Hiking the Nootka Trail (4)

August 30   Marble Cove


As we loaded our backpacks in the morning, Peter called out “the Wolf !” I looked up, and there it was, fifteen feet away on the other side of the log.  My camera, which I usually carry on my belt, wasn’t working because of a battery malfunction, and I yelled, “get the cameras.” As Peter and Paul scrambled for theirs, the creature stopped and I got my first look at a wolf in the wild.  Rather than the fierce and proud appearance I expected, it seemed hangdog and scrawny, but nevertheless surprisingly large. Its ribs protruded and its face, as it turned toward us, was flat and small-eyed, its legs long, its tail down.  As they snapped pictures, the wolf ambled over to a pile of bull kelp, nosed it disconsolately, stared up at us with an expression of hopeless hunger and moved on.  It recalled the wolf in illustrations of Little Red Riding Hood.



We hiked around the next point and passed a couple of cabins on the bluff above Beano Creek, which our both our trailguide and the pilot had mentioned were not to be disturbed and which were at the end of a logging road that could, before long, allow the trucks into this still unprotected section of the coast to destroy the forests we marveled at. We followed some flagging we thought indicated the trail around the impassable headland ahead up into the bush and ended up behind one of the cabins.  An elderly gentleman yelled across a logged-over patch that we were on the wrong trail and that we should take the bypass further down the beach.  Paul thanked him and then found a ripe red tomato unaccountably left in the middle of the trail. We welcomed it as compensation for our first unsavory reencounter with civilization. An added infusion of fresh produce materialized along one of the arduous bypass trails–a large colony of chanterelles, which Paul and Peter pounced on with expressions of glee.



For several hours, the trail alternated between steep headland traverses through old-growth cedar groves and beautiful pocket beaches, including a sighting of a contented looking Pacific otter, the species rendered almost extinct by the fur trade between Indians and Englishmen during the 19th century.  We felt ready to stop at a small cove protected by limestone and marble walls and tall spruce-covered headlands. I climbed a tiny treed promontory that rose from the middle of the beach and Peter and I explored a sea cave at the north end. While Paul set up camp and gathered firewood, Peter took a swim in the rocky surf. I got wet and then lay down and buried myself in warm smooth beach pebbles. Then I cooked dinner of couscous and tuna while Paul sautéed the chanterelles with a garnish of tomato. Sunset and fire rounded off the evening.






Hiking the Nootka Trail (5) »

For a full photoset and slideshow of this day’s sights, go here

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