Some Trail Knowledge

Fancy Falls and Pirouettes

Many miles of boardwalk await you. Be careful! You might fall.

For several embarrassing 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.

Morning Images

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 you!
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 wimp! 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.


Gender Bender

Should women hike alone?

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.

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 rough spots.

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.

-A Kick-Ass American Woman

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