Day One: Otter-ly Eager

Friday, August 4, 2016

0700h: We were up and took the last hot shower we’d have for the next seven days.We packed our bags, filled our water, had our oatmeal breakfast and headed out to the registration office for orientation at 1000h.

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Meet the Gang (left to right): Fiona, Andrea, Myself, and Maxime.

The park staff went through history of the trail (started in 1906 as a life-saving trail for mariners), hiking etiquette, wildlife encounter precautions, emergency information (such as what to do when there’s a tsunami) and how to read tide tables. There were just a handful of us, maybe about 30 hikers or so, all carrying packs of 30 to 40 plus pounds on our backs, wearing faces of eagerness for what’s to come in the next week.

37 pounds of necessities (and luxuries- aka hot chocolate and marshmallows). It’s a funny feeling to leave an apartment full of stuff and realize that all you need to survive is the pack on your back.

Neighbouring the park’s office is where old man Butch lives. The ferry driver began his load of hikers at 1130h, and just like that: one by one, we hopped onto the little motorized boat and began our journey into the wild.

As we made our first steps into shore, a ladder of about 20 feet greeted us along with weary but gleeful hikers who were finishing their 7 day trek. They looked tired, content with the adventure they had but ready to return home.

Through a couple ladders, an incline that seems to have imprinted my Achilles heel and a couple of slopes downhill, we found our way to the beach (4 hours and 6km later). The only thing I could say is, thank goodness we have good weather! The terrain was not as challenging as anticipated. In fact, the hardest part of the day was the 37lbs dragging down my shoulders and pulling me to the ground like a strong force of gravity. I couldn’t imagine the mental struggle if the rocks and roots were drenched in rain, slippery to touch and mud knee deep.

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We set up camp at Thrasher’s cove where the smell of ocean welcomed us. Walked along the shore, dipped our feet in the grand and chilling Pacific Ocean.

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Curious mink stopping by on its path to the sea for dinner.

With each breath, we took in a bit of the ocean, enjoying the beautiful vastness of the West Coast. We ate the Bran-Krispie Bar and watched a sea otter bobbing up and down, diving for food, and little critters scurry across the beach and into the forest, then back into the ocean where the tide washed away their paw prints.

After taking a couple of photos along the shoreline and seeing a couple of sea otters tumble across into the woods. We ate our dehydrated  kale and parmesan pasta and slept to the melody of the waves crashing onto the sandy beach.

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Day one. Minus 509g. 2052h, with my dry sac of clothes beneath my head supporting my neck and the firm sand holding my back, my eyes shut as the sky darkened and the waves sang me good night.

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