Kilometers 2 thru 9
With the sun shining weakly I laid out my tent on the rocky beach to dry, content to drink my tea and chat with the other hikers about this moment we were sharing. Most of them were weekend hikers from Victoria, going no further, with only one couple – Erin and Brittney – continuing up the trail, young students visiting from Ontario, their packs heavy with plans of hiking the West Coast Trail after this one. As we connected another couple arrived prepared to hike to Sombrio Beach over the next couple of days, and, like us were headed to Bear Beach.
I finished packing up and set out behind the new couple, Erin and Brittney trailing behind me. Quickly I overtook the new comers and found myself alone, hiking through the serene dew dampened forests familiar on the west coast. Climbing up from the beach to the crest of a ridge then back down into the valley to seal level, began the yo-yoing pattern that would last the next 5 days.
The tide was high as I arrived at the Southern end of Bear Beach, I planned to camp at the northern end – closer to the trail exit for next section and after the beach walk – so I sat against a beached log and read in the wavering sunshine, waiting for the tide to recede and reveal the trail. Several creek crossings later I found a well-situated campsite, sheltered from the winds and protected by a grandfather oak. After setting up my tent and sleeping bag to air out I set out to find the bear box and water.
I found myself balanced on a mosey rock filtering water when a noise from the beach startled me from my perch and landed me on my butt in the creek. Emerging back onto the beach from the trees I was surprised to see a fellow solo female hiker, Amy, who is my age and local to the area. She said she’d been following my footsteps up the beach hoping for another girl rather than a potentially “creepy old man” and was as excited to see me as I was to see her.
We camped together that night, lighting a bonfire in one of the rings and cooking on the open fire, sharing stories of countries we’d visited, and past trails traveled late into the night. In the morning we lit another fire, enjoying its warmth on the misty morning and explored the tide pools, daring each other into deeper water.