Kilometres 9 thru 21
We intended to get an early start for the hike to Chin beach, having been forewarned that this next section, dubbed “The 11 Hills” was the hardest part of the trail. However, by the time we dragged ourselves from our downy sleeping bags and started a fire we’d decided we weren’t in any rush. Besides, how long could 11 kms really take?
Almost 7 hours. I checked the time stamps of the photos and it took almost 7 hours, how it took that long still confounds me.
Our morning fire starting efforts went better, hampered only slightly by the dampened driftwood and misty morning. Breakfast made in pots we’d nestled in the flames heated water, as we warmed and stretched beside them. Relaxed from lounging in the morning sun, we dragged our feet as we began to repack our still damp gear.
Voices broke our peace as the two couples from the day before came into view, they had camped at the Southern end, not knowing how far the campsite stretched the coast. Erin and Brittney stopped to chat, and we showed them the sea stars, urchins, anemones, and other hidden gems we’d discovered in the ever-changing tide pools.
We’d finished packing and headed out with Erin and Brittney, deciding to hike as a group for the day. Coming to the end of the beach, we took a moment to admire “Statue Rock” before turning to climb up the small rock face to reach the trail, passing our packs between us before slipping and sliding up the algae covered trail. Man-sized ferns, towering trees, and rugged cliffs reminiscent of Jurassic Park filled our sights as we climbed the first hill.
Brittney’s too heavy pack and bad knee was slowed our pace and the constant up and down of the trail was draining us all. By the time we reached the creek with the rope tow we were all more than a little frustrated, Erin and Amy crossed safely while I waited for Brittney, helping her with the rope and trying to guide her steps. She slipped and landed on the large rock lodged on the lip of the creek’s small waterfall, and turtled from the weight of her backpack. I found myself balanced on two rocks with the water running around me, trying to get her back on her feet. Having passed my poles over to Amy to free my hands, Brittney tried to pass me her pack, struggling under the weight and leaving me to lift it up the embankment to Erin alone as she sat there, seemingly content to watch. With soaked boots I pulled myself from the creek, annoyed by the realization the chances of them drying were pretty much zero, and that we’d barely covered 5 km. We’d been hiking for hours at a snails pace, Amy and I feeling bad about leaving Erin since Brittney’s struggle just seemed to be getting worse as she slipped and tripped over every possible surface, however we cut our loses, saying we’d see them at camp, and struck out as a pair.
Cushioned forest floor turned into mud and we climbed over and under over 30 fallen trees as we continued to climb never ending ridges and valleys. It was 7:00 pm when we finally reached the beach entrance and emergency shelter, choosing the first campsite we found we sat down, exhausted, and debating how far behind us they would be. The sun had started setting, our tents erected, and we were gathering driftwood for a fire by the time Erin and Brittney reached the beach. The campsite we chosen was large, so they set up beside us and we spent a pleasant night huddled around the fire, interrupted only by one of the socks Erin was trying to dry near the fire catching fire. Sleeping soundly that night, lulled to sleep by the crashing waves.