While planning for the John Muir Trail, I came to realize that it was consistently rated as one of the top hikes in the world. Another hike that appeared a lot of on different lists, sometimes even as #1, was the West Coast Trail. I’ve also have been wanting to ride the Amtrak Coast Starlight train from Los Angeles to Seattle for quite some time. I always enjoyed train rides, and seeing the slow transition between different cities and regions. A couple of years ago I also saw some amazing pictures of Shi Shi Beach (here and here) in the State of Washington and have been wanting ever since to see it in person.
This trip provided a great opportunity to combine everything into one amazing journey.
The plan is to take Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle, rent a car there, drive to Olympic National Park in the coast of Washington, and do the “Ozette Lake to Shi Shi Beach” hike. Drive to Port Angeles, take the ferry to Victoria, BC, Canada. Enjoy the city for a couple of days before starting the West Coast Trail. I would give myself six days to complete the hike, and then fly back from Victoria to LA. It should take a little bit under three weeks to do all this.
The Lake Ozette to Shi Shi Beach is a little bit of a problem because once I finish, I’ll need to find a way to get back to my car at the trailhead. It doesn’t appear to be any public transportation in the area. Maybe I’ll have to hitch a ride, or another option is to hike back to Lake Ozette which should take 1 1/2 days.
There are two ways to reserve a permit: either online on Parks Canada website, or by calling their office between 9am to 5pm. Reservations can be made up 3 months before the start date, starting on the first day of that month. Since I want to start the hike on Thursday August 12, 2010, the earliest I can reserve is June 1, 2010.
Since you can’t call their office until 9am, I stayed up late the night before to see if online reservations would open at midnight. Sure enough, I was able to reserve online and ended up paying CAD 127.50 for the permit plus a CAD 26.67 reservation fee. I’m not sure if I could have saved the reservation fee by waiting until 9am and getting the permit by phone. From what I’ve heard, there’s very high demand for the limited permits (60 total each day, starting from either trailhead) and given that people can reserve online starting at midnight, I didn’t want to run the risk.
I will be starting from Pachena Bay, the northern trailhead.
Ozette Lake to Shi Shi Beach Permit
I called the Olympic Nation Park to get my Wilderness Camping Permit. The first night I’ll be camping at the site north of Ozette River, and the following night at Shi Shi Beach. I want to thank Josh, the ranger I talked to on the phone, who was very courteous and helpful.