“There is something different about leaving society and stepping foot onto a trail; A trail where you know you can’t turn back and you’re only focused on what is ahead. Nothing else matters except your senses… the sound of the waves, the feeling of sand falling between your toes, and the sight of beauty everywhere you go.”
– Karysa Brossoit
The entire time we were backpacking the North Coast Trail (NCT), we were happy even though we had next to nothing with us compared to our every day lives. By nothing I mean we ate plain oatmeal every morning for breakfast, and had no showers. Getting water everyday was a task, our beds were incredibly uncomfortable compared to modern memory foam, and when it rained we couldn’t avoid getting wet. It wasn’t a bad thing though – Living with less feels more real. You’re among nature and feel as though you are a part of it. Amazingly, we tended to appreciate the little things more while we had less.
On our fourth day, we set out to hike 20 kilometers starting at Shuttleworth Bight, skipping Laura Creek and heading straight out to Nissen Bight where we camped for the night. High spirited, we started our trek early. After crossing several long, rocky beaches, it started to feel like the day was never going to end. My back was aching with every beach walk and thanks to the area’s undeniable title of the “Wet Coast,” my feet were also soaked. Then, just when our spirits were dampened and our bodies were tired we discovered a basketball halfway to Laura Creek. Talk about appreciating the little things – suddenly, our energy returned and we found ourselves laughing and running down the beach. Our huge backpacks were bouncing against our backs as we kicked the ball back and forth. We were RUNNING the North Coast Trail! From then on, the basketball’s name was Wilson and I was determined to carry it the rest of the 10 kilometers “home” that night. Throughout the backpacking journey, he became quite the conversation piece.
The wildlife on the North Coast Trail is also incredible. In a single day, we came across two different bears along the ocean. Following their tracks in the sand all morning, we finally ran into the first bear. As he made his getaway from our approaching noise, we turned the corner only to run into a second bear! This one was a little bit too friendly, as it merely retreated to the tree line and then sat staring at us. The tide was coming in along the beach meaning there wasn’t a ton of space to walk by – just a strip of sand between us, the ocean and the bear at the forest. We waited awhile and watched as he stuck out his pink tongue and checked out an eagle soaring above. Although he was incredibly cute, the time came to continue on and squeeze past this amazing creature. Thanks to our close quarters, getting it on film was more than a little nerve-wracking. If two bears weren’t enough excitement, Cape Scott is also wolf territory and we stumbled upon their tracks everywhere we went. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we didn’t see any, although other hikers said they could hear their haunting howls at night.
At the end of a long, gruelling day of hiking, and especially backpacking, positive thinking is what gets you by. The people you bring along also makes a huge difference! With positive people by your side, you’ll have a greater chance of wonderful things coming your way. When all was said and done, I don’t think we could have asked for a more perfect journey out on that trail. We met some amazing people including a lone German hiker who backpacked the whole thing and then turned around to do it in reverse. Despite the challenge, he was easily the happiest guy out there! On the very last day we stopped to talk to an older couple that wanted to know how we did. We stood there for a good half hour while she made us feel so special about what we just have achieved even though she’d probably done the same thing more than a few times! Feeling people’s positive energy when you’re out there creates nothing but amazing vibes and hiking happiness.
We completed the trail in 6 days and 6 nights. Here’s the itinerary:
Night 1: Skinner Creek
Night 2: Cape Sutil
Night 3: Shuttleworth Bight
Night 4: Nissen Bight (bypassing Laura Creek)
Night 5: Guise Bay (Our Favourite)
Night 6: Nels Bight
Contributed by: Karysa Brossoit and Jackie Johnson of @backpackingplanet
View their backpacking trail video here.