Aug 26 2012 — Hakai Beach Institute

Some unlucky sand fleas

Western sandpipers in the mud in the morning

I only had 4 km to get to the Beach Institute. My shoulder was still sore so I took it really slowly. I’ve dealt with tendonitis and similar conditions enough to know that you just can’t push it. You have to let it heal.

This place was a bit of an apparition. It is a bustling little university campus in the middle of the wilderness. It used to be a fishing lodge but the new owner decided to do something different with it and joined up with the local First Nations to turn it into an environmental science field station.

They have an impressive solar farm and battery bank (and big diesel generator). This is one of those times however when you wonder how much energy was required to build the renewable energy system versus how much it will ultimately produce. That isn’t a criticism, since in remote locations you need to have local energy supply, but more of a recognition of a problem we will encounter everywhere in the future as we transition to renewables by necessity because fossil fuels run out.

The perfectly manicured grounds just seemed bizarre. They are very open to visitors here, offering free wifi and fresh water. And I could plug in my battery chargers. But they don’t provide food or have anything for sale. I sat at the info building at the top of the ramp and went on my computer. Lots of boaters came up to check it out, and I had some good conversations about their trips. One couple hadn’t set foot on solid ground for a few weeks. I ended up being the information person for visitors for a couple hours as I found out the answers to the questions I was wondering, that other boaters were also asking when they arrived. Kind of funny, I fit the part, and had to tell people that I didn’t actually work there.

I hiked across to West Beach. I had hoped to see some wolves here, but there were just too many people around. One of the guys said that there is another beach further up that may have them, it’s called “wolf beach”. But I didn’t feel like putting in the effort to bushwhack to it.

Instead I was going to hike up to the lookout and camp there. It’s amazing how I could barely fit my stuff for one night in my backpack. The rest of my stuff I left at the Institute. I really need to focus on slimming down my gear.

Thick west coast mud


That’s where I was going.

Very recent trail building

There’s a nice panoramic view up here. It isn’t very high, Google Earth says only 50 m but I think it’s higher than that.

Looking north to where I’d be kayaking tomorrow.

The black flies were really bad up here. I didn’t cook my dinner, I just ate some energy bars and looked for a tent site which was really hard to find. I ended up on a rounded granite outcrop that wouldn’t flood if it rained. I went in my tent ASAP and listened to the weather report which was calling for rain. I was pretty exposed up here at the top of this hill. I didn’t bring my mattress from lack of space so I slept on my empty backpack.

One response

  1. Jamie

    These photos are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your trip with me…

    March 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm

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