THE ROUTE

On August 13, 2017, the CIM Adventure Team will set out to complete the North Coast Trail in Cape Scott, British Columbia Canada. Situated on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island, where Pacific tides crash into shore from the Queen Charlotte Islands to the north, the North Coast Trail is the less-traveled, more rugged sister of the infamous West Coast Trail on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

 

The team will complete the 58km trek, complete with cable car crossings, beach trekking, ladders, ropes, and mud-to-the-knees in 6 days, 5 nights. Check out the route below, and follow along with the team when they hit the trail.

Please note: Don't fret if the map stops updating or if the team appears to be camped in the middle of the ocean. Sometimes the GPS is finicky.

ARRIVAL IN VANCOUVER - TRAVEL TO SAYWARD

The team will arrive at Vancouver International Airport, load our gear into our team vans, and board the ferry in Tsawwassen, bound for Nanaimo. We’ll then hit highway 19 and head up the coast for Sayward, BC and the Mt H’Kusam View Lodge – Our base camp for food and gear prep.

PREP DAY - TRAVEL FROM SAYWARD TO NORTH COAST TRAIL BACKPACKERS HOSTEL

This day will be spent doing all of our final food and gear prep, making sure backpacks are weighted properly, and answering any last minute questions the team has about gear, food, etc. We’ll have a chance to practice setting up our tents, we’ll get to know our stoves and water pumps, and we’ll perfect our diabetes plans. We’ll also aim to hit the trails and do a practice hike to get our boots ready for the big launch day!

TREK DAY #1 - SHUSHARTIE BAY TO SKINNER CREEK

TOTAL DISTANCE: 8.7km
TOTAL TIME: 7 hours

After an early morning ferry ride from Port Hardy to the drop-off point at Shushartie Bay, today will be exclusively inland trekking. White neither scenic nor easy, this terrain offers an opportunity to pass through a unique upland bog ecosystem. The trail takes you from the ocean to a 247m (810ft) plateau and back to sea level. Expect extensive boardwalks, stepladders, ropes, mud, and a rugged section.*

TREK DAY #2 - SKINNER CREEK TO CAPE SUTIL

TOTAL DISTANCE: 7.1km
TOTAL TIME: 7 hours

Today will feature forest and beach hiking. The team will be ready for its first cable car crossing, rough, steep sections, and ropes to help us up and down the most rugged sections. This will also be the first experience with cobblestone beaches. They will have the chance to take breaks at historic settlement sites and stand on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. This section also features the Long Leg Hill staircase, a journey through TriPod beach which, during high tides, is completely under water, and a night at the beautiful Cape Sutil.

TREK DAY #3 - CAPE SUTIL TO IRONY CREEK

TOTAL DISTANCE: 7.2km
TOTAL TIME: 6 hours

On day three of our trek, the team will spend most of the daylight hours on the beach, interspersed with short, inland trails. The cobblestone and sand will surely be a workout. Exploring the beautiful west-facing coastline, the team will also expect steep climbs and scrambles. They will also have some of the best chances to see wildlife through this stretch.

TREK DAY #4 - IRONY CREEK TO LAURA CREEK

TOTAL DISTANCE: 12.3km
TOTAL TIME: 7 hours

Another day on the cobblestone beaches! The team will try their hand at a second cable car crossing and will have the chance to explore the beaches for treasure as they work our way closer to the Cape Scott Trail. Making our way down the west coast of Vancouver Island will provide for some amazing coastal scenery and sunsets.

TREK DAY #5 - LAURA CREEK TO NELS BIGHT

TOTAL DISTANCE: 12.8km
TOTAL TIME: 7 hours

Today will mark the team’s crossing from the official North Coast Trail to the more well-travelled Cape Scott Trail. They’ll expect to get their feet wet with several creek crossing, and moderate uphills to explore the boggy forests of Nissen Bight. The team will push on past Nissen Bight to Nels Bight, heralded as the most beautiful campsite in the area. Nels Bight features a 2km, 200m wide sandy beach.

TREK DAY #6 - NELS BIGHT TO SAN JOSEF TRAILHEAD

TOTAL DISTANCE: 16.8km
TOTAL TIME: 7.5 hours

The last day will see the team covering the biggest distance in terms of km, but on a well-trodden, easy path through Cape Scott Provincial Park. They’ll have their trail legs on, light packs, and will move roughly twice as fast as they did on previous sections of the trail. At the San Josef trailhead, a shuttle will be waiting to transport the team back to the North Coast Trail backpackers hostel to air out boots, bags, and selves.

PORT HARDY TO NANAIMO VIA VAN

Today, the team will pack up gear, hop in the vans, and make their way back down the coast to Nanaimo, where they’ll spend the night at the Vancouver Island University dorms. They’ll enjoy a night out on the town to celebrate and cheers to a job well done.

FERRY - DEPARTURES AT VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

The trip will wrap up with an early morning ferry ride back to Horseshoe Bay, just north of Vancouver. They’ll then make their way through the city for drop-offs at the Vancouver International Airport and our final farewells!