There are few things that liven up a hiking day more than stumbling on a shipwreck. At least that’s my life’s experience (based on this one wreck)!
One of my most interesting backcountry backpacking experiences was hiking the East Beach Trail in Haida-Gwaii’s Naikoon Provincial Park. Haida-Gwaii are a string of over 100 island’s off B.C.’s central coast that formerly were called the Queen Charlotte Islands, a day’s ferry ride from Prince Rupert. Naikoon Provincial Park is a large, fairly flat park on the east shore of Graham Island. The East Beach Trail was a long flat beach walk, almost 90 kilometers over 5 days (with full packs) during which our group encountered only 5 other hikers. There were parts of the trail that were very easy to hike but some sections were soft (sand), slippery (wet rocks) and with obstacles at high tide, so the going wasn’t always easy.
The hike was memorable for several reasons, one being the quiet and solitude of the place. Another was encountering the remains of a wooden ship, the Pesuta, on the beach. The Pesuta was a log barge that in 1929 ran aground in a storm near the mouth of the Tlell River on East Graham Island. Over 8 decades later, part of the wreck is still there and visiting it makes for a fun diversion. The weathered wood, rusting metal and exposed interior don’t take long to explore but you’ll certainly remember the experience. I imagine one day a storm will simply wash away what’s left of the Pesuta. (Note; there’s a shorter approach than the one I took, a long day hike from the highway through thick mossy woods and then along the beach to the wreck).
Other memorable aspects of the East Beach Trail included thousands of bald eagles (far more plentiful than even seagulls), about as many ravens, and tens of thousands of washed up trees and logs on the shore making it seem a tangled cemetery of dead trees. It was a fun experience and I’ll have to write more about it sometime!