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Published: April 18th 2013
BC parks basically notches the logs as they fall to make stairs
We are in training to hike the Juan de Fuca trail and expect to start our trip on April 12,2013. It is about 47 KM and we will be hiking from south to north. The hike should take about 4 days and the plan is to be back home on Salt Spring on the 16th or so. The home date is quite important since I have to leave for a Habitat leaders conference in Toronto on the 18th.
Both of us have been doing lots of hill climbing with weight as our packs will have to contain the tent plus sleeping bags,mattresses, food, scotch,extra clothes etc. I expect to carry about 45 pounds and Jan is aiming for 25 pounds. This trail is not as long as the West Coast trail which we did in the spring of 2009. There are lots of opinions about which is the hardest-we will decide after and provide a full report...
The trail conditions appear to be the same as the WCT and our old friend "mud" is apparently present in large quantities. ( also lots of roots, rocks and large hills) We are taking gaiters and hiking poles. There are also quite
View from the forest
Most of the trail is within sight of the ocean
a few warnings about bears and cougars so we have rope (to hang our food) and a bear scarer.
Jan and I have friends in Sooke who will help by dropping us off at the trail head near Jordon River. We are also going to pre-spot a car in Port Renfrew so we can hike to it and not have to be picked up. There are lots of warnings about unsolicited auto body work being done in the remote parking lots so we are going for a paid secure spot in Port Renfrew.
Another day of organizing- we have pre-paid the camping fees on the BC Parks site-$10/person per night. The parking lot program is also taken care of-A guy called Evan in Port Renfrew has a parking service ($5/car per day) We are getting the early season rate of $3/car per day.
In addition to hiking with weight (40lbs) I have also been cycling-I did 72 kms today plus 2 other long rides in the past 10 days.The Saanich/Victoria trail network is the best.
Now 8th of April-3 more days and then it will be off to Sooke. Another cycle day (52 kms) so I
Jan thinking about the next hell
We are heading out after a lunch stop
am at 400 kms since start of year-hope to do 3000 this year. One more heavy pack training day tomorrow then we will both take a rest until we start the hike on Friday. The weather doesnt look good for day one +8C and rain, then a mix of sun and clouds for the rest of the trip. Perhaps we are a month early but there is no choice as noted above.
I am getting sick of checking the weather but it appears after the day one rain,it will be clear ,cool and windy. (they are talking -2C at night) The conundrum is weight versus warmth for clothes and sleeping bags.
On Thursday we left Salt Spring with two cars, one of which we took to Port Renfrew to leave at the garbage transfer station with Evan. Hopefully my Suburu won't end up in the dumpster but the check engine light is back on??? We then came back to Sooke to visit and stay with Danny and Janice Willis who used to be our next door neighbours here on SSI. We went out for dinner (great seafood) and then went back to their house (for more incessant weather
A bit of a rest
The pack got heavier due to the wet clothes
checking-day one could be wet)
The next morning it was off to the China Beach trailhead which is about 3-4 kms north of Jordan River. The two of us did a quick unload and then were off down the trail just as it started to rain. This section is described as intermediate by the author of the Giant Cedars,White Sands trail guide.(Donald C Mills) The first 2.2 km to Mystic Beach were very easy with the trail getting progressively harder as we went. The day one objective was to hike to Bear Beach and camp at about kilometre 10 but the rain influenced us to make camp as soon as we got through Rosemond Creek (by wading in bare feet-water temperature about +5C) After setting up camp in the rain ,we had scotch and stew. The warm sleeping bags then called us and we were in bed by shortly after 7.00.Day one highlights included hypothermia,a near fall over a cliff by Jan, crossing the first suspension bridge (it is possible to cross these things with your eyes closed) and the disintegration of my Vasques-may need to get out the duct tape. We also remembered that we had planned to
MSR Hubba Hubba
get warmer bags after the West Coast Trail.....
Day two dawned early and the weather was still a bit damp plus we had wind.The day two section was reputed to be the hardest section with 11 huge hills to go up and down-each one being about 80 meters. There wasn't a lot of mud but quite a few fallen tree issues.This section went from Bear Beach to Chin Beach and is about 11.5 km. Our hike started at 9.30 and continued for 9 fun filled hours. Because it was still raining and we were wet and cold , we set up our tent in the Chin Beach shelter with about a million mice. However we were able to get some clothes a bit dry and it was a good choice (except I had to go an extra kilometre to get water) We are using a 4 litre wine bag and treating the water with chlorine.Supper was hamburger helper with fake meat (soy) plus scotch and drambuie-yes!
Day three was supposed to be the start of easier hiking and we had high hopes for a weather improvement. Self delusion comes easily in the wilderness. The next morning after breakfast
Another view point
Beaches are spectacular
we struggled into our wet shoes and damp clothes and set off down the BF ladder to the beach to start what we hoped would be a cakewalk in the sun-hah! It stayed cold, windy and damp until we got to the big suspension bridge over Loss Creek at Km 23.8. (maybe 200 feet high) The hills to there were just as bad as the day before. Then out came the sun, clothes started to dry and the trail got a bit easier. However this trail can switch back to sheer hell in a second as we discovered at Sombrio Point -we could see this beautiful sand beach from the cliff we were on but getting there was a major challenge involving rock climbing, mud filled ascents/descents, more mud, even more mud as well as various confusing trail searches. We finally popped out on to the beach into the warm sunlight , had lunch and decided to camp there for the night. Our camp was at Km 27 so we have about 20 Km to go. Our new scheduled completion day may now be Tuesday.
Day Four (Monday) and hopes are high for good weather and an easier trail.
Loss Creek Suspension Bridge
Not my favourite part of the trip-mind over matter thing
Our objective is to make it to Km 40 which would mean camping at Payzant Creek- this will leave 7 Km for the last day. The conventional wisdom is that KM 29 to Km 47 is your basic cakewalk.
We had a cool night in the tent due a slight breeze from the ocean-no rain and the clear night probably took the night temperature down to +3C?
The next day the two of us were up and gone at 9.30-nice day but the trail hit us with a superior class of mud. We were thinking a bit about trying to make the trail head in one day but the conditions were not conducive to fast travel.The section to Kutzee Creek was hilly and muddy so our progress was slow and it didn't get much better so hiking operations ceased for the night at Payzant. We had KD and the last of the scotch and prepared ourself for the next days cakewalk...
Tuesday morning-cool and clear. We were up early (6.30) and managed to get everything loaded quickly so we were able to leave at 7.45. The trail got easier with lots of boardwalks and we arrived at
We were usually 100 feet above the water.
the trailhead in 3 hours and 15 minutes. Our plan was to hitchhike into Port Renfrew but there wasn't one car heading our way so we got to enjoy another 4 km hike on the road. A major physical challenge over with and we were happy to be on our way home.
On reflection I would say we enjoyed the West Coast Trail more than this one. Part of the reason was the weather but this trail is more physically challenging-In contrast it is probably more spectacular from a scenic standpoint.-Both are worth doing. Just be ready....
Tot: 2.367s; Tpl: 0.055s; cc: 16; qc: 56; dbt: 0.0419s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb