Day Five: The “Bridges” to Payzant

Kilometeres 29 to 40

My tent was warm from the morning sun by the time I woke up,rolling over to see Amy sitting in the door of her tent, yawning. Grabbing my book,I settled on a sunlit patch of rocks, distracted by the rock spiders thatseemed to be enjoying the sunshine as much as I was.

Beach Entrance
Leaving Sombrio West

Breakfast was a quiet affair, everyone absorbed in their own wonderings. Erin and Brittney revealed that they intended to hitchhike to Port Renfrew to check into a hotel and wait out the two days until they met their friends and started the West Coast Trail. I found out later that Brittney didn’t end up feeling up to it and came to Vancouver for the week while the others hiked, it’s a long way from Ontario to come and not be able to hike the famous trail, but smart of her recognizing her limitations. Amy and I packed up together for the last time, laughing over the chances of us having the same taste in tents, boots, and travels.

Leaving Robinson Parking Lot

We traded contact information and I headed off alone, exited to be on my own again. The forest was eerily quiet after the ruckus of Sombrio. The trail continued in its well practiced pattern – up a hill, down a hill, and repeat – but dryer, higher from the beach and farther into the forest. Eventually evening out, patched with boardwalk to make the 11 kms a short and easy walk, kept interesting with the many bridges cut from fallen trees. From Sombrio to the Parkinson parking lot I didn’t see another soul, only once did the rustling of the bushes just off the trail – I’m pretty sure it was a bear – interrupted my serenity. I’d forgotten about the parking, surprised when I came upon it, but grateful for the amenities it provided. The trail became busier from there, passing day hikers going in both directions as I continued to Payzant.

Payzant Campsite

The Payzant campsite was larger than I expected – however limitedby it’s one outhouse and bear box – as I crossed over the wooden bridge entrance,admiring the waterfall rushing beneath me. Wondering around the deserted site Isettled on a tent square with a view of the waterfall. Since it was still earlyafternoon and the weather was warm enough, I eyed the water, suddenly aware ofthe 5 days since my last shower. The scramble down the bank was slippery and wornand something I didn’t feel like repeating, I made sure to filter enough water tolast me to Port Renfrew before stripping down and bracing myself stepped underthe falling water. I was drying off when – waving from the bridge – the onlyother campers arrived, a couple.

A cliff-side viewpoint was a dinning room, lit by the red hews of the setting sun as I sat to cook and eat my dinner, content in my own company. The fears – bears, being alone, and camping in the woods rather than the beach were some but mostly cougars – I’d recognized that morning seemed to have melted away over the kilometers. Leaving only peace and the promise of a deep sleep.