Other working titles for this blog post:
“Imagine if it was raining”
“Well, that was bullshit”
“Knee brace; the undervalued accessory”
On July 24, Denis, Annette, Tom and I headed north from Port Renfrew to Bamfield on the West Coast Trail. We thought we knew what we were getting into-we had read everything on the internet about it as well as several books. We thought we might struggle.
But we THRIVED!
Well, thrived might be a bit of an exaggeration. More like, we survived. We also took a lot of video and I put together a collaboration. If you have about 4 minutes of your life to give up, watch it here: West Coast Trail Video
Here is a quick overview of our trip and what it entailed:
Sleeping in a tent
6 sleepless nights spent in a tent that manages to keep all smells in while not letting a refreshing breeze in. Annette has a cute little story about the mouse who found a way in to her tent on night 6, and scurried across her arm just as she fell asleep. Something about punching Denis and tipping the entire tent upside down. Talk to her about it sometime.
7 days of trekking 75km. It’s more like 75 miles. And the ladders. And the hiking in the sand. And in the mud. And over/under/through trees. And through the water. Each day we were packed up and on the road by 9 and our day didn’t end until 3:30 at the earliest or 6:00 at the latest. In case you can’t do the math, that is basically hiking all day!
Actually this part was not so bad. 2 days we were fed by restaurants along the trail. Chez Moniques (not Monty’s sister) fed us 3 tall boy beers each and a delish burger. Nitinat Narrows fed us fresh crab and halibut and only 2 regular sized beers. Our only complaint was our lunches. Turns out you can only eat so much beef jerkey and trail mix for lunch before you start to think about just being extra hungry for supper.
Carrying huge packs: Denis weighed his in at 62lbs, Tom 60, Annette and I tied at 42.
Toilets (or not)
I mentioned earlier that we would have to bury our poo. Turns out they have installed composting toilets at each campground.
These are excellent options if you:
- Can climb the ladder to the toilet (harder than you might think)
- Have to go while you’re at camp. Which is either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. So if you’re someone who is used to going at 10am everyday, you might want to talk to your body about this. Just sayin’
Of course for other bathroom business, we were happy to let it go anywhere. Even on low tide if the other campers were just far enough away that they couldn’t make out your face.
And I’m not just talking about our crew. Sure, we were known as the party crew thanks to Annette bring 3L of wine and me getting a bottle of tequila for my birthday. But, we heard of several close encounters with bears. Which made some of us a bit more scared than others. Thankfully my excellent jokes combined with Annette’s laugh kept them at bay.
Real or imagined, we had a few. Luckily Denis used to be a medic in the army or something. Whatever his title, it included being an excellent repairer of blisters. Also, Tom brought two knee braces. Day 1, Net grabbed one of them. Day 2, Denis had the other one. Day 3, I asked Annette if it was my turn to wear one. I then took turns between both knees for a couple days to make sure they were well looked after. If you look closely in the pics, you will see at least 2 people in knee braces at all times.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better it did. The beach scenes were gorgeous, the forest scenes were gorgeous. The views from the bridges-gorgeous. And there are 2 hole in the wall cave things to walk through. Amazing! And all of it is pretty unspoiled.
Oh, we had spills and falls. And as soon as someone asked “Are you alright?”, the only answer to come back is “Yup, I’m Ok!” That would usually be followed by a joke of some sort. Probably we would see some duct tape later and maybe even a totally swollen wrist. The only way out was either finishing the damn hike or getting evacuated. And no one wanted to go that way. So it was one foot in front of the other when we didn’t feel like there were any steps left.
It was a week like no other in my life and I feel very grateful to have completed it. What’s next?!