The day we set out to Chez Moniques in the middle of the West Coast Trail seems like it was yesterday. But it really was almost 2 weeks ago. The rain was making the boat trip an agonizing experience and I think I've never been that soaked before. When we arrived a friendly hiker said the famous words: Welcome to Chez Monique's!
Indeed, the time at Chez Monique's passed way to fast. One day was the next and everything was calm and relaxed, without a worry in the world. Wake up in the morning, lie in your little tent in your cozy sleeping bag until the guilt drove you out because you heard the others already preparing the first breakfasts for those damn hikers. Working from around 9am to 2 pm could be a bit busy and stressful, especially if you didn't know your way around the kitchen, but that soon turned to routine. The afternoons were mostly sunny, warm, and full of spare time to relax on the beach or walk to the mountain creek some 2km down the strip of sand that was Carmanah Bay. The occasional damned hikers that turned up in the late afternoons or evening got us upset and working in the kitchen again, but hey: we get free burgers, omelettes, scrambled eggs, drinks, fish, chocolates, fruit, chips and anything else we had there for free, so it was fine. Sometimes you would work the kitchen, sometimes in the "garden" which was basically the whole beach and the forest behind it. Digging compost holes, stream diverts, or carrying up wood and splitting it with the old axe, there was something to do at all times and for everyone.
The time passed much too quick, before we knew it one week had passed and we starting to talk about hiking out, maybe thursday? yeah, thursday, we'll hike out with Sarah (another Woofer at Chez Monique's), she's got a car and can drive us back to Victoria when we're back in Port Renfrew. And so it came, we set out on Thursday, leaving Monique, her endless supply of food and the carefree world of Carmanah Beach behind us.
13km, that was our planned distance for the first day. 6km on the beach, relatively easy and quick, only 2 hours for that part - although i had a badly hurting right foot, still do, and don't know why - followed by a long 7km through the forest, brush, over ladders, under treetrunks, through mud and much much more. We arrived at 6pm at our destination - Cullite Creek. Camping by the beach shortly behind the first trees to have at least some wind protection.
The next day followed and we set out for the most difficult part of the trip: 4km to Campers Bay. It took us 4 hours and we didn't continue on to the next 8km to the next campground as it had been planned, because first: my foot was hurting (full of blisters and that recurring ache I mentioned earlier) and second: Sarah, who we were hiking with, seemed to be getting a bad cold and wouldn't have been able to walk another 100m.
We camped at Campers Bay, making ourselves that great dehzdrated camping food, in our case: soup followed by lasagna with meat sauce - actually tasted quite good. That evening we decided to take on the last 13km the following day. Some hikers told us it wasn't possible to do in one day, others said they were doing the same, so we looked at our food supplies and got to the conclusion: we have to hike out - not much food left.
The next day came, and we set off, 8km, my blisters were hurting very bad, short break, eat KitKat, drink water, set out to the highest point on the trail, steep muddy mountainside to climb up, followed by easy straight paths through a forest that started to resemble our european ones and some difficult climbing passages, always switching difficulty.
Then finally, we arrived at the end, at the ferry that would take us over to Port Renfrew from where we had some friendly Canadians who took us along in their car for 3km to the Trailhead Office, where we sat down and wondered how we would get to the car. We ended up walking another 500m - in my case it was more of a dragging than walking - damn 20kg pack...until anmother Canadian hollered down to us from a driveway. He gave us a quick lift in his Pickup - Canadians are very friendly people I must say - and brought us down to the car.
From there it was some packing the car, some brushing off dirt, followed by a long drive back to Victoria. When we arrived late in the evening we found out that all the Hostels were booked out and that we had no place to sleep. We ended up driving to one of the recreational parks by the water, parking the car on the lot (which wasn't actually allowed) and sleeping there, smelly, unwashed since about 4 days, and tired to the brink of collapsing. Today we woke up stiff and still sore, my feet still hurting, hardly able to walk right and set out to find a Hostel room for tonight, we got one, but we can't check in until 3pm...it is now 9am...still some time to beat until we can shower and sleep in a bed.
Anyway, I hope that wasn't too much text, and that you can somehow understand my sentences, they could be a bit screwed up - I'm still tired.
Pictures of our trip will come soon as will info on the plans for the future, until then peace out, see ya!