2008-11-13 / 11:36 / dave
It was a foggy, overcast morning so I decided to pack my rain gear near the top. GoLite‘s end of season sale was a good excuse to finally get a Virga and I splurged and bought some Tyvek pants at full price. It was great except that the pants were on my living room floor. But had I worn them I probably would have looked something like this:
Sans pants (rain pants, I was still wearing my trekking pants), I walked back to km 43 and headed out to the beach. I could hear sea lions barking but the fog was too thick to see anything. I contented myself with following some pretty awesome bear tracks. I walked beside them until the stairs to civilization: Carmanah Lighthouse. It was a quick walk up the steps. Then a confused wander around. Then a trip down some steps. Then back up. Then back down. Then down the beach until I found where I was supposed to have come down. Then halfway back up those steps, then thinking about getting stuck in the rain because I spent half-an-hour going up and down stairs.
Then another kilometer to Chez Monique’s:
Monique is a french canadian and wife of a Ditidaht (I believe). The reservation comes down to the water and she’s set up shop. A cheeseburger and pop was $19 but conversation was free–it’s a good deal per word. My pre-hike research turned up that she was a programmer, so we talked a bit about Fortran. Then politics came up and I was saved by the arrival of two Americans. It was refreshing to see them: they were the only other
sane lightweight hikers. I let them carry the conversation while I watched Monique and her sous chef. It turns out that every summer Monique has hired (or maybe just free room and board) help. The French girl chopping our tomatoes found out through an organic farm. I have yet to tell him, but this is definitely a job for Nick.
The next stretch of beach held several signs of “P” life:
The back into the woods and my hiking zone. The beach might be beautiful, but if you’re not actually on the shelf it’s slow sand walking. Frustrating. I powered down the trail except for a slip on a muddy log bridge that landed me on my bum and a disturbing clanging noise while I was crossing a suspension bridge. Mechanical failure! I thought until I noticed a hiker climbing down the ladder on the other side, pots hanging off his pack and banging together loudly. I couldn’t tell if it was an intentional anti-bear technology or just lazy packing. Either way it was annoying.
Next stop was Culite Creek for some food/foot repair/bio break. Inside the fancy solar composting toilets I realized that I’d forgotten something else: my toilet paper. It was probably in the outhouse past Nitinat (forgot to mention the boat ride across the Nitinat narrows. The ferrymen said the second largest douglas fir grew near Cheewhat Lake. Apparently it takes two dozen middle school kids hand in hand to circle the trunk). Luckily, I had brought along Roy Fielding’s doctoral dissertation. I don’t know Roy and will never tell him this story, but I hope he enjoys knowing that his table of contents is hibernating on the Juan de Fuca coast, waiting until the beautiful moment when it can metamorphosize into dirt.
It was a short but muddy 4 kilometers to Camper Creek (62 km). There I met Team Awesome, 3 ex-biology students, and their trail buddy, an ex Washington-state sheriff. I set up then headed back to eat by their fire. They were great company, they even shared some chicken of the woods. They seemed content to stay up talking, but I had sleeping plans.
My cold acted up while sleeping and I had the vivid flashing light / geometric / spatial disorientation dreams I get when feverish. I woke up a few times thinking I was standing, something that would have been difficult in my tent.