West Coast Trail 2016: Day 4

July 3, 2016

Cribs Creek ⇒ Walbran Creek (11 km)

After my hellish lack of sleep the night before, this is what I looked/felt like:

I was pretty slow moving that morning.  I was still very wheezy plus a bit dopey from not sleeping.  Luckily, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day for beach walking.  We didn’t get going until 9:30 when we were the only ones left in camp!

We walked on the beach until Carmanah Point, then went inland so we could see the lighthouse.

We briefly met the lighthouse keeper, then checked out the view.  It’s amazing to see the set-up the lighthouse keepers have out there!  You kind of feel like you’re on the island from Lost and you’re meeting the Others at the Dharma Initiative compound.

We had to come down a few ladders to get to the beach, which had me huffing and puffing pretty good with my closed windpipe.

Luckily, Chez Monique’s was right at the bottom!  Monique has quite the restaurant set up on the beach.  There’s a pretty good liquor/beer/wine selection, plus all sorts of treats (like 5 cent candies and smore kits), and also the restaurant items like hamburgers.  Dana and I both went for the burgers, and she kindly made mine without the bun and gave me plenty of fresh veggies on the side.  So good!  We ate lunch with Don and Kayla, and Regan and Jess (two students we’d camped beside at Cribs).  Nice to see friends along the way!

The best part though is that Monique noticed I wasn’t saying much, and asked about what had happened.  After Dana explained, she was at a loss for what to do, then picked up her phone and called her pharmacist.  She/he recommended that I gargle with full-fat milk (to which she exclaimed: “I’m in the bush – I don’t have milk!”), and take some ibuprofen.  By some stroke of luck, Monique did have some canned evaporated milk so I used that instead.  It definitely helped my throat feel better.  I was so grateful to have some mothering after my rough night and shed a few tears.

We had beach walking until Walbran.  Luckily it was a beautiful blue bird day!

Beach walking was a bit of a struggle for me with the heat and my limited oxygen.  Dana lured me to camp with fuzzy peach candies and water breaks.  We even saw some whale flutes on one of our breaks.

There was some wet shelf walking (I was very careful!), boulder scrambling, and just when we thought Walbran would never appear, it did.  It was probably one of our favorite campsites of the trip.

The creek is large and relatively deep for swimming/bathing, and there are lots of campsites on the beach and in the woods.  Two bear lockers and two outhouses.

We set-up camp then quickly suited up for a quick swim in the glacial creek.  I even eventually washed my hair for the first time on the trip, although having wet hair didn’t help me stay warm later on.  Dana’s watch said the water temperature was 19 degrees.

I shivered until dinner and then eventually put wool socks and a touque on.  Dinner was a so-so pepper beef with rice (I wouldn’t buy it again).  Regan and Jess camped out near our tent, and shared our fire later in the evening.  They hiked the WCT eating only protein bars and trail mix.  Made our cooking look gourmet!

We laughed a bit later in the evening when one man showed up with his pack on and asked if he could put his tent up in the vicinity of ours.  Of course we said yes. Next thing you know, we look over and four other tents have popped up for a total of nine or ten campers!  We were cozy that night. #asianvillage

I finally had my first through-the-night sleep at Walbran.  Perhaps that’s why it was my favorite campsite!

Smart science note from Dana, resident scientist/editor:

Walbran Creek’s water is composed of a salinity gradient where the bottom is brackish but the top is fresh water.  Although at low tide the creek is isolated from the ocean, periodically at high tide the salt water from the ocean washes over the gravel bar and layers into the creek’s (fresh) water. #andnowyouknow


Some tips from Monique on the Trail:

  • Wait until the tide goes out at Vancouver Point as the beach path takes 30 minutes (inland takes 1 hr 30 min)
  • Don’t do Owen Point – it’s too dangerous with the tides and slippery rocks.  Go take a look at one of the access points, but don’t hike it.
  • Don’t camp at Thrasher Cove.  To get down to campground, it’s an hour on the ladders (which you have to climb up the next morning).  Instead camp at the unofficial spots just 5 minutes away from the top of the Thrasher ladders; however, note that there are no bear bins or outhouses.
  • Don’t take the Carmanah cable car – wait until you can walk across the creek.
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2 thoughts on “West Coast Trail 2016: Day 4

  1. Such awesome tips! I was so happy to read that Chez Monique is back in business!! So sweet of her to call for help for you! I’m glad the condensed milk helped a little. The idea of the whole thing is terrifying! (Is it January yet so I can sign up for this!?)

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    • Yes, Monique is definitely in business still. Such a sweet lady!

      The WCT is intense but in many ways. Yes, it’s a crazy physical journey but you’ll also see some wonderfully beautiful scenery along the way. It’s terrifying but in the best ways.

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