Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailThe Unforgiving Coast is an excellent book which has separate chapters for some of the most tragic shipwrecks in the Pacific Northwest from Oregon to British Columbia. Though only one West Coast Trail shipwreck is found in this book, the Valencia, it is well worth reading as the author brings the story together in a very readable way. One good and bad aspect of the Valencia disaster is the great amount of public attention it garnered in the months and even years after.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailOf the many shipwrecks along the West Coast Trail the Valencia stands out as shockingly horrific in almost every detail. First the ship wrecked just a few metres from the West Coast of Vancouver Island. She was intentionally driven up on the reef after an initial impact along an underwater ledge a few hundred metres further out. The quick thinking of the caption by crashing on the reef close to shore should have saved everyone, however over the next 36 hours most would die in the most heart wrenching and brutal ways.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailGreat Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast by Robert C. Belyk is a wonderful book highlighting many of the most interesting shipwrecks along the Pacific Coast. The book is divided into 10 chapters, each about one remarkable shipwreck. The Valencia appears in the sixth chapter titled: "Valencia: Appointment with Death". Belyk has great, descriptive titles for each chapter, such as "Yankee Blade: Wreck of a Gold Ship".

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast Trail"Breakers Ahead!" written by R. Bruce Scott, who began living in Bamfield in 1930 and spent the next few decades pushing for the development of a park on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  After he retired in 1960, he began researching and writing this book, which he hoped would illustrate the interesting history of the coast and encourage its development into a park.  In 1970 his book was published and the West Coast National Park was created.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailShipwrecks Off Juan de Fuca by James A. Gibbs, published in 1968 is an amazing book about shipwrecks on both sides off Juan de Fuca Strait. What makes it such a great book is Gibbs lifetime of research on shipwrecks, his remarkable familiarity of the area and his tremendous ability to weave together the fascinating history of the area.  He doesn’t just outline shipwrecks with a list of facts, but rather goes into details that bring the harrowing tales to life.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailVancouver Island’s West Coast 1762-1962 by George Nicholson is a fantastic history that gives you a window to a staggering array of events that occurred during those two eventful centuries. The amount of research that went into this book must have been colossal. Dozens and dozens of beautiful illustrations bring the people and places to life. Published in 1965 after decades of living in the area, Nicholson is able to write about events he was part of.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailSOS North Pacific by Gordon R. Newell, published in 1955 is a well written account of many of the most interesting shipwrecks that happened in the North Pacific from Grays Harbor in the United States up to Alaska. The only shipwreck along the West Coast Trail he writes about in wonderful detail is the Valencia, which he describes in thrilling detail. You can almost feel icy water as he depicts the victims of this tragic shipwreck slipping under the crashing waves.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailThe Wreck of the Steamer Valencia, written in 1906 is the result of the intense investigation by US government as directed by President Theodore Roosevelt. The result of the thorough investigation was made into a book widely distributed at the time. It lays out in methodical and tantalizing detail all the events that occurred leading up to, during and after the disaster. Many survivors and witnesses gave their accounts of what happened.

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Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailMore Shipwrecks of British Columbia by Fred Rogers follows his first book Shipwrecks of British Columbia. Taken together, these books cover a staggering number of shipwrecks all around Vancouver Island. What sets these two books apart from all other West Coast Trail shipwreck books is that Rogers is a wreck diver and has inspected up close, hundreds of shipwrecks, including many along the West Coast Trail.

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West Coast Trail Guide

There are lots of options to getting to the West Coast Trail. The trail is linear so you have to arrange to get to the trailhead as well as from your exit trailhead. Most West Coast Trail hikers drive to one trailhead then bus to the other and hike back to their car. ...
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West Coast Trail has a dizzying array of beautiful sights to see. Unfortunately due to the difficulty of the trail, weather, or just too much focus on finishing the trail, many amazing things are missed, or simply glossed over quickly. Darling Falls, for example, is a ...
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The West Coast Trail is a very tough hike. About one out of one hundred hikers don't make it, they need to be rescued. That's why there are so many fees. By the time you are done preparing and registering, you laugh at how hiking got so expensive. Isn't hiking usually ...
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The West Coast Trail is incredible. Everything about it is amazing. From the wildly, incomprehensibly enormous trees to endless jaw dropping views. And it's tough.  Very tough.  It is a trail that shouldn't exist. Hiking trails always form out of the easiest route worn ...
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West Coast Trail Shipwrecks

The Skagit, a 3 masted barkentine of 506 tons was wrecked on the reef in front of Clo-oose on what ...
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The Varsity was a fishing boat of 90 tons, returning to Puget Sound from California on February ...
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The John Marshall shipwreck is located under the waves just outside the mouth of Camper Bay at the 62 ...
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The Valencia Disaster

The Valencia was equipped with six lifeboats and a smaller working boat. These seven boats could hold up to 181 people. Just enough to accommodate the estimated 178 crew and passengers aboard.  There ...
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There were just 38 survivors of the Valencia shipwreck.  An estimated 140 people lost their lives on the ship over the course of 36 hours.  The 38 survivors escaped the ship at different times and ...
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All six boats launched in the first frantic 30 minutes after the Valencia wrecked were smashed against the ship or flipped and smashed against the base of the solid rock cliffs along the shore. ...
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The Valencia departed from San Francisco at 11:20am on Saturday, January 20th 1906, bound for Victoria and Seattle. She cruised roughly parallel to the coast at a variable distance that ranged from about 8 ...
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West Coast Trail Campsites

The Tsocowis Creek campsite at 16.5k has a decent beach with an excellent water source. Most hikers pass through the beach here on their way to Michigan if heading north or Tsusiat Falls if hiking south. The beach at Tsocowis is fairly decent and there is plenty ...
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The Pacheedaht Campground is a beautiful, and often bustling campground, quite close to the Gordon River trailhead for the West Coast Trail. Pacheedaht Beach is exactly what you would hope for in a Vancouver Island, west coast beach. It is a two kilometres long, ...
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Carmanah Creek slowly flows through this wonderfully massive channel that cuts deep into the sand out to the ocean. There is a cable car crossing that connects to the forest on either side of the creek. Most West Coast Trail hikers pass the campsite here without ...
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Day 5 on the West Coast Trail is a stunning, very difficult and tremendously enjoyable day of hiking. Walbran Creek is gorgeous campsite to wake up to. Your tent will open up to a sweeping view of ...
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West Coast Trail A to Z

William Philip Daykin was the first lightkeeper of the Carmanah Point Lighthouse from 1891 to 1912. In books and newspapers he is either written as Phil Daykin or W.P. Daykin. He and his wife Helen Strelley Marriott Daykin had five sons, Charles Thomas Daykin, ...
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The Pachena Point Lighthouse is an interesting bit of west coast history that you can visit. You can only see the grounds outside and not in the lighthouse itself. The view down from the 100 foot cliffs surrounding the lighthouse are beautiful and a vivid look at how ...
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