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Common Plantain
What drives the home gardener mad is good news for the outback-bound as common plantain is common indeed. Young leaves can be eaten as is like lettuce while the more mature ones benefit from steaming or boiling like kale or spinach. Chop and season before eating. Common plantain is a good trail-side source of vitamins C, A and K. Much like aloe, a poultice of crushed plantain leaves is said to be a beneficial treatment for burns and insect stings.
Illustration by Manami Kimura
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The West Coast Trail- Day One E-mail
(7 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   
Pachena Bay to Michigan Creek 12 kilometres.
After signing in at Pachena Bay at the northern end near the community of Bamfield you'll find the going very easy at first. A number of impassible headlands make beach walking out of the question until Michigan Creek. The first 10 km of the trail follow what was once a supply road for the Pachena Point Lighthouse. As a consequence the trail is generally flat and so wide that walking two abreast is possible. Just a kilometre before the lighthouse on this pretty but otherwise uneventful section of trail a viewpoint affords a view of Flat Rocks where sea lions often enjoy basking in the sun on a warm spring or autumn day.

At the lighthouse you'll be greeted in your native language no matter where in the world you come from. Hikers are welcome to look around the Lighthouse grounds during posted visiting hours but keep in mind that this is home to the lighthouse keepers. Disturb nothing including the keepers as they go about their daily chores. Only recently the original tower was decommissioned, replaced with an automated light-on-a-stick. The original beacon at Pachena Point, now a Recognized Heritage Building, is the last remaining wooden lighthouse in British Columbia. The massive Fresnel lens and oil wick lamp have operated faultlessly since 1907.

Two kilometres on consider calling it a day at the popular Michigan Creek campsite[km 12.] After setting up camp check out the boiler and other rusty bits of iron from the steamship Michigan that ran aground here in January 1893 costing a number of lives.

Much of the next day will be spent hiking along the beach. Loose rocks, slippery seaweed-covered surfaces, soft sinking sand and surge channels all require special attention especially when encumbered with a heavy backpack. The majority of ankle, wrist and arm injuries occur on the intertidal shelf. A sturdy driftwood walking stick or ski pole can go a long way towards providing the additional stability needed along the shore route. Once you reach the ladders at the bottom end of the trail you'll doubtless agree that a collapsible walking stick is well worth the investment.


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