View topic - Portaging Cape Scott instead of rounding it --- viable?

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PostPosted: November 26th, 2007, 6:53 pm 
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I've been looking at google earth imagery and CHS chart 3625 --- the neck of land between Guise Bay and Experiment Bight is only 500 meters, and certainly not hilly at all. From the coloration it looks like all sand. Has anybody ever portaged it instead of rounding Cape Scott at sea, or heard of anyone doing this? Sometimes there's horrendous rips, standing wave-trains and over-falls off Cape Scott. Rips scare me --- I've seen horrible conditions off Cape Scott and have acquaintances who were lucky to survive the sinking of their troller there in the late 70's --- it can be a bad place.

Also, heading south along the west side of the island from Cape Scott, how far do you have to go for a sheltered, no-surf landing --- just 7km to Hansen Bay? Or do you have to go the whole 15 km to Sea Otter Cove/San Jo Bay to land in a spot protected from surf?

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PostPosted: November 26th, 2007, 10:48 pm 
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I can certainly confirm for you that there is a very nice trail for that 500m stretch and you are correct, it is very flat. Beware the time of year though, in spring and early summer the mud can be up to your knees. I dont know about any sheltered landings though, from what I've seen of the area it's mostly just big surf and sand.

What are you thinking, canoe or kayak? I've considered going around the Cape myself but it's risky and you'd need a lot of time to wait for just the right conditions. Cape Scott is not Cape Horn but I'm sure you know plenty'O paddlers have not made it (and worse) but there's no shortage of potential water to choose from if ya cant hit the right day to pass the Cape.

I'd also recommend hiking into Cape Scott from Holburg too, beautiful white sand beaches, big surf and very few people

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PostPosted: November 26th, 2007, 11:44 pm 
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I have a good place to put-in (and safely store my car) near Port Hardy.

I want to continue from where I left off last October (Balaklava Island), so the plan would be to depart from Port Hardy and if (big "IF") I can, round (or portage) Cape Scott and continue south long the outer side of the island and into Quatsino Sound, paddle to Coal Harbor/Holburg and then hitch-hike or otherwise bum/pay for a taxi back to the put-in near Port Hardy, get my car, drive to Coal Harbor/Holburg to pick up the 'yak and all is good in da 'hood.

It's 90 km from Hardy to Cape Scott, 150 km to guaranteed sheltered paddling in Quatsino Sound, and 200 km to Coal Harbor. I haven't started working out all the fine details yet, but at a relaxed pace of 15 km a day I'd allow two weeks minimum.

If conditions aren't amenable to continuing south from Cape Scott, a guy could just hang around east of Cape Scott for a while and come back down Goletas to the put-in --- no harm done and there's ton's of unexplored territory to be paddled without commiting to the exposed, Cape Scott-to-Quatsino Sound leg. Between Cape Scott and Cape Sutil is virgin territory for me. I'm not skilled at surf landings and I suspect theres a lot of that there.

I'm still gathering information and chart-gazing --- I want to know ahead of time exactly where the surf-sheltered LZ's are. This is what gives me pause concerning the Cape Scott-to-Quatsino Sound leg --- there seems to be only a couple surf-sheltered areas: Guise Bay, Hansen Bay, and Sea Otter Cove/San Jo Bay. Anybody have experience with Macjack River? Can you get to a sheltered area at high tide?

Anyway, it's early days for the 2008 season, I'm just gathering info at this point. Anybody with info about these areas are welcome to put their two bit's worth in.
;)

Oops, forgot to add --- Monster, I'd be paddling a Necky fat 14'er. Thanks for the info about the mud. I guess I could scout it out and if the sea was bad and the trail good then go for it, otherwise wait for good sea conditions and paddle it.

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PostPosted: November 27th, 2007, 1:21 am 
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I've hiked that neck of land several times, most recently in 2006. The contour map is deceptive; there's no way the neck rises more than, say, 20 metres. According to signage in the area, First Nations travellers used to slide their war canoes across it to avoid rounding the cape.

I hate to contradict Andrew, but we've wandered all over the neck picking strawberries, and there is no boggy land on the neck itself. It's all sand, mostly covered with low vegetation.

There is a fellow in Victoria who canoed solo around the Cape. Eventually he came to grief along the south side of the Brooks Peninusla, a place that has ended more than a few paddling journeys. If you do a search here for my id and "cape scott", you may find what I used to know about him. Maybe even a name.

But you're using a kayak. The kayak organizations would have information about what you're planning.

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PostPosted: November 27th, 2007, 2:11 am 
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Steve, I just googled 'sgrant' & 'cape scott' and got some links to some previous, unrelated myccr posts and to photos by a guy who's visited both Cape Scott and Ulysses S Grant National Monument in the states, lol.
I'd be interested in reading up on this fellow --- a solo canoe trip around Cape Scott? Wow. Hats off to this individual ...

Yes, many a paddler has come to grief in and around this area --- I guess due to wind-funnelling and rips acting in concert to make for altogether nasty conditions. If and when I tackle it, I'll be prepared to wait for days for the right conditions and have the option of simply calling it off and heading back the way I came if those conditions don't materialize.

As for specifically kayak forums --- are you aware of any besides 'westcoastpaddler.com'? There are a few others but they don't seem to have much activity.

That's interesting that the native paddlers portaged instead of rounding Cape Scott --- and they were serious paddlers. You know, Haida paddlers travelled as far south as Oregon and beyond to raid slaves in their war canoes ...

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PostPosted: November 27th, 2007, 1:33 pm 
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Thats a good stable yak Tom, but not a lot of cargo space. Steve is quite right too, upon reading his post I now realize that the serious mud bogs I had to get through were well before the 500m stretch you are considering portaging.. and I also understand from another friend that theres been some boardwalks built over that bog now.

