The Beach Boogie
loose sand and gravel of the beach presents a
special kind of walking.
One of my hiking
companions was a 6' 5', 250 pound ex-football
defenseman. Compared to this tower of strength, I and my other two
companions were midgets. His greater strength became more noticeable
when we had to plough long hours over loose beach sand. Giant strides
kept him well out in front. We had to run to keep up. Almost by
accident, one of us stumbling, short guys discovered that walking in
the big guys compressed tracks was easier than striking across virgin
sand. Soon we were a single file column moving up the beach like a
drunken snake. When our big leader stopped we stopped. When he moved
we moved. He never discovered we were hopping from one, size 13
triple-E footprint to the next, until that evening over an aperitif.
Have you ever watched grown men giggle?
by Ian Fripp, 1997
the West Coast Trail except we had SUN SUN
SUN all week long. You guys have also inspired my friend Mark and I
to do the West Coast Trail and another major hike every year. You
have turned me into a diehard hiker and I love it! The people around
me (except my friend Mark) think I'm nuts.
On the Wild Side
are told a few of the more zany things that have
happened on the trail.
was a warm, comfortable day around the Tsusiat waterfall. Many
trekkers had stripped to relax and swim in the pool. Many were lazily
sunbathing among the logs and on the sandbar. The tranquil scene was
abruptly transformed by the arrival of a helicopter carrying curious
tourists. The chopper landed in a swirl of blowing sand and disgorged
four plump rich folk who tread carefully among the staring,
disgruntled hikers. These invaders might well have been from another
anonymous hiker spins a story
The chaperone on our
high school hiking trip liked to reminise about
his previous West Coast Trail hikes while we sat captive around the
evening campfire. One hysterical story had us all rolling off our
logs. He'd gone to bed on a cool, starry night after drinking an
abundance of coffee and awakened late in the night desperate to
relieve himself. Moving like a blind bull, for he was a very big man,
he emerged from his tent and immediately emptied his bladder into the
moonlit shadows. The next morning, at first glance, he knew what he
had done. His pack lay crumpled with a tiny pool of urine caught
among its folds. His aim had been as true as a William Tell arrow.
Later, as the sun warmed the soaked fabric, a pungent steam filled
the trail around him. Needless to say, no one walked near him for
we forget, the hike may mean living for seven days
without our accustomed personal hygiene.
I met a trekker on a west
coast beach who said
With deep and penetrating mystical voice,
"There are no flies on my pack, for I am clean.
I need no fresh under garment, for I wear none.
Hide not that scented shirt for the final day!
Glory in the smothering shock of damp cotton.
Drink not but that which
is pumped or boiled.
Let the tidal zone purge your puckered bowels
Or suffer the claustrophobic stench of the pit.
Heed my words; be among Mother's chosen,
Or hike forever unheralded and mediocre
Without the status of wafting, smoked locks
Unsupported by stained and stiffened fabric
Devoid of the essence of trekker bonding.
prepared for blisters and pain!
Let me tell you a
story about a dreaded condition known as SBD
(severe body damage). Our buddy Roy, an executive computer geek,
whose idea of roughing it was to wear clothing from Kmart, developed
a blister on the bottom of one toe during the first day on the trail.
By the second day he had a series of blisters on all of his toes and
some ugly discoloration on the balls of his feet. Like all macho men,
Roy made light of his new found tootsie sensors. As his blisters
ruptured and deepened, strange odours, unlike those normally expected
after a day in the boots, pervaded the tent. Alas, Roy was convinced
that daily, bare-foot strolls in the healing surf would cleanse his
worsening wounds. However, on the fifth day, we spotted vulture-like
birds hovering overhead, undoubtedly drawn by the carrion odour
wafting from his boots. Small, but significant body parts (toe nails,
cartilage, etc.) began to drop off, but still his torturous gait
carried him forward. On the sixth day, the end beckoned from a few
yards beyond a final series of rocks. Visions of fresh socks,
comfortable shoes and dress shirts distracted him. This poor
de-nailed, limping, gimp-like person made one final rush. Wrenching,
rivoting pain struck like lightning when an unseen rock collided
full-throttle with the toes of his boots. We pressed him to explain
how both boots struck at once, but he was in no mood to discuss it.
The sudden stop jammed all his bleeding, putrid toes into the end of
his boots and crushed his waining spirit. For several weeks
afterwards, Roy winced on curbs and stairs like a shocked labratory