West Coast Trail 2016: Day 5

July 4, 2016

Walbran ⇒ Campers (9 km) – Dana’s birthday!

Lucky Dana got to celebrate his birthday on the trail.  He was shaking the sand out of his pack first thing in the morning and the birthday beer he had tucked in the side fell out and sprung a leak on the rocks, which meant of course that he had to shotgun the beer at 7 AM:


Perhaps because I had the first good sleep of the trip the night before, this day of hiking was my favorite.  Which is kind of nuts because it’s also one of the hardest days!

As others had warned us that this day’s hike would be time-consuming and difficult, we got up around 6:30 and were on the road by 8:30.  It was a bit colder day with light mist at times, and minimal sunshine.  We were inland all day which was strange after the big beach day the day prior.

The theme of the Walbran to Campers Creek stretch is MUD, ROOTS, and LADDERS.  Thank goodness my throat was almost all healed up because I needed all the lungs I could get!  This is the infamous WCT day: mud, mud, mud, and 30+ ladders (as one “cheerful” south⇒north hiker told us).  

I thought this slug was a magnificent specimen:

There were definitely a ton of ladders and our quads/calves/glutes got a good workout.  We were both sweating a ton.  It’s incredibly mental too as if you want to keep a bit dry, you need to calculate your next steps carefully and constantly.  I got super muddy despite my best attempts, although at this point my boots had been wet for days.

The last few KMs before camp seemed lengthy, and the Campers sign was a welcome relief (although it’s still quite a climb down to camp from there).

We were very happy to see Katie and Jon from Day 3 camped out there.  Shortly after, Regan and Jess showed up too.

After I got the sleeping bags and air mattresses set up in the tent, I was feeling exhausted from the day and laid down for a 30 min. nap.  It was awesome.  Unfortunately I was still in my sweaty clothes so woke up pretty chilled.

Since it was a bit cooler day, no one took a bath in the creek although we all needed one after the sweaty day.  The three of us couples tried our best to stay warm by sitting around the fire and drinking tea (and eating copious amounts of chocolate since I’d over-packed).  

As we all ate dinner together, I joked about wanting to just hike all the way out the next day, instead of Camper to Thrasher, then Thrasher to Gordon River.  Our hiking book suggested Camper to Gordon River (13 km) in one day.

Turns out, this was a very popular idea and pretty soon everyone around the fire was brainstorming logistics.  Next thing you know we’re giving away surplus food to the solo Swedish hiker we met that night.

We’d heard that Owen Point was risky and difficult, plus hard to time with the tides the next day (it involved a 3 AM wake-up…).  Plus the hour each way for the Thrasher Cove ladders.  Plus the unofficial campsite near Thrasher was apparently full of mosquitos.

We were all feeling a bit of pressure from the book’s recommendation of 7.5 to 8.5 hours for the Campers to Gordon River stretch, as the last ferry of the day was at 3:30.  But we all agreed a hot shower and a real bed would be a wonderful reward, so with that in mind, we headed to bed.

I crawled in to bed with a runny nose around 9 PM.  It was a horrible night of broken sleep waking up frequently to blow my nose and toss and turn.  I was so happy to only have one more day of hiking ahead of me!


4 thoughts on “West Coast Trail 2016: Day 5

  1. Great writing and wonderful pictures! Those ladders are unreal, quite a feat climbing them while carrying your packs. Love Mom


  2. Pingback: Hike: Wild Side Trail (Flores Island) | Peanut Butter Kait

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