We planned to wake up the last day early and get a good start to ensure we made the shuttle at 1 pm. 12 km and everyone promised us that it only took 4 hours but still skeptical and wishing to enjoy the hike we left at 7 am! Giving us 6 hours to hike until the shuttle arrived.
There are many ways you can return to your original destination from the trailhead at Bamfield. Water taxi, have a friend pick you up, leave your vehicle at one end and take the shuttle to start at the other so you arrive having your vehicle waiting for you or as we did get dropped off at the trailhead and take the shuttle back to Victoria! More about this later.
We headed out for our final day a little short on food, our friends gave us a Clif bar each and it helped a lot. We didn't run out of food completely but it was tight and really that is the best instead of carrying extra weight for miles on end and realistically many other people overpack and are looking to lighten their load which works out well for everyone! We also took our time and enjoyed all the berries along the way: blueberries, huckleberries, salmon berries and blackberries were all treats to our dehydrated food palates.
Since we had extra time to enoy a few luxuries along the way we ate berries and then stopped to watch the sea lions. This rock was the closest you could get to see them and it was amazing to watch them interact, swim and fight! Very neat to watch for a while, I was glad we took the time to hike off the trail and see this.
The terrain changed again every kilometer it seemed and from rainforest to marsh to trees that seemed surreal it was always a wonder to look at.
The trail although a lot easier at times still had its moments, no matter what if there was a log blown down years ago it just became a staircase along the way...
We came upon the final creek and as close as we were to finishing we took the time to use the last creek to fill up all our water bottles because somewhere in the back of my mind was the idea that we had a long day ahead of us yet. You think your "done" when you hike into Bamfield but I was pretty sure that the bus ride was going to take a while since it leaves at 1 pm and we don't arrive in Victoria until 7 pm.
As soon as we left the creek we realized that we could head to a beach access which we were told by previously experienced WCT hikers meant we missed the final ladders and had an easy 1 km to the finish! That is exactly what we did...finished on the beach and this is the last picture snapped with our cameras as they both died at this point; all photos here on in are iPhone photos! Good timing or what!
And just like that a week was done, we were finished the West Coast Trail! It was a great feeling to know for how many things could go wrong nothing went wrong not one thing! The weather was perfect from the usual rain and fog, we had great people to hike with, just enough food, great friendship and unbelievable experiences that will stay with me for life. When I speak about living life now this is what I mean, a person can wait forever to achieve their goals but now is here and ready for you to do it. There was a lot of planning in doing this but it was so worth the time, effort and cost.
Why do I stay fit? Why do I choose small choices daily that add up to big results? It's because being able to complete my dreams comfortably and enjoyably makes my life worth living! The views from this trail are engrained in my soul and I will remember it until the day I leave this Earth. My dreams may not be yours but even my hiking partner who never really saw herself doing anything like this five years previous enjoyed it as well. That is the great thing about having different personalities and people in your life; they push you to new limits and I am thankful to have so many friends that are willing to go on crazy adventures no questions asked!
While we enjoyed our last lunch, a gluten free version of rice noodle soup (Ichiban like) it was a happy sad moment to know it was over.
We were hoping to get on the bus as there was a line-up of people waiting to get on standby, meaning they had no reservations. On the flip side we had reservations but for the next day since we started earlier than anticipated, good news is we had priority over the standbys, bad news it was on the Magic School Bus from hell (actually a fancy RV type bus but really it didn't matter which it was).
Load people going to Victoria first, you'll be last to get off: aka Us!
Pack backpacks onto shifty stand (that they fall off of later) and sit down with thirty other smelly hikers (barf).
Sit next to the smelliest person actually no they sat next to us (Murphy's Law)!
Feel sorry for the hikers starting at the other trailhead the next day that don't smell badly yet and have to ride on the bus with us smelly hikers...note to self take water taxi next time if doing this again!
Watch the colour drain out of everyones face including your friends and hold on for dear life while you ride down logging roads with a bus driver on a schedule; if you've ever been on the transfer buses in Cuba or Mexico where you've feared for your life that was a piece of cake!
Repeat for at least 3 hours until you reach pavement, now you are on windy paved roads! Sweet!
Pee break, food break and re-load, nope still nauseous...
Drop off last hikers at trailhead parking lot except we get off at a coffee shop just prior to it excited for a cappacino and forget to say bye to our new trail friends of a week (epic fail).
Get back on bus God help us we're not going to make it...sit in the front seat now it is slightly better slightly.
Get dumped off bus in downtown Victoria smelling like a 7 day hiker with no food left, some water and a saw swinging off your backpack; gee I wonder why the taxis wouldn't pick us up! Plan B: just rent a car up the street, sweet victory is ours now!
Do you want to know the most ironic part of this trip, this was our room after we arrived at a boutique hotel we ended up renting the best room they had because on a Saturday night in Victoria you don't have much choice and sleeping on the beach was NOT an option. Even funnier yet we walk into a fancy hotel, rent the most expensive room (nearly) and explain to the concierge why you smell badly. At least she commented the next day that we cleaned up well! Too funny. That is what makes great memories, random stuff happening on trips.
And the ironic part? I was still up at 5:30 am in this gorgeous bed and figured why waste another beauty morning? The sun is rising and life is waiting. I went for an hour run through Beacon Hill Park and The Inner Harbour; was brought to tears by the beautiful views I was privy to seeing so early in the morning before anyone else was out.
I had no idea where I was going just that I wanted to end up near the ocean and right as I crested a hill I viewed this, the Terry Fox memorial where he was meant to dip his foot in the ocean had he made it across before cancer took his life. Yes, universe I'm listening loud and clear, some things in life are just not coincidences after all...
After a busy day of sightseeing and dining of real food, The Noodle Cart in Victoria has ridiculously good Thai food! YUM!! We ended our last night in Victoria having a float and sundae overlooking the harbour at sunset. Just when you thought life couldn't get better.
We walked back to our hotel both knowing this trip was a lifetime of memories in 9 days! We couldn't wait to see our families but in the end this trip has given me an inner peace I can neither describe nor share with you but I appreaciate this life, my ability to move and my world as I know it, I am so thankful for life to the core of my very being.
I wish for you to feel the same at least once in a lifetime.
I Live Life Now,