West Coast Trail: Day 2

Day 2: Thrasher Cove -> Cullite Cove = 12 KM

Unrecommended journey. In fact, as I write two weeks after the day, I struggle remembering it. That post-traumatic stress you know…it makes you forget things.

We left Thrasher Cove early that morning after a somewhat sleepless night for myself. I had to get up at 3 am and pee in the dark of the beach, 15 steps away from the tent, wildly swivelling my head with my headlight clenched in my teeth. Watching too many horror movies will do this to you.

7:50 am we left onto the beach in an attempt to reach Owen’s Point before the tide was too high to visit the caves. From what I remember we walked on some beach shelf which was my favorite. Small tidal pools everywhere, filled with anemones, barnacles, snails, hermit crabs, and small fish. I can’t remember what came first, the balancing and hiking across hundreds of gigantic beached and sun-bleached trees, or the boulders. I fell behind quickly, as I tried to choose my footholds wisely, and the one pole I was using probably saved my life a couple times. I’m kind of a slow-poke when it comes to hiking, but with a residual of about 65 km ahead of me, I wasn’t about to rush. Besides, a guy I talked to in the summer hiked this trail and witnessed a guy breaking his leg on the boulders. That ain’t happening to me, nuh uh. Any attempt to keep up with my friends resulted in many slips, ankle twisting, and balance problems; my backpack was as big as me!

We weren’t sure what our hiking plan would be for the day, but our tentative goal for the day was to make it to Camper Creek and re-evaluate from there. Once again, with a slow pace I stayed at the back, as this day was much harder than the day before. Once we passed the beached trees and the boulders, we arrived finally at Owen’s Point. It was beautiful, and made for some good pictures. We explored the caves just bit, but the tide had started to come back and we weren’t able to go around the point. The only choice was up the rocky point via some knotted ropes left there by past hikers (NOT Parks Canada).

After Bonnie climbed up and took our backpacks, hauling them up with the rope, we climbed up after. Oh and don’t look down please. We came back down on the beach for a bit and walked on what looked like the surface of the moon. Pocketed rock everywhere. Erika stayed up top by the trees to check out a possible crossing while Bonnie and I walked below. There was a steep and VERY shiny looking ramp of rock that ended in boulders below. Erika read the sign posted. “This says DANGEROUS SLOPE: DO NOT CROSS” she called. “Oh,” I said, and after a long pause “you gonna do it?”. Word to the wise, never jokingly dare your friends, especially if they are a mother of four. She got three steps over the slope, and was holding onto a tree for dear life, precariously sitting half on her side. Long story short Bonnie dropped her pack and went up to help her across. Nothing like a little life-and-death experience to wake you up in the morning. We ate lunch at the Beach Access in the forest. The power bar and beef jerky left my jaw sore and tired. Bonnie went for a walk for a little while down to the beach, and came back saying “look who I found!”.The three husbands had crossed the beach all the way to the impassable surge channel, so she “redirected” them to the beach access. The whole morning we had been passing people who were saying Camper Creek was crowded and not as nice as Cullite, a campground four kilometres further. Apparently it was a two and a half hour hike, which doesn’t sound so bad, in theory, and when you’ve heard it at the beginning of the morning. After almost six hours of ladders, roots, and whatnot, we finally got to the Camper Creek campground, and it was beautiful. My only complaint is that it was covered in those river rocks, so every step you take is at risk to your ankles. While my friends discussed somewhere by the trees, I napped at the creek, exhausted. It was 2:30pm and the ole hip was hurting. Here, I don’t enjoy the view of a beautiful place…I sleep in it!

At one point while I napped I heard splashing, cracked open an eye to see a naked woman bathing in the creek. Ok, that’s weird, I thought, and continued to nap. The three husbands were staying here the night, and it would be the only night the entire trip we wouldn’t see them. The bad news walked over in the form of Bonnie, who said this campground was too crowded and if Cullite is only two and a half hours later then it would be a better bet. Oh, if ONLY it had been two and half hours.

 Four and half hours later, I was wondering how my body even hiked a 10-11 hour day through some of the biggest ladders I’ve ever climbed, pack or no pack. I got so tired at the ladders going up and down into Cullite that I started categorizing them by how many times I’d have to stop on the way up.

“Oh man…this is a three-break ladder guys.” A happy camper that day I was not.

 At last, at 7:15pm we were rolling, er, limping into Cullite. It was pretty…but we didn’t get to see much of it that night since the sun was setting by the time we got there. There were quite a few people in that campground. A crazy German guy, who was reminiscent of this guy Klaus I once worked with, invited us to this fire he was building for everyone. My quads were dying, and squatting or bending down was torture.  After set up, and a delicious Chicken Vindaloo, we made tea and joined the people at the fire. We met a group of four Canadian girls travelling south to north as we were, two of them were archaeologists, one a kayak instructor, and the other was comic relief I think. There were also two Swiss couples, but only one of them was going our way. Roland and Ursula were fit, but the Canadian girls leaked to us that on the ladders, Ursula was so tired that her husband would climb the ladder, drop his pack off at the top, come down, take hers, and take it to the top. And many ladders were done like that. Unreal! Good husband.

Sleeping was much better the second night, partly from utter exhaustion, but it was comforting that we were in the company of so many people. NO BLISTERS YET!

Day 3 tomorrow…

Sierra

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