Monday, 17 September 2012

West Coast Trail

Back from hiking the WCT. A truly spectacular hike. My husband described it as an epic journey. I would say that it is a once in a lifetime hike.

For a prairie girl, my one wish that would complete my WCT experience was to see a whale. Day 3 we were hiking along a shelf around Dare Point and one of the guys in our group saw an Orca, pointed it out and kept hiking. Daryl and I were a few meters behind and did not see the sight. I was so disappointed. The tide was rising and we knew we could not linger long on the shelf, but I needed to stand and look out into the ocean and just wait and see. A few minutes later, the Orca came up for air and we saw the dorsal fin. We watched the whales for several more minutes and then were forced to move on before we got stranded and wet. What a thrill. The whale watching was not over for us though. Day 5, Daryl convinced me to hike along the beach. I found the beach hiking the most strenuous on my hips. Anyway, we were taking a break, laying back on the sand with our feet propped up on some driftwood. Daryl chants, "Here whale, whale, whale", then states, "You never know if you are watching a whale or a rock." Then all of a sudden he sees the whale exhale from the blowhole. Both of us were amazed as we giggled and watched with glee. We hiked the next 2 kms not paying attention to our footing and the path, but instead on the ocean hoping for another glance of the gray whales. They did not disappoint.

Things I saw that were impressive : a lookout from the top of a cliff that plummeted 30-40 m, tidal pools, the constant motion of the ocean.

Things I saw that were shocking: people hiking in sneakers, a young man carrying an 80 lbs pack (it looked like he was carrying a refrigerator), watching the crab legs (for my lunch at Nitnat Narrows) being torn off the body of the crab while still alive.

The one thing I saw that was depressing: watching our jambalaya supper topple off a log into the sand.

At the mandatory orientation session before the hike, we were told that there were 82 evacuations to date from the beginning of the hiking season in May. My prayer throughout our 6 days on the trail was to be sure footed. I was excited to start the backpacking journey, yet a little nervous. During our time out on the trail 11 more people were evacuated. I was somewhat surprised and I wondered who the individuals were. What circumstances brought them to end their journey. I was thankful for God's protection over us when we finished the hike The trail did not brutalize my feet and body too badly. No significant amount of rain to soak through boots and cause foot rot and blisters. Sore muscles, at least until I took my ibuprofen and extra strength Tylenol, sore feet, and numb big toes. That is  the strangest "injury" that persists 2 weeks after finishing. A quick Google search seems to suggest that we are experiencing a common tree planters injury called "Christmas toe", meaning I will gain feeling back by Christmas.
tasty crab
Alive crab

I guess I will have until Christmas to fondly remember my journey on the WCT. Epic, breathtaking, challenging, adrenaline pumping, exhausting, rejuvenating, awe-inspiring.