Flash Back Fridays

NOOTKA’S HOT SPRINGS

The strongest hikers were in front, pushing a tunnel through a three-metre- high jungle of salal. One by one, they plunged into the bush and disappeared. From above, on a granite bluff, it looked as if the salal was being shaken by a monstrous snake.

We were plodding across a point at Nootka Sound on the west side of Vancouver Island. There were no signs of humanity, not even a crude trail, when he jumped off a float plane’s pontoons and waded to a crescent-shaped beach. It was the same Van- couver Island that Captain cook saw when he make his first landing in North American at Friendly Cove, a few kilometres across the sound.

Six days later, when another floatplane picked us up at Hot Springs Cove, we knew why few hikers tackle that untracked coastline. We had managed to make it to our pre-arranged pickup point, but not without mooching a ride on a fishing boat. The worst injury was a slightly sprained ankle, but a spry, 61-year-old Toronto man bailed out three days early and had a lighthouse keeper arrange for a floatplane to take him away.

There were nine of us; four were experienced hikers.

The West Coast of Vancouver Island has many treasures for those willing to go off the beaten path.

The West Coast of Vancouver Island has many treasures for those willing to go off the beaten path.

We were on a trip organized by Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Educational Centre, a trip that cost us $360 a piece. It was led by Daphne Hnatiuk, a 22- year-old woman and outdoor educator who had just returned from a stint of prospecting in the Yukon.

Daphne’s log, July 21: “We had to bushwhack across Burdwood Point to the next, Read more