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Thread: WCT Thru Hike

  1. #1
    mugs's Avatar
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    WCT Thru Hike

    I went on a thru-hike of the WCT in Aug 3-8 2012 with my hiking friend Kurt. It was one of his big “bucket list” items he wanted to do, and invited me along for the “ride” I am glad and forever indebted to him for taking me along.

    I would have liked to do a voice synopsis of the trip but the video is a little less then 15 mins any way, and felt that it would not be a good mix if I did two parts. So I am going to just write some generals about the trip and let you all hopefully enjoy the show.

    We went in the “best” time to go, as it was dry and we had no rain for the whole trip, and the mud wasn’t as bad as it is in the earlier parts of the year. The tides were at the extreme end of things as well. Meaning extreme high and extreme low. Fog was a always a factor but it was that cool eery kind of fog, and it would roll in and then roll out, and then roll in and then roll out. So that was neat.

    We slept in our hammocks every night, it took us 4 nights and 5 days to do the hike. But there was nothing cooler then setting our hammocks up in-between drift wood on the the beach, or in the tree line looking out over the ocean. It was a spectacle to behold, and words cant describe it.

    We met a ton of people from all over the world, and made friends with many. It was really cool because you had people coming in from the south end and the north end and at the end of the day we would all share stories around the fire, of that days trek. And get and give information to help plan the next days trek. Plus it just really cool to meet other people from other parts of the world and talk about life in general with them.

    Hammocks of course were a big hit, and would always take about an hour of the evenings activities. And I would play “teacher/preacher” for the time and let those that wanted to experience it, lay in them for a while. Also we were the only U.L./LW hikers out there, so gear was another hour or so of the conversation.

    The most memorable experience was when were in a camp for the night, and were the first ones to get there. A korean family (I didn’t know they were Korean at the time) comes marching (Yes I mean marching) in and set up camp along the beach/tree line. We were set in the tree line, as the drift wood was not cooperating with us that day.

    One of the family members goes into the woods and then comes back out all excited. I had no clue what she was saying, but it was obvious by her hand mannerisms that she was talking about the hammocks. Next thing you know all 6 members get up and go running into the woods. I ran in quickly after them, and let Kurt know what was happening (we were enjoying our dinners.)

    One of the family members spoke “ok” English (hence how I found out they were Korean) and then the show began. So through many hand gestures, and me just moving arms and limbs into position they all got to try out a hammock (they had never seen one before.) The next thing you know they all march out to where they were camped, tore down there tents and then pitched them literally 3 feet away from the hammocks, so they could sleep “with us” or at least that is what I interpreted it to be (you’ll see it in the slide show...its the family with the Asolo tents.)

    To give you an idea of how hard this trip was, it took us 5 hours to do 2.5 miles on the first day. I lost 8 pounds in 4 days. It is ladder city. Sometimes your up 100 feet or more on these ladders and then crossing a log bridge that is up 50 feet from the water. Then there are the cable cars, which are fun for the first half because they glide half way across the rivers by themselves, but then you have to hand-over hand them up to the other side. And by ladders I mean there are 36 (I think) structures. Each structure has any where from 1 to 7 ladders on it.

    The trails are muddy, rooted, slippery foot paths that you have to navigate. And the beach walking was not a walk in the park either. You’re wither walking on boulders, through crags, over drift wood, or on slick seaweed covered surfaces. Its’s like the ranger who gave us our orientation before the trip said “on the WCT your either looking, or walking, but not both at the same time.” boy was that ever true.

    We started from the Port Renfew side, which is the harder side, but we felt it was best to get the hard stuff done first and while we were fresh. Some would argue that starting on the Bamfield side, is better because when you hit the major ladder systems your pack will be lighter. I don’t care how light your pack is. After hiking 3 to 4 days and then having to hit those ladders your still are gonna get smoked. Hell we were tired on the “easy” side after 4 days of hiking. Hence do it when you have better energy supplies.

    To get back to my truck we had the choice of riding in a school bus for 5 hours on a logging road, or to take a 3 hour boat ride back up the ocean following the trail from hence we just walked, for an extra 40 bucks more than what the bus ride would be. We chose the latter, and it was well worth it.

    The boat is owned and operated by a marine biologist who monitors the whale and seal lion activity. So we got to get right smack dab in the middle of the whale pods and see them up close and personal. I mean they were coming right up the side of the boat. After a while of trying to get that perfect whale shot, I just gave up , and put the camera away and enjoyed the moment, to forever have it placed in my mind and not through the “eye of a lens.”

    I could on and on about the trip but have ben wanting to get this TR out for a long time. I will “fill in the blanks” as things come to me and questions are asked.

    I hope you all enjoy the video, I concentrated on editing and music fade in and out this time. I tried to pick the best pictures that conveyed the overall synopsis of the trip. Not quite sure if the music fits the TR but I was trying to give my overall feeling or mood as the trip went on. Plus I just really wanted to focus on music fading, that and my iTunes library is not that big yet.