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PostPosted: November 27th, 2007, 1:44 pm 
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You're right about the minimal cargo capacity of my Alsek --- I'm looking for a workspace where I can build a bigger, wood-strip one. And a canoe. You can't beat a canoe for over-all ease-of-use (and carrying capacity). Hey, if the Haida's used canoes to raid slaves as far away as Oregon and California they must be decent craft
lol

;)

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PostPosted: November 28th, 2007, 1:06 am 
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Of course I wasn't there at the time, but my recollection of the sign was that First Nations used the portage when the cape was too rough to attempt. Not as a matter of course, since the portage would be hard work (a 12-person canoe would weigh at least 1000lb) and the cape would be fine at times.

Incidentally, in the "old days" you could hike right out to the tip of the cape. But whatever federal agency controls the navigation aid at the tip, and who built the catwalks used to reach it, said they don't want the liability of people using their catwalks. And the catwalks are on federal land, so BC Parks can't maintain the catwalks. So now you can't hike past the lighthouse. There is a trail down to the shore behind the helicopter pad that might allow you to go along the coast to the cape, but even if it's possible, it would require a low tide. This sillyness is really unfortunate because going all the way to the tip of the cape is quite different from stopping 1km from it.

I can no longer find information about the person who canoed solo around Cape Scott. Seems to me he wasn't the first either, and that he is or was, a realtor in Victoria. I can't think of any place I would have possibly posted that information other than here on CCR.

Here's some possibilities:
http://canoekayak.com/features/stories/open_ocean/
http://www.timshuff.com/TC20024.htm
http://www.wavelengthmagazine.com/1998/ ... escott.php (I'm sure Markus would be happy to be contacted about this.)

If you joined westcoastpaddler and posed your trip idea there, I'm sure there'd be contributors who have rounded Cape Scott, or could put you in touch with those who have.

And for historical reasons, here's the original topic where Monster asked about rounding Cape Scott, and chose instead to do the Nitinat Triangle.
http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/viewtopic.php?t=6106

-------------------------------------

The Cape Scott trail has been civilized to the point where we had no trouble taking our then-six year old there last summer. We met other families with kids almost that young. Because it is now that easy, it is also attracting yahoos. If children can make it, so can the yahoos.

"Under the Boardwalk" is one of the theme songs for our movie of the Cape Scott hike.

Monster, I don't know when you were there, but when I first went it was completely different. Much farther to go, since the parking lot was further inland then, and the trail itself was so difficult that children would not have been able to do it. Indeed there were knee-deep bogs, and fallen trees stacked up so deep you'd be 15' off the ground climbing through them.

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PostPosted: November 28th, 2007, 9:31 am 
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Could you clarify what you mean by 'yahoos' and their behaviour? I have been thinking about doing Cape Scott, but yahoos would be a turn off.

BTW, does anyone know the latest on the proposal to put 'permanent shelters' in the park? I remember when this announcement was made, but I haven't heard anything since.


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PostPosted: November 28th, 2007, 1:34 pm 
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Well, what I mean by 'yahoos' are groups of people who wouldn't be there if the going was in any way challenging. Road access guarantees the presence of yahoos. Although some yahoos will hike, they require easy, well marked trails. They prefer to travel in large, gas guzzling vehicles and always seem to be drunk (even when they're not). They loath silence and shatter it with ghetto blasters whenever possible, but if necessary will use their voices. The presence of yahoos can be predicted by guaging the difficulty of the trail or how challenging the paddling conditions are. If powerboats go there --- there will be yahoos. All really difficult trails are yahoo free. Although averse to paddling, yahoos will paddle but for the most part they require guides to shepherd them safely to and from their objectives.
Yahoos are why I didn't go to Barkley Sound last summer, but chose to cross Queen Charlotte Straight and go to Burnett Bay, but then I have an unusually low tolerance level for them, lol.
Don't get me wrong, most of them are just harmless, but they're annoying and in my case are the reason I'm going into the woods to begin with, to get away from the crowds of them in the cities.

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Mariners must navigate these waters the same way a mouse negotiates a kitchen patrolled by cats: by darting furtively from one hiding place to the next.
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PostPosted: December 18th, 2007, 1:09 pm 
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I found some cool pictures of Cape Scott:

http://bcmarina.com/Places/Cape_Scott/Websize/2003_3893_Cape_Scott.html

I'm starting to think that although certainly possible, portaging Cape Scott from Experiment Bight to Guise Bay as opposed to rounding the Cape offshore, would be a bit of a slog --- especially due to the soft sand. Nevertheless, if the conditions are bad and you need to get around, it might be worth it.

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Mariners must navigate these waters the same way a mouse negotiates a kitchen patrolled by cats: by darting furtively from one hiding place to the next.
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 Post subject: Cape Scot
PostPosted: January 10th, 2008, 3:57 pm 
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Hi Tom,

YES...the portage at Cape Scot would be a very easy one to pull off. It is a beautiful spot as well. All sand in between the two beaches, pretty level...tons of camping opportunities on both sides.
Hansen Lagoon is a short easy paddle away. Laurie Bay, a little further, can be prone to huge surf....pick your times well and the entire thing is very doable. Be patient though and stay on shore if the conditions are beyond your comfort zone.
When i paddled Cape Scot last summer, it was pretty big conditions one time....very mild another time. It is a beautiful palce to paddle and to explore.
I did it by sea kayak last summe during a circumnavigation of the Island. Have thought about circumnvavigating the island by canoe as well.

Cheers...Joe O'


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