Fancy Falls and Pirouettes
Many miles of boardwalk await you. Be careful! You might
several embarassing seconds I feared I would need help getting up.
One moment I'd been walking the damp and slimy boardwalk unconcerned,
the next, I was airborne like some creative gymnast. My pack went
down first so now I found my arms and feet flapping much like an
overturned turtle. To make matters worse, my landing spot was soft,
spongy moss floating on water. The back of my shorts immediately
began to fill. Without dignity, I straightened and rolled over,
mashing my front against the sopping greenery. As I braced against
the boardwalk to stand, one foot plunged through the moss, wetting my
leg almost to the knee. With a very rude, sucking sound I freed the
foot and turned to sit on the side of the boardwalk. How long had I
been down? Maybe 30 seconds. Oh how life can change. Bits of dripping
animal and plant life ran down my leg to settle on the soggy sock. A
puddle began to form around my butt. "And some poor bastards are
snarled in morning traffic," I thought.
In several places, the trail is a series of mudholes
connected by a path.
I do fancy but precarious manoeuvers
around the edges of the large mudholes in a vain attempt to keep my
legs clean. It's the other guys who left hundreds of boot
penetrations in mid-mud. Sometimes a pattern seems to tell a story.
Is that a boot hole or did a hand go in? Are all those from the same
poor sucker trying to reach the edge. Oh man! How do people end up in
the middle anyway? They must be Olympic long jumpers.
Ladder, Ladder on the Wall
Which is the highest of them all?
Cullite takes the prize at 200+ rungs. For many
people the ladders are the greatest challenge.
We met a man at the bottom of a ladder who said, "You guys go
ahead, I need to wait for my wife and carry her pack up."
"Now you're my kind of guy." I said. "How about I wait and you do
The beauty of the west coast never ceases to impress. Here's
a few images.
It was 7 am at Cribs creek. Over night heavy mist had
settled on everything. Andy lay on the sand under a tarp. The exposed
corners of his sleeping bag were darkened with moisture. His wool
nightcap had sparkling droplets of water clinging to the fibers; and
yet he slept peacefully.
On the Walbran gravel bar, thirty feet removed from the
nearest log or shelter, three hiking guides lay unmoving inside their
"all weather" bags. For them there was no smoothing a spot and
erecting a tent. They simply flopped and settled like driftwood.
Glistening dew had settled over their gortex covers. Bryce, who we
had met two years earlier at Camper, was one of them.
Deep fog moves over Cribs Creek
Flashing white breakers
Smashing beyond the breakwater
Clinging droplets on every surface
Waiting to drip
Pushy, noisy crows unconcerned
Watching for anything revealed
Carmanah in the morning
Cloudless blue from horizon to horizon
Sun sparkled water
A thousand wet and shiny stones fill the creek
No foghorn, no people
Surf roaring before glassy waves
Searching, relentless, squawking crows
Dripping fly, steaming in a beam of light
The Tides They are a'Changing
Be wary of the incoming tide! It can surprise you and trap
The sun was down when a large group arrived at the already crowded
Camper Creek from Thrasher Cove. They set up on the flat, sandy,
comfortable-looking beach close to the creek's edge. In the morning
all the tents had migrated to a line along the high tide mark. A few
frustrated souls had abandoned their tents late in the night and
slept in the open. The quietly flooding tide had formed a small lake
at the creek mouth that filled their tents without warning. What a
way to begin!
Wayne nudged me awake sometime after 10 pm to urge me to look out
the tent door. The water was lapping inches from our tent flap. We
had set up on top of the sandbar on the ocean side of Tsusiat Creek
in hopes of catching some ocean breezes. Earlier, we'd debated long
and hard whether the water would reach its present level. "You whimp!
It won't come this high," I said. Now stumbling and mumbling in the
dark like a bear with an attitude, I gathered my belongings.
Sheepishly, hoping no one would notice, we carried our tent to higher
ground. "Your credibility sucks!" Wayne said.
In the summer of 1996 I was primed and ready to hike the West Coast
Trail, but I couldn't interest any friends in coming along on what
might be a six day hike in a downpour. So, I made the decision to
start solo and hoped to meet people along the way. With just a bit of
trepidation, I boated up from Seattle and drove to Port Renfrew to
begin my adventure.
Is this a hike for women? Read on!
Alone? Hey, I didn't make it any further than the restaurant in Port
Renfrew alone; six great Canadian guys quickly adopted me over
breakfast, and I had six non-stop days of laughter and sunshine
instead of solitude and rain. Plus a little gallantry in a couple of
The morale of my story is: Ladies; don't be intimidated! Make the
decision to GO and to meet people; you'll have a great time and
you'll be proud of your achievement.