Forum Index » Pre-Trip Planning » W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail?


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Nelson Sherry
(nsherry61)

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 00:39:02 MDT Print View

I'm in the mood to do a coastal backpack trip on the west coast somewhere. Canada's west coast trail on Vancouver Island is supposed to be exceptional. Can anyone compare that with the Olympic coast trail in Washington for me? The lost coast trail in California?

Edited by nsherry61 on 04/21/2013 00:40:08 MDT.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 08:26:47 MDT Print View

I have only done the Lost Coast in CA. Nice. But the other two sound more awesome.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 08:39:48 MDT Print View

I have only done the Olympic coast

Canada takes longer to get to, is much more wild and muddy, you have to get a passport - how ridiculous

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 08:48:13 MDT Print View

Yeah, I'd go to WA.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 09:32:16 MDT Print View

Some day I'm going to do the Lost Coast in CA, but it's so far away from Portland. Maybe some day when I have the opportunity to do a trip, it will be rainy in Oregon and Washington but nice there.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 09:51:53 MDT Print View

The West Coast Trail is much more of a physical challenge. I have done it 6 times and you will cross every condition you can imagine (except snow). Over 100 ladder systems, cable cars for some river crossings, etc.

Mud? Sometimes but only at the south end. Having done both, I would highly recommend the WCT. But do it in May to mid June when there are fewer people around.

Here is a trip report of mine:

http://blog.hyperlitemountaingear.com/?p=1069

Nelson Sherry
(nsherry61)

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 09:57:56 MDT Print View

Actually, you don't need a passport to get into Canada, and Vancouver Island is little more than a ferry ride further than the Olympic coast. Although getting to the north end of the trail is a fair drive I guess.

My real questions are based on beauty vs. popularity. The Canadian trail has a rigorous permit system to limit trail use to something like 50 people a day. I doubt there are more than 50 people per week walking the Olympic coast? So, is the Canadian trail really more spectacular, or is it just more publicized and used?

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 10:02:32 MDT Print View

I've heard of full campgrounds in WA during the peak season.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 10:17:46 MDT Print View

If you have a Washington driver's license, you don't need passport to get into Canada

If you have Oregon or most ever other state, you do need one, unless they've eased up on the requirement. Since 9/11/2001

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 10:19:17 MDT Print View

"I've heard of full campgrounds in WA during the peak season."

Definitely

One August I tried to get into Kalaloch at 10 AM - full

I did find a place at Lake Quinalt, but if you're a little late especially on weekend, good luck

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 10:25:51 MDT Print View

"So, is the Canadian trail really more spectacular"

Yes, in my opinion.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 10:27:10 MDT Print View

Who's up for a road trip?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 10:53:12 MDT Print View

Just looked at http://gocanada.about.com/od/canadatraveloverview/qt/uscitizenborder.htm

Okay, you're right, you don't need a U.S. passport to get into Canada

But, you do need one to get back into the U.S.

But, according to http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1082.html

"If a U.S. citizen traveling to Canada does not have a passport, passport card, or approved alternate document such as a NEXUS card, they must show a government-issued photo ID (e.g. Driver’s License) and proof of U.S. citizenship such as a U.S. birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or expired U.S. passport. Children under 16 need only present proof of U.S. citizenship. (Please see below for important information concerning re-entry into the United States.)"

They also have a "passport card" that's easier to get but only allows reentry by ground from Canada

Maybe you're best off just getting a passport and avoiding possible hassle

Nelson Sherry
(nsherry61)

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 15:56:50 MDT Print View

International law requires country's to take their citizens in. That doesn't mean they can't take them in, then throw them in prison, but, they are required to take them in.

Canada couldn't care less if the people crossing their border from the US have a passport as long as they have appropriate government issued ID. The US wants to require passports to get into the US from Canada, but, they can't very well deny reentry into the US for US residents, at least US citizens. So, in spite of all the "saber rattling" you can still cross the border both ways without a passport if you are a US citizen.

Last week, my high school kid took a field trip from Oregon into Canada with about 30 other Oregon kids on a bus. They were not required to have passports going in either direction.

Now, getting a permit to hike the WCT may be a different matter and a somewhat more complex and uncertain endeavor. That is actually one of my hesitations in planning to do it.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 16:10:36 MDT Print View

>> My real questions are based on beauty vs. popularity <<

I think those are the wrong questions.

The questions should be do you want a unique experience and are you up to the challenge?

The WCT is truly a beautiful trail but as Family Guy has said the WCT can also be a test of your own mental and physical ability. The sign at the trail head office listing the number of people that have been "evacuated to date", pretty much says it all. I can't think of another trail that has such a high number of injuries considering the restricted number of hikers doing the trail. (I had to bail on my WCT trip last year because of a knee injury... I walked out, so I wasn't one of their statistics board and it's the first time a trail has ever beaten me).

As a light weight backpacker you shouldn't have any problem physically but the root balls, rain, wind, fog, ladders, and slippery surfaces (everything is slippery) can take it's toll on you if you are not mentally and physically prepared. Many people leave the WCT very proud that they have completed the trail but during the hike they were miserable.

The reason you should try the WCT is because of the unique experience it provides. I'm very familiar with coastal hiking/camping but the WCT is truly a unique hiking experience. It should be on every backpackers bucket list.

