Day 5 – Rain Forest

Walbran Creek to Camper Creek (9km)

I better get this story down before I forget the dirty details. On day 4 I noted the sound of the rain on the tent as we fell asleep. Well, it was still raining in the morning and on Day 5 we had finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. The rain had moved in and sat on us for the entire day. We set up camp in an efficient manner and started toward our next destination: our full day of travel in the forest (no beach).

Before anyone can go on the West Coast Trail they have to go through an orientation. In it they tell you about the animals, the campsite amenities, the ladders, the cable cars, and they walk you through the whole trail. Here they tell you about which sites might be closed, and where water can be found. We did the orientation at Port Renfrew so they walked us through the route from south to north. They always mention that the south portion is the easy part and if you are heading north once you hit Walbran you’ve finished the first (difficult) section and you have only 53 km left (easy). You’ll notice that on Day 5 we started at Walbran Creek (kilometer 53).

We trudged through Day 5. I remember being in good spirits despite being soaked. I also recall huge sections of ladders and a long bridge at Logan Creek. With about one or two kilometers left, Josh and I went ahead to find a spot at Camper Bay and hopefully to get a fire started. We arrived to find one of the smallest sites we’d seen on the trip and certainly the one with the smallest amount of firewood and none of it dry. Surprisingly, the site does have two food lockers and two toilets.

Despite the lack of dry wood we were lucky to be the second group to arrive that day and we began to salvage any wood that looked like it might burn and try to get a fire underway. Some native Vancouver Island guys made up the group that beat us to the site and had already claimed the good wood. They also had a tarp up and had a fire going. The rest of our group arrived shortly and soon we were all freezing. Priorities included getting the tent up and changing clothes. About an hour after I arrived we still had very little flame going and I got in my sleeping bag and took a nap. Feeling lazy and hearing everyone else still outside and moving around I got up a bit later and found that our fire was under way. Rob, who was without a change of clothes and flush with solid fuel for a stove we would never use, had been working on it and finally got it going. We could not have done it without him and an awkward German/Japanese guy who came over to our camp and sawed some wood. Thanks guys.

Eventually the rain subsided after what I estimate to be about 21-22 hours. We somehow had the most kickass fire in the whole bay. By now travelers were rolling in along with stories about the route ahead and how tough it would be from here to the finish. Some arrived after nine hours of wet hiking all the way from Port Refrew but all of them looked at our fire with envy as we dried our clothes. Some people even came over to use it on their own clothes. In the morning it was more of the same, we got the firs going and dried some more before setting off. It wasn’t the sunny weather we had enjoyed earlier in the trip but we had weathered the worst of the storm. After such a trying day there was some argument about how far to go on the next day. Some thought we could push all the way to the finish, but we would have to get an early start and reach the Gordon river crossing before 4:00 to catch the ferry. Others resisted the pressure and insisted we not push it and see where we are as the day progressed. Neither of those happened.

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