February 9, 2009

BC Trail

tale of a BC Trail

Here we are in February and I must admit that with all of the time spent on the treadmill lately I am constantly reminded of the greatest BC Trail that I have ever experienced. It's the grand daddy of them all - the West Coast Trail - located on the western edge of Vancouver Island overlooking the Pacific Ocean. On most lists of the top 10 backpacking trips in North America, this is 7 days of heaven or hell, depending on your viewpoint and how much rain is coming down. I trained hard for that adventure and reached the bare minimum of physical prowess to successfully complete what was absolutely the experience of a lifetime. I was no backwoods backpacker before this trip but with the help and inspiration of my buddy Gord, I worked hard for about 6 months prior to the trip and then was able to absolutely revel in the sights, sounds and smells of a BC Trail that has inspired many books, including my own.

The West Coast Trail: One Step at a Time wrote itself in many ways as I relived and recounted all the training, excitement, challenge and satisfaction that a middle-aged heart could imagine. One of the keys to both experiences was the concept of middle age and wondering if I would be physically able to handle a back country hike on the rugged BC shoreline full of deep ravines, enormous trees, mud, rocks and roots. The feeling of success I experienced on this BC Trail while lugging a 55 pound backpack made everything possible, including the retelling of the tale in a book. One should not mistake this book for a trail guide but might find it more interesting as an inspiration to other men and women who have reached the age and stage in their lives when they need to test themselves.
I am often asked if I would hike this particular BC Trail again and I find it difficult to answer the question. I would love to recreate the feeling of euphoria and achievement that I felt at trail's end knowing that something very important had just transpired in my life. It was like walking through a door that opened on to a land of possibility. I have hiked and camped many a BC Trail over the years, but nothing compares to the West Coast Trail for accepting and completing a life changing challenge. Yes, I would!

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