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.
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.
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.
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.