Glorious West Coast Trail should stay open for hikers

RE: “CALGARY MLA DAVID SWANN JOINS HIKERS CALLING FOR CLOSURE OF THE ‘HAZARDOUS’ WEST COAST TRAIL,” THE CALGARY HERALD

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When I landed in Port Renfrew to start the trail at the end of June, I had everything I needed. I had $250 boots, a $300 back-pack and a number of veteran hikers in my group, who had completed the trail at least once in their long trekking careers. I had no inkling what the trail really was.

The boardwalk is rotted, the logs are slippery and the mud is deep. This is why people travel around the country to hike a trail that evacuates trekkers daily (19 during the six days I was on the trail).

It’s not a nature hike. No ailing grandparents or young children enter here. The squeamish, skittish or faint of heart don’t belong here. There will be blood, fatigue, days that never end and sleeps that last minutes. This trail is meant to test your en-durance and physicality. Doing this means danger must be imminent.

I finished the trail in six days. With tears down my mud-stained face and bloodstains down my grass-marked shins, I kissed the meadow grass outside the Bamfield trail office. The only thing about me to come out the other side unscathed was my resolve. I was going to finish, come hell or high water, which is closer to the truth than any description I’ve ever heard.

Close the trail? Over my bruised and battered body. Places like this define a person. Throw birdwatch-ing to the wind and leave the trail as it has always been, a complex concoction of nirvana and Hades.

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