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A veritable supermarket on a stick, cattails were once a source of sustenance as well as comfort to Pacific Northwest natives. Young shoots can be eaten as greens in the spring while young flower spikes can be roasted and eaten like cobs of corn. Young roots or rhizomes (underground stems) can be peeled and eaten as is—sashimi-style, hold the wasabi—or dried and pulverized into flour. Early settlers too discovered that cattail pollen could be harvested and added to bread or pancakes. Cattail down or fluff was collected in autumn for use as a wound dressing or for stuffing pillows and bedding. Cattail leaves found use in native basketry.
Illustration by Manami Kimura
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Written by Brian Grover   
Walbran Cr to Camper Cr 9 km
Awaken well-rested after the long haul on the previous day to realize you have to undertake a mere 9 km amble today. Look a little closer at your map and notice that the terrain, relatively flat thus far, is about to undergo a dramatic transformation. The beach has suddenly become problematic forcing hikers away from the coast and into the forest. A succession of creeks big and small has cut deep ravines across your route. As you will soon discover, this day will stand out as a seemingly endless sequence of ladders, some of them broken, all of them slippery. From this day forward, when you think of the phrase "temperate rain forest" you will recall the magnificent gloom you are about to enter. Depending on the weather, you may also think of mud.

The 3 km from Walbran Creek to Logan Creek could be accomplished on the beach, at least when tides are below 2.1 metres, were it not for the dangerous surge channel at Adrenaline Creek [km 55.] Adrenaline Surge is a wide fissure that cuts through the intertidal shelf to the cliff face where a waterfall tumbles into the channel. During periods of low precipitation, and when tides are below 1.7 metres, an exposed rock in the middle of the surge channel provides a perilous stepping stone to the other side. Be forewarned: hikers have died here.

By comparison, the forest route is largely uneventful. From Walbran Creek you'll climb 150 metres or so to a boggy area, excellent mosquito habitat early in the season, before climbing ladders down into the ravine carved by Adrenaline Creek. After climbing out the other side, it will be another kilometre before you begin descending into Logan Creek canyon [km 56.] Ladders will drop you on to a suspension bridge which should not be crossed by more than six people at once. If you wish to access the beach and camping area follow the trail to the right once you have reached the opposite side of the span. Otherwise mount the ladders again to climb out of the ravine. There is no beach route between Logan Creek and Cullite Creek [km 58.]

The high ground is marshy once again but thankfully the trail is topped with a cedar boardwalk. Pay close attention to your footing as some boards may be cracked or broken. Always try to step across two boards at once in case one happens to give way. Repeat the up-down performance at Cullite Creek, crossing the river via cable car. Even if not camping at Cullite Cove this exquisite site is certainly worth a side trip. From the beach here I have seen a pod of killer whales swim by and on a different occasion, enjoyed watching a family of otters beachcombing in the early morning.

Just ½ km further on you'll encounter the bridge across Sandstone Creek. Descend the ladders to the beach to find another exceedingly attractive campsite complete with tumbling waterfall. Those who have had enough of yo-yo hiking will be pleased to know that the beach now becomes a viable alternative again. The catch is that getting onto the intertidal shelf at Sandstone Creek may require a bit of wading and is not accessible at all when the tide is above 1.2 metres. Having gained the shelf, the beach is passable to Camper Creek when tides are below 1.7 metres. When unsure, err on the side of caution and stay with the boggy forest route. The 3½ km to Camper Creek require no tricky manoeuvring, just steady plodding. As the best, last campsite before the end of the trail, Camper Creek [km 62] can get crowded.


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