best pickup point is in Yellow Bluff Bay is right at the Y of the Baldwin hiking map
Only obstacle is a black lake at the headland between the bays, but that can be waded.
It works also the other way, drop off at Yellow Bluff and end the hike at Rugged Point.
There is also a rough trail that goes over the infamous surge channel at Sandstone Point, thanks to Jackie now marked with a float!
Thanks for the update about the washout. I have been getting conflicting information about this washout about how big it is, and how hard/dangerous it is to bypass, one was told that it can take anywhere from 2-9 hours to get around depending on what way you go.
Had a great conversation with one of the Water Taxis, Shorebird Expeditions out of Tahsis, very knowledgable and helpful btw, and they are the one of the only ones with a open bow boat that will drop off at Yellow Bluff, so to avoid the frustration and the 10 KM slog along the logging road, will go that route.
I think also, the best way to start the hike is getting dropped off by Water Taxi at Yellow Bluff Bay.
Shorbird Expeditions is the best!
Keep on mind that you have to wade tru that laggon on the headland after the dropp off!
Pickup by Air Nootka at Rugged Point
Have a great hike and it would be great to see a trip Report!
Just an update on this, I have been in touch with the guys at Air Nootka and Nature trek, and they noted that there is a way around the washout, and that several groups have successfully navigated it this way without any issues.
Continue on logging road. About 400 meters before the washout there is a big shed on the right-hand side (good for shelter) and just before that a spur road to the left that leads to an old dilapidated shed. Get on that spur road but walk PAST the shed to an open clearing with big logs arranged on the ground. To the right, a side trail veers off into the woods into openings into the alders. These openings connect to the beach. Again, common sense should lead you along those overgrown paths to the coast. Should be no more than 5 minutes from the road.
They had also mentioned that they would try to get out there to flag it as well.
Hope this helps those that will be hiking the trail this year.
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