Sea Lion Caves
November 26, 2013
Yesterday I hiked the sea lion caves trail, which leads to a community of large, fleshy, and boisterous beasts on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island.
The hike takes about two hours each way and briefly shares space with the Juan de Fuca Trail. The sea lions trail head is south of Port Renfrew, near the bridge over Jack Elliot creek. The first third of the hike is an easy walk on a fire road but the rest is a challenging scramble over and around and under a gnarly and slippery mass of roots and limbs. Following a narrow spine that falls away sharply on both sides, the path is not for the faint of heart. But as one approaches the coast, the call of the sea lions beckon. While listening to this odd soundtrack, the barely-a-path becomes a slip and slide down a long slope to the rock shore, assisted only by a worn rope with an occasional knot. Gloves are recommended for the belay down, and then the back up on return.
I traveled light, taking only a 20/2.8d and the almost-as-small 28-200g for the D800E. The 28-200 hasn't been out since being on a Nikon D70 in Peru in 2005. I've kept the 28-200 as a candidate travel lens, though its quality and ergonomics - the plastic mount and the short-throw between extreme focal lengths - pale in comparison to my other lenses. The 70-300, with its longer reach and VR, would have served better for capturing the sunning sea lions and the swimming silver-backed seals, but the 28-200 served me well.
Vancouver Island shoreline
Hikers, Sea Lions cave trail