Wilderness School youth hiked through mud and muck at Cape Beale

Braving the mud, a group of Power To Be Wilderness School youth took to the trail this past weekend, slogging their way to Tapaltos Beach where they would set-up a base camp and enjoy the beauty of the rugged West Coast. During an afternoon exploring Tapaltos and its surrounding pocket beaches the group was rewarded with sea arches, bear tracks, plentiful beachcombing and inter-tidal life.


That night around a roaring campfire the group was told the heroic story of Minnie Patterson. Minnie was the wife of a Cape Beale lighthouse keeper. In 1906, in an effort to seek help for the crew of the damaged vessel Coloma that was soon to be wrecked on the rocks off Cape Beale, Minnie braved the rugged trail from the lighthouse in to Bamfield solo. Minnie’s bravery and speed paid off, the crew was rescued and she received national recognition for her actions.



The following day the Wilderness School youth recreated Minnie’s footsteps as they hiked the trail from Tapaltos out to Cape Beale. Once the group made it to the lighthouse they received a warm welcome from the light keepers Karen and Jason. As the oldest lighthouse on Vancouver Island, the place is shroud in history and has an intrigue about it. The youth couldn’t help but ask a few great questions to the keepers including, “What’s the most interesting thing that has washed up?” (you’ll have to pay a visit to the place to find out the answer).




In addition to being treated to amazing coastal views, the youth were also treated to some of Karen’s homemade cookies and some fresh veggies from her garden to add to that evening’s dinner. As if that wasn’t enough, nature had one more surprise in store. A black bear was foraging for food in the inter-tidal lagoon below the lighthouse and hung around just long enough for the group to watch him for awhile before they made the trek back to camp at Tapaltos.




Settled back at base camp they watched the sunset over Barkley Sound one final time before heading home.   


– Story shared by Clay Webb, Wilderness School curriculum coordinator