September 1, 2016

Obstacle Course continues on the West Coast Trail Day 2

Parks Canada allows only 65 hikers a day to head out on the trail and today is our lucky day. Sun is shining as Butch ferries us across the Gordon River Inlet to begin our hike on the West Coast Trail.

Backpacks on , one last check to make sure they are secure and we land in front of one of more than 80 ladders that we will encounter on this very technical trail. You soon learn that you don't get to see the West Coast Trail but that you do The West Coast Trail.  I always wondered why there were not alot of pictures of the trail. There is no way to take pictures and be present at the same time. Eyes on trail at all times.

Ok Lets do this.
Ladder One right off the bat. Learning to climb with a 37 lb backpack is emminent.

Todays hike will take us inland to the highest point on the the trail, thru forest and old growth trees. Final destination Thrashers Cove. Did I mention mounds and mounds of roots. It will take 6 hours to hike 6km.
Lesson number 1 - Be the first up the ladders - you get a rest at the top while the others ascend.
We were excited but the trailmates were quiet with anticipation and for me the shear terror that we are climbing all day.
Thank god for our guides who let us know there would be pack off breaks and boots off lunch. We shared carrying parts of lunch and dinner and the negotiations began early to eat everything cuz it was going back in your pack.
 After 3.5 hrs of mud pits, roots and ladders, we have completed merely 3 km (no wonder we had only planned for 6 km for the day) when we came to  the rusty donkey machine (km 72). Used by loggers to haul heavy logs, the machine rusted in quiet idleness since logging ceased in the 70's, and became a trail monument.

 We stopped in the moss-covered forest for lunch (bagels with cream cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers). Boots off and refill of water which there was plenty of on the trail.

We are quickly learning and laughing with our new found hiker buddies and finding out we need to rely on each other to get over some very precarious slippery sections and even get our water bottles out of our packs.
After a great lunch, we resumed our hike. While we were making slow progress (1 km/hr) due to all the obstacles, the slow pace actually kept us from getting tired. Mark and Tessa kept the pace doable and for that I am thankful.

We made our way to km 70 - counting backwards cuz we are doing the hard part first we turned to leave the forest and head to the sea by a side trail.

We found ourselves at the top of a long series of ladders, 50 storeys high. I, coffee could not tell how tall the ladders were; they just went on and on.  At the bottom of the ladders was a small beach where we would camp for the night. We had arrived at Thrasher Cove
 Brenda , Steph, Chris and Shari checking out the Park ranger who was waiting on the rocks to be picked up for an evacuation call - Thankfully the hikers were found and walked into camp a few minutes later. But Ranger Rick became a story line throughout our trip.

Dinner , campfire and a few of our mates checking out the Park Ranger became an everyday ritual. Pesto Pasta,coffee,tea and many laughs ended today with a good night to our tent mates and lights out for an early morning wake up call to continue our adventure.