    Germany, I have no idea why this video is banned. Sorry

    Direct Link, for those that can't view it here.


    Last edited by mugs; 12-01-2012 at 22:40.
    I miss my 4.8Lb base weight as a ground dweller...But I sure DON'T MISS the ground.

  2. #2
    mbiraman's Avatar
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    Good slideshow Mugs. You got lucky with the weather. Still tough tho.
    Thanks

    bill
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    renegadepilgrim's Avatar
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    I did the WCT in May and we had perfect weather too. Not a drop of rain in 5 nights/6 days. I wish I had been into hammock backpacking then...would have saved me so much trouble!!! My pack for the week was still under 35lbs so I don't feel too bad about it...

    We did it from Bamfield to Port Renfrew and I would do it that way again. I felt like the last day was actually one of the easiest because it didn't have as many ladders as the previous two days.

    You guys really hauled *** to do it in 4 nights! Did you stop at Chez Monique's for a burger? Love that place. Had salmon at the Narrows too...and enjoyed a couple of meals at the Coastal Kitchen in Port Renfrew.

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    mugs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by renegadepilgrim View Post
    We did it from Bamfield to Port Renfrew and I would do it that way again. I felt like the last day was actually one of the easiest because it didn't have as many ladders as the previous two days.

    You guys really hauled *** to do it in 4 nights! Did you stop at Chez Monique's for a burger? Love that place. Had salmon at the Narrows too...and enjoyed a couple of meals at the Coastal Kitchen in Port Renfrew.
    Interesting how perspectives are so subjective. Because we had just the opposite experience and feel the same way about it. The last two days were easiest because there wasn't hardly any ladders, especially the last 11k....we knocked that out in like 2 hours because it was so flat...Again we went from Port Renfrew to Bamfield.

    No we did not eat at Chez Monique's. Or any of the other places. We weren't really hungry coming into them. But the real kicker was, ok sure I would have paid the twenty bucks for a burger, at Chez. And was psyching myself into it as well. I though 20 bucks was worth it to hike up to the lights house and have a "sit down" meal. But when I discovered the Chez Monique's was under a frikin blue tarp out on the each where its all frikin windy and crappy, I was like "hell no" I am not paying 20 bucks for a burger served to me under a blue poly tarp.

    As far as the narrows, same thing, wasn't hungry when I got there. But I did get two water, and two power aids. The meals did look very enticing though. Now that I would have paid for. But I just wasn't hungry at all.
    I miss my 4.8Lb base weight as a ground dweller...But I sure DON'T MISS the ground.

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    Excellent write-up and slide show. Some of your pix are just stunning! Thanks for putting it together, it looks like the tough going was well worth it.
    Solvitur Ambulando - Diogenes

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    Sounds like a fantastic trip. Loved the pics.

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    sunshower's Avatar
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    nice video and music selection!
    Megan
    In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer. [Albert Camus]

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    renegadepilgrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mugs View Post
    Interesting how perspectives are so subjective. Because we had just the opposite experience and feel the same way about it. The last two days were easiest because there wasn't hardly any ladders, especially the last 11k....we knocked that out in like 2 hours because it was so flat...Again we went from Port Renfrew to Bamfield.
    All the ladders are in the middle for the most part...at least that's what it felt like to me, especially the really wild ones...when we left Thrasher Cove the last morning, I was worried because everyone had said how "hard" it would be...it was one of the easiest days of walking for us. We made great time and finished by 11:00-11:30a or so then had to wait for the boat to get us.

    I think the reason it's so hard is people try to do it with 50lb backpacks...mine was 35lbs to start, with water....and probably was down to 30lbs by the end of the trip. I could have gone lighter if I had been hammocking...
    Blog: www.renegadepilgrim.com
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    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

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    breyman's Avatar
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    Great report, thanks for sharing! I'd never heard of the WCT before and now I want to travel out just to do it.
    Brian
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    Spectacular video/trip report.
    I've been in Pacific Rim National Park (Ca), this is close right?
    I just love the foliage there and the ancient hints of Haida.
    Were you using an Osprey-sure looked like one.
    The sea caves were awesome...did it make you want to paddle through one on slack tide?
    I'll be honest, my knees hurt just looking at the stairs.
    Did you have to have reservations for the trail? Seems like I remember you do.
    At 11:14, wonderful, just wonderful pic. You have to love the PNW..just a spectacular place.
    Harbor seals, bald eagles! Man you guys saw it all. Was that a humpback! Incredible. What a freeking trip. I'm so jealous!!
    Truly blessed to have done this walk. Truly truly.
    Thank you very much for taking along/letting us get a glimpse of this stupendous region....can you tell I revere the Haida, the Kwakiutl, the Swami-sh and to think you walked in their footsteps.

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