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Wild Side Heritage Trail. Vargas Island. Clayoquot Sound. June 20, 2012
Elsie Hulsizer
06/27/2012, posted at Tahsis

Photo: Wild Side Heritage Trail in the forest.

A pungent odor of seaweed filled the air. I looked at one of the many piles of seaweed and kelp on the beach and noticed a cluster of white squid egg sacks. A few minutes later I saw another and another.

The squid eggs were just one of the intriguing things we found on the Wildside Heritage Trail. We also saw stately spruce, hemlock and cedar, carpets of moss sprinkled with flowers, ferns and salal and a deer running on the beach. I was just as glad we didn't see the wolves or cougars others had seen.

The Wild Side Heritage Trail was built and is maintained by the Ahousat Band who live in the village of Marktosis. The Trail consists of a series of beaches separated by forested headlands traversed by boardwalks of hand-cut shakes, winding picturesquely through the forest. We had first walked the trail in 2001 but hadn't been back since. I was curious to see how it was faring. In a rainforest, wooden trails deteriorate quickly and can be overgrown in a few years if not maintained.

We were not disappointed. Although the trail clearly needs more work it was very passable and the occasional new board showed it's being maintained. It's well worth a visit, even at $25 per person.

If you go, anchor in the basin at the end of Matilda Inlet and take your dinghy through the rock-strewn but well-marked entrance to Marktosis. Tie up at the small public dock on your right as you enter the basin and follow the road into town, You won't find any signs but you will find lots of friendly people to direct you. Ask for the Wild Side Trail office. This year it was in a nondescript white building shared with the housing office.

Freedom Cove, Clayoquot Sound
Elsie Hulsizer
06/27/2012, posted at Tahsis

Photo: The floathouse "Fireweed" belonging to Wayne Adams and Catherine King in Freedom Cove, next to Quait Bay

Every time we visit our friends Catherine and Wayne, they have a new addition to their floating complex of magenta and turquoise to show us. This year the big item is a pole, carved and raised by Wayne -- and painted bright magenta. The pole is typical of their floathouse -- part serious art and part whimsy. Also typical is another new addition: a strawberry greenhouse bolstering their ability to feed themselves. "Almost ripe," says Catherine, pointing to the green berries among luxurious plants.

Next door to the strawberry house is their candle factory. Wayne and Catherine are both carvers who make fantastic figures of ivory. Their carvings are expensive (they don't sell a lot of them) so before selling them they make molds from them and then make candles. That way people like us can enjoy them too.

Over dinner that night on the Osprey, they bring us up to date on happenings in their lives in Clayoquot Sound. For years they have been paying a fee to the government as squatters to keep their floathouse on Crown Land. Suddenly the government has announced they are illegal.

"The government wants everybody to live in cities," Wayne told us, reminding me of the owner of the Boardwalk Bistro in Bamfield who told us, "these small towns are withering and the government doesn't give a s- - t."

Wayne and Catherine work hard and live simple but colorful lives on an income less than some of us pay in car payments. Living on their art work would be impossible if they had to pay what the government is requesting. But Wayne is hopeful he'll be able to work something out. Still, things may change and it's worth visiting them and seeing their life style while you can. And be sure to buy some of their candles.

You won't find the name Freedom Cove on the chart; it's Wayne and Catherine's name for their unnamed cove. Here's how to find them. Anchor in Quait Bay and take your dinghy out the east entrance, leaving the small island to starboard. Follow the Vancouver Island shore until you come to a small inlet with two rocks at its entrance. (If you pass a fish farm, you've gone too far.) At first you'll think you must have the wrong inlet, you won't see any house. Then you'll come to a small green floathouse. That's not it! (It belongs go their son.) Keep going. When you round a bend and see a fantastic complex of magenta and turquoise, you'll know you've found it. Catherine and Wayne will welcome you. Tell them Steve and Elsie sent you.

10/03/2012 | Krisanne Alcantara
Hi Steve and Elsie,

My name is Krisanne Alcantara, and I'm a reporter for The Huffington Post in New York City. I'm writing a series on off-grid communities across the globe and Freedom Cove on Clayoquot Sound is a perfect example I'd love to write about. Would you happen to have Catherine and Wayne's email or phone number? I'd really love to speak to them.

Here are some stories I've already written as part of the series.

Yours sincerely,


Krisanne Alcantara
Reporter, AOL-Huffington Post Media Group
C: (646) 255 0948

770 Broadway, 5th Floor
A rough passage. Ucluelet (Barkley Sound) to Quait Bay (Clayoquot Sound). June 17, 2012
Elsie Husizer
06/27/2012, posted at Tahsis

Photo: Lennard Island at the entrance to Clayoquot Sound.

It had rained so hard the day before that the idea of not going out just because of a heavy mist and seas of two-to-three meters seemed sissy. The rumble of sport fishing boat engines at 6 am made it easy to think we were doing the normal thing. But when we got out in the ocean and Osprey rolled and pitched, I wasn't so sure.

Steve looked at the wind speed (light to moderate) and direction (on our nose) and said, " We can take six hours to sail or three hours to motor." We motored.

Three hours later, when we passed Lennard Island at the entrance to Clayoquot Sound, I couldn't imagine pitching and rolling like that for another three hours. Three had been too much! We turned down wind, rolled out the jib and raced up Father Charles Channel into Clayoquot Sound. We'd seen only one other boat at a distance, a power boat close to shore. Where had all those courageous sports fishermen gone? Sailing in June felt lonely.

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Voyages North on SV Osprey
Who: Steve and Elsie Hulsizer (author of Glaciers, Bears and Totems and Voyages to Windward)
Port: Seattle
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