I had thought about doing this trail next year, but when my daugther annouced she was going to do the trail alone this August, I decided to join her on the adventure. It was last minute, but worth it in everyway (and I was able to secure a last minute permit - not so tough at the end of the season..) Looking back now, I really realize that it was a good decision to join her on the 77 k hike (6 days, five nights - it would be hard to do it faster!) - it was dangerous to the degree that if she had fallen, she could have been in serious trouble. Although they allow 30 people to start on the trail from each direction each day (there is a north entry point and a south entry point - and one voluntary exit point thru tribal land in the middle), people spread out pretty quickly, and there were days when we went for a long time without seeing anyone - and I think 6 to 8 hours would be a long time to wait for help if one had fallen from a 40 ladder - and there were plenty to fall from. During the 6 days we were on the trail, 6 people were medivaced off the trail for health reasons and 12 voluntarily left at the half way point. Although it never rained while we were hiking, it had rained for 2 weeks before, so there a lot of mud to contend with. Despite the challenges, for me, it was one of those epic adventures that my daughter and I will always share the memory of - and I know, for me, it was one of those hikes of a lifetime. I was just so happy in the woods - even if there was endless mud, terrifying log bridge crossings and the occassional bear. And the beach stretches of the walk, which were in sand, gravel and along the tide flats - were beautiful beyond measure. There are also a number of cable cars along the route to cross deeper rivers - easy to go out on but hard to pull your way back up. At one river, the cable car was broken, and the tide was getting dangerously high - so we ended up wading/swimming a thankfully slack stretch - wow, was that wild, with our packs on and no footing! Fortunatley we had lined our packs with garbage bags, so there was no real damage.
We camped every night along the beach, and there were mornings when we could easily identify cougar and bear tracks in the sand. And everytime we looked out on the sea, we could spot grey whales migrating past. One day, when we were waiting to be ferried across a river by a First Nations guy who is paid by Parks Canada to transport people where no cable car is possible, we saw a huge sea lion catching fish in an amazing river lined with cedar and sparkling in the sunshine and I just thought we were in a dream - it was all so perfect - as was the salmon lunch we ate on the other side (one the sea lions hadn't got!) Just writing this makes me wish I could do it all again.
There a good number of people along the trail - but not too many. It was surprising to see how many parents were hiking the trail with their young adult kids - I don't know if the parents were worried about the kids more than the kids worried about the parents, but there was definitely a lot of bonding going on! We camped every night in designated camping areas with others (which I liked for the reason of safety in numbers), but again, we rarely saw people on the trail, unless they were going the other direction. I would say half the people we met were European (lots from Germany) - this hike really is considered world class.
Anyone can do this trail if they set their mind to it. Plan enough time - maybe 7 days if you aren't a young athelete, so you don't push yourself too hard. Doing it in 6 days, we set up camp almost everynight at 7:30 (except the last day_ - it would have been nice to have had one early day to just set up earlier to dry things out and relax.
Anyway, I loved every challenging moment and want to do it again next year. Do bring a pair of dry socks for every day on the trail, wear gators and avoid the crazy woman and her attack dogs at Chez Monique along the beach. This is the adventure of a lifetime, - you'll never forget it!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.