WCT Day 3
Today I would get to see Hole in the Rock. I hiked down to the beach so I could see Tsusiat Falls and take a picture. Unfortunately, I must not have pressed the right button on my GoPro because at the end of my trip, I went through my footage and never came across the picture. Too bad, it would have been a good one… I had to climb an 80 foot ladder down and back up in order to see it and get back on the trail. No picture, but I have my memories.
I came across another solo hiker near the falls. He was relaxing in the sun and drying out. He was from Ontario and was heading north. We discussed backpacking trails in Ontario (he recommended I do the Lake Superior Coastal Trail). He also admired my ultralight gear setup and I was more than happy to tell him my thoughts on how to shed a few pounds (for example, trim 2 ounces off 8 pieces of gear and you’ve saved yourself a pound).
I came to Nitinat Narrows and got on my first of two ferries for the trail. I was excited because on the other side of the river was a crab shack. I paid $30 for the halibut lunch with bake potato and a massive amount of butter. I don’t normally eat that much butter but hey, I needed the calories and that’s what Hippie Doug put on it.
I ate lunch and chatted with twin sisters. The one had twisted her knee and they were spending the day at the crab shack trying to decide if they would tough it out and finish the trail or get evacuated. A hiker gets evacuated every other day on the trail and the cost is actually built into your reservation fee.
The way an evacuation would work, is really quite simple. There are a few park rangers throughout the trail (I only saw them at lighthouses) also Hippie Doug had a radio and the burger joint called Chez Monique’s had one too. If you need to be evacuated, it has to be one of these folks to contact the outside world. In this case, since we were on the river, help would come by zodiac. They would take you out to a main boat on the ocean which had a helicopter (I think) that could get you to safety. Helicopter rescue was also possible if you were in the forest. Although the weather has to be really clear and I think that is an absolute last resort.
I was running late and still had quite a distance to cover before nightfall. I had to get on the move and pick up the pace to get on track. Which made me learn an important lesson. I can walk all day at a certain pace and not get too tired, but If I pick things up just 10%, a few hours later and I’m completely exhausted - way more than I should be.
It was around 5 pm and my legs were starting to get heavy… I was tripping more and more on tree roots since I was inadvertently dragging my feet. I caught a good root and tripped near a ledge. I luckily caught myself before falling over the ledge, which would have been about a 10 foot drop. It wouldn’t have killed me, but enough to cause injury and potentially prevent me from finishing the trail. This was a sign for me to set up camp and call it a day.
I would now be behind schedule but safety first. Luckily, a short time after this, I was getting water from a large puddle and came across a few hikers. One of them was a cute hiker chick I had met on the bus ride up. She was hiking north so she got off the bus at Port Renfrew (south trailhead) while I continued on the bus to Bamfield (north trailhead). We parted ways then but I was hoping to cross paths with her again (she was from Saskatchewan and recommended I do the Grey Owl’s Cabin hike if I’m ever in the area). We hiked back to their makeshift camp which was a few hundred meters away. It wasn’t an official campsite (it was near Cheewhat River at kilometer 36) but they had a difficult day and said ‘fuck it’ we aren’t hiking anymore today. I was in the same boat. Parks Canada wants you to only camp at designated campsites, but they also don’t like evacuating people due to injury.
I hung out with the group and we chatted by the fire, my first real good conversations of the trip.