The WCT is a truly international trail, so the people you meet will be a highlight of your trip. The terrain is incredible, with beautiful beach walks, west coast rain forest and unusual trail features (the ladders have to be seen to be appreciated). Beer, burgers, crab and salmon are also a highlight of this trail (just ask anybody that's hiked the trail!).

If you go before June 15th you do not have to reserve a spot, just show up and go. There will be half the number of hikers on the trail at this time of year compared to prime time. Most people don't drive to/from the northern terminus, take the West Coast Trail Bus or a boat and save your car... again, both of these add to the adventure.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 17:22:24 MDT Print View

"International law requires country's to take their citizens in..."

I've heard that too.

I was just reading the official Canada and U.S. websites.

The emmigration people can be real obnoxious (to use a polite word).

Maybe if you're going to go to Canada it's better to just get a passport and avoid possible hassle.

Ian Destroyer of Forums
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
U.S. / Canada Border on 04/21/2013 22:15:04 MDT Print View

I miss the pre 9-11 days when all you had to do when crossing the border was flash a driver's license. If you want to skip a lengthy response, then I would recommend traveling across the border with a passport. If you are a U.S. citizen and have no intention of traveling anywhere besides Canada or Mexico, then you can get by with a cheaper passport card.

http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html

If you're a glutton for punishment then read on....

Crossing the border for law abiding Canadian and U.S. citizens should be a forgettable event 99% of the time. The other 1% is stuff legends are made of. There is nothing worse than having reservations for Disneyland and being told you can't enter due to a 20 year old conviction or because a cranky officer is having a bad day. Horror stories only get worse from there.

Nothing I'm saying here should be considered legal advice. U.S. Immigration Law is considered by many to be second only to tax law as the most complicated body of law here in the U.S. I'll go so far as to say that an immigration attorney from Texas would have a very steep learning curve on the Washington/BC border due to all of the 9thCCA case law that they would not be familiar with.

As far as U.S. citizens crossing into Canada goes, I can't tell you what they officially require but we travel enough to justify buying passports for our entire family. We are entering each other's countries under a visa waiver agreement and both Canadian and U.S. Immigration Officers have a couple aces up their sleeves if they want to turn you around. Among those, if they can articulate (doesn't take much) that you are trying to unlawfully immigrate to their county (happens) and don't plan to leave or that you don't have sufficient funds to support yourself while in country.

Canada has been known to refuse entry to U.S. citizens who have been previously convicted of DUIs (I haven't heard of this in a while.) This is absolutely hysterical to me knowing how many Canadians are allowed to enter the U.S. with DUI convictions. Oh well... their country their rules.

What I've found that works very well for me when traveling to Canada:

1. Faithfully obey all Canadian laws and don't try to smuggle anything in. This should go without saying but 1000s of Americans "forget" their pistol in the glove box, pepper spray, etc. Buying/owning bear spray in Canada is another topic for another thread. Be sure to declare everything you are supposed to declare.

2. Present passports for all passengers with everyone ready to answer any and all questions. Headphones off of the kids, sunglasses off, etc. You may be able to get away with a lesser document (driver's license) but the passport removes almost all doubt that the document before the immigration officer is valid.

3. Have hotel reservation printed off and ready to present if requested (never had to.)

4. Printed copy of bank statement from ATM ready to present if requested (never had to.)

5. If you have NRA, "Shall Not Be Infringed," "Glock Perfection" stickers all over your vehicle, then 1) let's meet up for some range time, and 2) be prepared for you and your vehicle to receive more attention in Canadian secondary.

Now as far as entering the U.S. as a U.S. citizen is concerned without a passport. Yes, at some point you will be admitted back into our country. That will not stop CBP from sending you to secondary where you and your belongings may be removed from the vehicle for closer inspection. This is not to say that you will not be subjected to secondary even if you are carrying a passport but I've found that it's easier for everyone involved to just give CBP what they are asking for and to work with them instead of against them. It is also possible that they will wave you through with just a driver's license but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 04/22/2013 01:30:16 MDT.

Nelson Sherry
(nsherry61)

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: W Coast Trail vs. W Coast Trail? on 04/21/2013 23:04:49 MDT Print View

Mike & Ian,
Thank you! You replies are both spot on helpful & informative.

Peter Evans
(NLslacker)
WCT on 04/22/2013 09:13:48 MDT Print View

I've done the WCT and it is not really that much of a challenge... more of a cakewalk really.
It is beautiful though, I may do it again this year.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
West Coast Trail (Vancouver Island) on 04/22/2013 10:20:10 MDT Print View

We did the WCT about 15 years back. We were subjected to plenty of horror stories about mud and slippery logs both in research and at the trailhead briefing.

Having never backpacked along the coast, it was a different and very enjoyable experience. The cable cars and ladders were fun. For us the trail was much easier than had been advertised- but there's a good reason for that: Our trip was during the longest dry spell on record for the WCT. No rain, no mud, no slimy logs. I can definitely see it being a real challenge, with lots of risk if it was raining.

We are hoping to do it with the kids soon- maybe next year. They will have good stories and the "chutes and ladders" will be lots of fun.

The best part? Spending a few days in Victoria afterwards. We flew in via Seattle, spent a night in Victoria, took a van to the north end of trail, hiked, van back to the hotel where we had left a suitcase of town clothes, then ate seafood, tea, and scones for a couple days.