Pesuta Shipwreck, Haida Gwaii

The Pesuta Hike is a day trek on the east coast of Haida Gwaii that takes you out to an old shipwreck on the beach. The Pesuta was an old log barge that ran aground during a big storm in 1928, and it has been slowly sinking ever since. It's hard to imagine, but the ship used to be 264 feet long. Just the hull remains on the beach, and every year it gets sucked a little lower into the sand. 

It's a fairly easy hike, about four hours round trip, but plan for a day trip because you won't want to leave the ship once you get there. The trail head is at the Tlell River Bridge, marked by a big official sign and map with plenty of room to hike. The first half hour to an hour (depending on which route you take) is through lush forest. Huge cedar and spruce trees tower overhead, drowning in huge blossoms of moss. The forest floor is so thick with moss that it seems to absorb sound.

If you look carefully, you might spot delicate orchids dotting the mossy ground.

The trees are so weighed down with moss that it's hard to tell where the ground stops and the trees begin. At some points, the forest is so thick that it's hard to even see the sky.

There are plenty of bald eagles chirping in the trees. Below is a juvenile eagle, identifiable by it's dark brown plumage. They don't start getting their classic bald eagle look with the white head and tail feathers until they are close to five years old. Along with their feathers, their eyes also transition from solid dark brown or black to a bright vibrant yellow.

After about half an hour, you have the choice of taking the river route or the east beach route. The east beach route continues through the forest for another half hour and is more well maintained than the river route, but more often than not I take the river route. Sometimes it can be a little muddy, but it's worth it to meander along the riverside.

A word to the wise: plan your hike with the tide! When the tide is high, the river rises all the way up to the forest, forcing you to skirt along or get soaked.

The massive sand dunes are absolutely irresistible to climb up. Every footstep makes a mini avalanche.

And finally - the ship! It's pretty cool to see something so big just sinking into the sand. My first two trips to the Pesuta were five years apart, and it had noticeably receded further into the sand.

Once you get there, you'll never want to leave! Luckily you've got some time until the tide comes back around. Explore the dunes, bury your feet in the warm sand, comb the beach for treasures, or just lay back and enjoy the sounds of the wind rushing through the grass and the surf rolling into the shore :)