This is the hike I did back in June, and have been promising to post for the last 2 months…
This trail is 47km along the South Coast of Vancouver Island, from near Port Renfrew at the Western end to about half way to Sooke.
This was the first time I’ve done hiking and camping for 10 years, and the first time ever I’ve done so fully unsupported (i.e. can’t just pop to the shops). MEC and REI were certainly my friends, lots of new kit including a North Face Cat’s Meow sleeping bag, MEC Camper 2 Tent and a whole pile of Mountain House Freeze Dried food.
One other thing, other than Hannah, I didn’t know any of the people I was hiking with… So how best to get past that when I first met them? Well, just appear generous! So after having met them and not really saying very much, I say aloud “I’m going to Starbucks… anyone want anything?”
This was met with confused stares, long enough for me to think “what on earth did I just say that was so bad!? Did I hear some words but they heard others” etc…
Christina promptly broke that uncomfortable silence by blurting out “Oh you’re British!”
Everyone fell about laughing at that… and I’m told Brandon mentioned after I had eventually gone to Starbucks “you know you have to hike with him for 3 days…”
Actually, I’ll quickly cover names, me, Hannah, Brandon, Christina & George, Eva & Václav and we would meet Stephen (our guide) in Victoria. Off on the ferry we go, and we decide to film a mini-documentary as we go, so we were interviewing each other on the way!
In case you’re wondering, we were using Stephen’s MSR Sweetwater MicroFilter Pump and Drops. It’s great to have as much water as you like, just take a couple of those 1L bottles, one can be purifying (the drops need 20 minutes to work) while you drink the other.
The camp sites were rather good. In general, you had a private area, cleared of brush, separate from the other sites and windbreaks near the beach facing side. We could easily put up the 4 tents we were using! They also had long drop toilets (which we tried to work out which stank least as soon as we arrived), and bear-proof caches nearby.
Food wise, we had all packed pretty different, but one of the clear favourites from sampling everyone’s was the Mountain House Buffalo Style Chicken Wrap Fillings I brought (along with wraps, that are pretty hiking friendly by the way), followed closely by the Beef Stroganoff Hannah had that evening! For breakfast, porridge/oatmeal worked well:
Day 2 was by far the hardest day. Plenty of up and down hilly outcrops, virtually no flat sections. See that section on the map between Chin Beach and Bear Beach? Most difficult. Yep, it was.
So we get to Bear Beach, our second camp, and what do we find? Dragster tyres!
Those will be good for a photo, so I jump up onto them, forgetting that 20kg pack I had on my back. This put me off balance and I went arse over tit off the back!
Not to be beaten…
That evening we played the most dodgy game of “Continue the Story” I think ever has been played.
Finally we hit Mystic Beach, our stopping point, because that evening we wanted some drinks! So we got the cars back and headed to Port Renfrew… where we found out about this!!!
So, lots and lots and lots of booze bought from the only bottle shop in town, we headed back for a night of very drunken fun and games!
Anyway, after getting very hammered, the next morning was a well deserved hungover breakfast at a place Stephen knew, called My Chosen Cafe. More than worth going to if you get the chance! Ate like a horse I tell you! Was nice to get the phone back (even if it had turned itself on in my pocket and drained it’s battery) and some clean clothes on!
All in all, great trip… wow my writing style is bad these days…