The Wet Coast is the Best Coast, Pt II
We decided that in order to maintain a decent schedule of walking—to be able to arrive at our campsite with a decent enough amount of daylight left to set up camp, eat, and clean up—we would need to wake up early. Like, around 6 or 7am. Since we’d just spent our first night on the trail, we were running, ah, a little late.
The “sleep” that first night was rather furtive for me. I had visions of mice chewing my new tent to pieces. Most anyone offering advice about the trail won’t tell you how to survive a bear or cougar attack. But they will tell you that if you have anything in your tent that smells remotely interesting, a mouse will find its way inside (usually by chewing a hole through the tent wall) in order to get to it. All I could hear all night was their scurrying and squeaking. I would often clear my throat or shift in my sleeping bag to discourage their invasion.
We were greeted that morning by a lovely sunrise and a cool breeze. Breakfast up, tent down, packs packed. Some bickering (actually, considering the ways in which you rely on your partner on trips such as these, there was surprisingly little arguing), and then onwards. We would need to make 13km in order to get to Tsusiat Falls, the most stunning campground on the trail.
The hike wasn’t too bad, initially. We even made friends with some Canadian Naval Officers who took a trip to the WCT at the last minute. Sandy and Kat (I think her name was Kat… I missed it!) were a great pair to bump into every so often along the way—very friendly, and often helpful.
The last kilometre of the day was brutal. We arrived at the top of Tsusiat Falls which was fairly technically difficult (a lot of stump jumping) and included a pretty dramatic increase in elevation. Once at the top of the falls, our journey upwards continued. It was frustrating. A lot of high-stepping and using our trekking poles to haul ourselves atop tall ledges. When we finally crested the maximum elevation, we were greeted by a series of about four tall ladders down to the beach. Neither of us was particularly thrilled with the last 30 minutes of our hike.
But once we stepped off the boardwalk and onto the sand, everything changed. Fine sand interspersed with massive hunks of driftwood and the tents of already-arrived hikers dotted the landscape. The ocean stretched out in front of us, broken up by points of rock and the vague shadows of the US mountains to the southwest.
All of this, of course, was completely dwarfed by the roar of the Falls themselves. Huge, wide, fresh-water chutes drained into a waist-deep pond, which in turn drained into the ocean. At its most crass, Tsusiat is a place to shower. At its most romantic, it’s the most awesome place on the Trail. The photos we took hardly do it justice.
We set up camp next to Kat and Sandy. We ate dinner with Jeff and Cheryl. Before bed, we decided we weren’t going to leave in the morning. Tsusiat was too beautiful to just be an overnight campground.
This time, the mice made their mark. (This would be the first and only time on the trail that they would cause us any problems. And given the few horror stories we’d heard about holes in packs and missing food, I think we came out of things rather well.) My beautiful new tent had tiny bite and claw marks on the sides and rear screens of the tent. I was not a happy camper. But my soaring spirit couldn’t be deterred.
It was around 9 or 10 when we crawled out of bed. Cheryl and Jeff came by to bid us farewell. They were only going to be on the trail for seven days, and we were scheduled for ten. We could afford to languish, and they couldn’t. We knew them for a brief few days, but it was still sad to see them go, knowing the chances of us catching them on the trail were minimal.
Sandy and Kat left as well. Those two were movers and shakers. Sad to see them leave too, but we’d meet up with them several more times in our travels, so no worries.
With all of the other campers on their ways up and down the trail above the falls, we were left to do our own thing for the whole day. There were only two other people at the site with us. So we showered, explored the beach and some caves, and just hung out in the sun. It was a nice break from two days of straight hiking. It was great to wander around in sandals the whole time.
We planned to leave early in the morning (5am!) on Day 4, to beat the rising tide at the Hole In The Wall point, about two kilometres up the beach. I’ll tell you all about how I cried in the next post.
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