The next several days (if I am diligent with my posts) will feature a summary of my vacation last week. Part 1 is my travels that led to the West Coast Trail. Enjoy!
I awoke at 6.00am at my step-brother’s house in Edmonton. I had just seen my first episode of Jersey Shore the night before and was now anxious to escape civilization. My cab showed up half an hour later and took me to the train station. I had debated about which berth to purchase (higher or lower) when booking online but realized upon boarding that there was no advantage to either. Fuck! That was a useless extra $100.
On board I found the 3 sections of my car to be unoccupied…or so I thought. I dropped my bag off on a bench and then hopped in the top bunk bed next to it. To my surprise I found a girl sleeping underneath the covers. I apologized and spent the next several hours avoiding her. This gave me time to check out the train and finish the book I had recently been reading.
I rather liked the back of the train. There was a double-decker, panoramic viewing car, which showboated the majestic landscape. They were also serving free champagne, which was an added bonus. I spent several more hours back there. It occurred to me, upon inspection, that save for my bunk buddy and one other gentleman that I would later meet I was the youngest person on this train by about 40 years. At one point, a woman of about 50 sat down next to me and said “Gosh, these people really make people like you and I feel young, eh?” She then proceeded to pull some yarn out from her purse and knit a sock. Super hip! (Although it would be cool to make your own clothes).
Once I had gathered enough liquid courage I returned to my car and became rather well acquainted with Dana. She was moving to Vancouver from Winnipeg and decided to take the train because she thought it was more romantic (Good, I thought. So we were on the same page when I jumped into bed with you first thing this morning).
Later that night, after a free beer tasting I convinced a server to give us a free bottle of champagne so we could share it in the now empty panoramic car. We and two of the cool servers then engaged in a very intense conversation until we stopped in Kelowna for a late night break. We got some fresh air, eased off the intensity of our discussions and instead reminisced about YouTube videos and then joined the only other man in his 20s in the mid-point panoramic car to help him lighten his bottle of Whiskey (fuck I drank a lot) while star gazing. He played some tunes on his portable iPod sound system but none of the club beats really suited the atmosphere so I sifted through his library and sound Silent Night by Sarah McLaughlin and turned the train into the Polar Express.
The next morning we arrived in Vancouver. After a quick brunch with my cousin I hopped the ferry to Victoria. The voyage gave me 1.5 hours to find a ride to the trailhead, some 100km away. I was tipped off about shuttle into town, from which I was hopeful that I could hitch a ride the rest of the way. I then learned that for $10 more I could catch a different, quicker bus into town. This meant more time for ride hitching, which I deemed as important as it would be nearing 3pm by the time I got my thumb out. Shortly after purchasing the ticket I noticed a woman out on the deck reading a guidebook for the West Coast trail. I stuck up a conversation and 5mins later I had a ride the whole way from her (Tina) and her boyfriend Rob. The ferry felt the one to Manitoulin Island only with Dolphins.
The only unfortunate catch to accepting Rob and Tina’s invitation was that I had to spend the rest of the day shopping in Victoria. They had not yet purchased all of their gear for the trek and Tina was very nervous that the gear that she did have would not be adequate. I knew I would not have gotten on the trail that day anyway so I just floated around the adventure stores, grateful that my free Mizuno apparel was an appropriate substitute for the insanely expensive traditional clothing. I nursed a tea and I did end up buying a watch (to monitor the Tide) after much deliberation.
Eventually, around 8:30pm we arrived in the small town of Port Renfrew. Everything was shutting down by this time but we did still manage to get a solid meal and the 2nd of two restaurants. Rather than struggle in the dark to set up my tent somewhere, I decided to treat myself to a stay in the local hostel. Rob and Tine opted for a private room and I shared the main area with two lesbians who were also hiking the trail the next day. I watched the 2nd half of The Boondock Saints with them and then retired to my bunk. I had difficulty sleeping at first due to interesting reverberations…