This morning it was still raining. As a result any sort of romantic finish was out of the question and I simply high-tailed it out of there. I skipped my usual morning routine and barely even ate breakfast. When I got to the last of the campsites on the trail I found it to be completely abandoned. I would later find out that everyone simply pushed on and finished the trail yesterday.
There were some large river crossings today. For the first one I tried to navigate a network of fallen logs but when I last one gave way on me I became completely apathetic. For the second one I simply walked in the ocean all the way around it (which seemed easier than working around all the rocks but proved very difficult the last 50m or so because of the increased depth and slickness. When I got back to the trail I even ran some of it. The thought of running the whole thing next year had already popped into my head so I wanted to see what it would feel like (though if I did it in one day next year I wouldn’t have this pack). I was pretty much just grinding for 10k but then on the last click I slowed down and really enjoyed overlooking the bay coming into the Bamfield area.
When I arrived at the terminal cabin I signed off, had a brief and poorly understood conversation with a German couple about to start, and then called a taxi (just a lady in her car) to drive me into Bamfield. The driver dropped me off in “town” (there is really only one intersection) so that I could withdraw the fare from the ATM. I was slightly embarrassed to find my bank account dry (pay day was that night). Thankfully I convinced the cashier to give me cash back if I bought some fruit with my credit card. After settling up I had a meal of Fish and Chips with two cups of coffee at the only restaurant before it closed at 2pm. After that I just sort of drifted around in the rain. I went to the only campsite to have a hot shower but it was closed for the season. Then I went to the only motel; closed as well. I then walked to the library, which is actually just an elementary school, but they still let me come inside and use their computer for a few mins. The lady there told me about a talk that evening at the marine research centre. I was intrigued as the cab driver had also told me to check out this one attraction in town. I walked down the road to hear the talk, or at least to get out of the rain, but I found the topic to be wildly specific – The Effect of Oceanic Climate on the Population Dynamics or the Nearshore Rockwall Fish. Instead I attempted to find an inexpensive B and B to hang out in. Oh yeah, so my plan was to spend the night here and then catch the West Coast Shuttle Bus in the morning to get back to the Victoria ferry.
I can’t remember the name of the guy I was directed to so we’ll call him Gord. Gord as also closing up for the season but said he could help me out. The B and B he offered was really only a B (bed). He said his wife was in Toronto and she did all the cooking. He confessed that he didn’t really eat dinner. He showed me some hardened granola and the fridge with some dairy products inside (all expired). His rate was $80 and an extra $5 for laundry. I talked him down to 80 even since there was no food.
The first thing I did was strip down and do a full load of laundry. I laid all of my gear out to dry and then I made a hot cup of tea. The one nice thing about this place was it was situated right on the water. Sitting in a warm room, now dry, after a hot shower, sipping a cup of tea was the simplest but most rewarding pleasure. Gord felt bad about not having any food so he heated me up some left over pork that his wife had cooked a few days ago. After my first bite I pulled a large black hair out from my mouth. For the rest of the evening I either watched some TV or put on a radio channel on his Satellite and read.
In the morning I walked back down to the main area of town. I settled my bill at the fishing supply store. Gord told me to put $80 on his account (because I didn’t have any cash). I then sat down in the restaurant and waited for the 12:45 bus. I had two meals and wrote while I waited. When it arrived I met two hikers that had finished the day before. They ranted passionately about the B and B they stayed at the last two days. It had a hot tub and meals fit for a king. I listened enviously and then told them about where I stayed. Perhaps out of pity they offered me a ride to not only the ferry, but all the way into Vancouver, if I got off with them at Port Renfrew. I graciously accepted, taking stock of my luck/skill in regards to the unplanned intermediate travel.
We arrived back at their apartment at around 9pm. We had a beer and then my cousin picked me up. I spent the next two nights in Vancouver. I hung out with both my cousins that live there (forgetting about my 3rd, sorry Graham) and then went to a local music venue with the girl I met on the train. We left around midnight on the sat and walked around the sketchy part of downtown Van. The evening was going fairly well until we saw a group of rugged individuals walking along with their unleashed dogs. Two seconds after we passed them one of the dogs was hit by a car. I ran over to it and found that its leg was severely broken, bone protruding through the skin. It waddled over to a doorway shelter and after trying to comfort it I then had to turn to the absolutely coked out people who were both inconsolable and insanely aggressive towards the people in the car. The were pounding on the hood and trying to get the poor people, who obviously did not mean to hit the dog, out of the vehicle. I did my best to disarm the situation, and still care for the dog, and thankfully the police arrived eventually. Needless to say the evening was pretty much done after that.
Other than that little situation (I fucking hate people like that! If you do not have the capacity to take care of yourself do not bring an animal or a child into your situation. I don’t give a fuck how much comfort it brings to you. It is a selfish move and they do not deserve it. I love dogs more than probably anyone but I refuse to adopt one because I do not have the capacity to take of it right now, or probably ever) it was a nice trip. Key differences between this and the Bruce Trail are as follows:
Dry food only
Less books (oh my god less books)
Oddly enough I really enjoyed and longed for the human interaction on this one. Last year I just wanted to be alone the whole time.
More regulated. The Bruce has no campsites until the Bruce Peninsula. Also you do not have to sit through orientations or register on/off.
Anyway, do the WCT if you get a chance. It’s probably not for everybody but if you’re like me you will get something out of it. Now it’s time to go back to the drawing board and figure out my next adventure. Preliminary thoughts: Cabot trail in Nova Scotia, Mount Robson or Nicaragua.