Hiking the West Coast Trail (4)

Saturday August 14

Today is shoreline hike. 9km of beauty and easy travel.  Sandstone shelves, crescent beaches, otters, eagles, laughter.






Lunch at Chez Monique next to Carmanah lighthouse, on Indian Reserve Land.  Eating freshly prepared hamburger, halibut burger, salmon burger, with cooscoos and salad.




Three WOOFIE workers, two of them young twins from France working as waitress and cook in tarp covered driftwood kitchen:”wood you like ahliboot?”


Loud dogs.  Monique is gruff and loud and forthcoming with a flow of fascinating information.  She’s 70 years old, taking MS in horticulture during the Winter in the Fraser Valley.  Strong French Canadian accent.


Her husband is pureblood member of local Indian Band.   She talks to him on cell phone as he’s bringing in daily food order for the restaurant on a Zodiac. She chronicles her battles over the decades with the Provincial and Federal Governments and the Canadian Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the neighboring lighthouse keepers and the other Indian groups that have reserve land along the coast.  She’s maintained this business, hated by all of them, because she knows her legal rights and shows an impressive mastery of local anthropology.  In addition to lunches and big breakfasts, she caters dinners for fishermen parties and backpacker tours which include the organic vegetables and flowers she grows in front of her house by the beach.  Gas is provided by bottled propane, power by solar and a small wind turbine and stored in car batteries.  The big storm of 2007 wiped her out but she rebuilt again.


After luxurious lunch we pass lighthouse, move further through forest up the coast and come back to the beach at Cribs Creek.



Another lagoon and freshwater swim.  An eagle lands on a log and tears at a seagull it’s caught, then takes off as I approach.


Peter body surfs and Steve and I try unsuccessfully to launch a raft through the breakers.


We build a sunshade and kitchen area with driftwood and raise our own bear cache in a secluded campsite several hundred yards down the beach from the central one, which again is crowded.


Paul was given a wallet left behind at Monique’s by one of the Ontario women and he leaves it for her at her campsite.  She comes to the lagoon with word that her sister is carrying too much and got some sunstroke but is recovering.  She’s an eighth grade science teacher.  We talk pedagogy.

Sleep under stars again. Sunset and crescent moon over water.  Milky Way bright.  A satellite moving overhead brightens like an outsized shooting star. I wonder if it’s a landing spaceship.  But it dims and continues its smooth silent progress.  Probably caught the sun after it set here down below.

[Full set of 196 pictures, slideshow and all sizes]

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