The check-in process was very simple and the employees at the campground were very nice. We then asked what there was to do in the area and the man told us of a free hike that starts on the campground and is about 3 hours long. Apparently there is a nice lookout about mid-way and the trail leads to a beach where you can see whales. It seemed perfect!
So we had a good night in our small cabin with the rain lulling us to sleep and woke up the next morning ready for this 3-hour hike. We put on our training shoes, grabbed a bottle of water and got on our way.
The trail was pretty muddy because of the rain, but the weather that day was nice and it wasn't a very difficult trail until we got to the lookout. To get there, we had to hike a pretty much vertical trail to the side of the main trail. It was muddy and slippery and the whole time I was climbing I was just wondering how I was going to get down later. Fortunately, it wasn't a long way to the lookout where we had an amazing point of view on the Strait of Georgia and the British Colombia mainland. It was so beautiful! By that point, we had been hiking for about an hour so we decided to keep going to the beach.
Getting down from the lookout was thankfully uneventful. We took our time and it was easier than expected. But from the lookout, the trail to the beach just got more difficult. The trail wasn't as clearly marked and we had to keep looking out for blue dots on the trees to make sure we were still on the trail. It just kept going up and down and up again, over fallen tree branches and between boulders, holding on to ropes and crossing tiny rickety bridges. Every time we saw the ocean through the trees we thought we were almost there only for the trail to turn back inland and keep going.
After two hours of hiking, we thought we had to be close. After all, the hike was supposed to take 3 hours to the beach and back! The three of us were almost out of water, we were getting tired, it was harder and harder to spot the blue dots and we had to push away branches to clear the way. Let's just say the further we got the more it became clear that most people just turned around before reaching the beach.
Finally, after over two and a half hours of hiking, we reached the beach to find the rocks covered in slippery alguae and crowded with tiny crabs. After falling down, hurting myself and coming face to face with a crab, I didn't really feel like sticking around, whales or no whales. So after all of this effort, we just walked back to camp defeated.
We made it back after a little bit over five hours of hiking, completely dehydrated, so hungry that we didn't even feel the hunger anymore, and ready for a shower and some sleep. Back then, I was in pretty good shape and used to walking a lot during my travels, but I hadn't done much hiking, I didn't own a pair of hiking boots and I wasn't used to bringing snacks and extra water, just in case. This hike definitely changed my perspective, and now, I make sure I know all of the information on the trail (the length, the difficulty level, the incline, etc) before I start. I also make sure I bring a change of clothes, a first-aid kit and enough sustenance to survive about twice the distance I am about to take on. I would never leave for an unknown trail with just a bottle of water and my car keys like I did that time and, every time my friends and I put on our backpacks, we joke about how we'll never get caught without equipment like we did in Telegraph Cove.
That day, after having a later lunch than planned and finally sitting down, we figured the guy probably said it was a three hour-hike to the beach and we misunderstood, or it was a three hour-hike to the lookout and back. Who knows what he meant, but he definitely did not mean that it would be a three hour-hike to the beach and back that's for sure!
For more information on the places we visited on Vancouver Island, click here.