I just got back from a 2 night, 3 day hike on the Juan De Fuca Marine Trail with my friend YJ. I hiked this trail back in 2010 where I did it in 1 night, 2 days. Yes, I was crazy back then. You can see the post here. This time around, I wanted to take it slow and easy. YJ had never done a trip like this before. He said the last time he did some serious hiking was when he was in the military 16 years ago in Taiwan. Well, I can honestly say that he made it through and did a very good job! To view all the pictures click HERE.
You can also view YJ’s blog at winnieandyj.blogspot.ca and see his side of the story for this trip (Search for Juan de Fuca). It’s pretty entertaining!
Day 1 – China Beach to Bear Beach
After a hefty lunch at Yoshi Sushi (our last civilized meal), we drove and parked at the day use trail head at China Beach. It was raining when we got there so that didn’t bode well to our start of the hike. We hiked from China beach trailhead to Bear beach (9km) and took us about 3 hours. We managed to pass by a big group of noisy school kids along the trail and lucked out on a camp spot at Bear Beach. We were kind of glad there was no room for those teenagers at Bear beach or else it would’ve been a loud massive party. For the first night’s dinner we had Katmandu Curry Rice MEC package meal and Sidekicks pasta. It was really delicious. We wanted to finish it off with some hot chai tea but there was one problem – we ran out of propane! Luckily I had a spare tank (which was not even half full) but we had two more days left of the hike and we needed to save it just in case. So we didn’t have tea that night. Nor did we make a fire due to the rain and lack of firewood. So we decided to head back into the tent and talk for about 2 hours. We chatted about everything under the sun. We chatted about our work (we used to be co-workers), about life, and about people who have bad breath. We both noticed this certain co-worker who had stinky breath all the time. I thought I was the only one that noticed but apparently other people have to. I think for those who haven’t noticed the bad breath, they didn’t take a big enough whiff. This became our topic of conversation that night and also for the next few days actually. It was quite hilarious.
Day 2 – Bear Beach to Sombrio Beach
Today was the big day. On the trail map it has it listed as the most difficult section of the trail. The total distance from Bear to Sombrio is 18km. It took us over 9 hours including breaks and lunch. I think the most difficult part of the section is the last kilometre into Sombrio Beach. It looks very deceiving when you get to Sombrio point and you can see the campsite off at a distance. What they don’t tell you on the map is that you have to hike through endless amounts of treacherous mud to get to the camp spot. It took us about an hour to hike through the last 1km! I remember a few years ago when I hiked this – I almost died…literally. This time around I was bit more prepared as I knew what to expect but it was still long and gruesome.
We wanted to have an epic meal that night but due to the fact that I only had less than half a tank of gas, we decided to have two MEC meals and no Sidekicks as it would take longer to cook. We did manage to have hot tea that night and a fire. It was tough to get firewood but we managed to collect a few from the beach. We saw one family that had a huge stack of fire wood about 10 feet high. They were a bunch of hoarders! Were they camping for the whole week? YJ and I also noticed that the people around our camp spot were not hikers but more “car campers”. They all brought stuff from their cars, like their coolers, bbq set, camping chairs, wheel barrel, etc. There was one couple that we saw that had a whole whack of beer cans scattered around their tent. It was pretty interesting to see.
Day 3 – Sombrio Beach to Botanical Beach and to Victoria
We woke up to a wet morning. It was a good thing we had the tarp on top of our tent or else we would’ve been soaked. We decided to finish the trail and not stay another day. We were low on fuel and didn’t want to stay in the wet weather. We started our day at 7am and arrived at Botanical Beach at around 4pm. The total distance from Sombrio to Botanical is about 20 km. During the hike I started noticing some “birth” pains. You see, I had not gone to the washroom in 4 days. Yup, that’s right, 4 days. I was still holding on to the massive amounts of sushi I had a few days ago. Usually YJ and I would chat when we hike but when I started noticing my abdominal pains I became quiet for about 30 minutes. All this time I was thinking how am I going to get the “dragon” out when there’s no place to go. The trail was long and there seemed to be no space available. Then luckily we stumbled upon a resting area and there was an outhouse! Booyah! I held my breath and the rest is history!
When we got to Botanical, we had to figure out how to get to Port Renfrew and back home. We had booked the West Coast Trail Shuttle bus for the next day, not knowing that we finished the trail a day earlier. As we didn’t run the risk of the bus being full, we decided to try our chances and hitchhike. We were lucky to bump into a couple near the trail head who drove us back to China Beach! It took 3 days to hike the JDF trail but only 45 minutes to drive back. Crazy. We finished the day with our victory meal at 17 mile pub with burgers, wings, and beer.