Vancouver Island, B.C.
As Connie had explained it, the story behind the West Coast Trail was that a long time ago, (sixty years or more), a major storm had wiped out a lot of ships. The survivors had made it to shore, but the shore was still a long way from civilization. The mountains and forests along the island’s west coast were impassable. The shipwrecked sailors had died before they could get help. That prompted the government to cut a trail through the forest along the coast. With the trail in place, civilization was only a couple three days away for the surviving sailors.
The west side of Vancouver Island was still very unsettled, making it a perfect spot for wilderness hiking enthusiasts. The only problem was that the fifty miles of very rugged terrain had erased the trail until just recently. The island’s Recreation and Parks Department had just reopened the trail in order to attract tourists. After getting totally drunk, we left the bar, and headed off to Port Renfrew, the last town before the start of the trail. We didn’t get very far before we pulled off the highway and camped. (That was a fun evening for everybody except Connie’s boyfriend. She picked another doozy. That girl, I guess she’ll never learn.)
When I got up in the morning, I found wild blueberries growing
everywhere. I picked a large pan and shared them with Mike (after he crawled out of the tent). The pan of berries was just the thing to
take away the cottonmouth nausea left over from last night’s binge.
Mike thought so too.
Port Renfrew, a little fishing town on the southwest side of the
island, was the last place to buy groceries before reaching the
trailhead. It was late by the time we got stocked up and ready to go.
Mike wired for more money. He figured the money would have plenty of time to arrive, since we had prepared to be in the backcountry for four or five days. At the trailhead we found a few cars parked in the lot. A river separated us from the start of the trail. The sign posted on the boat dock told us that every hour (or as needed) a boat would ferry hikers across the river. We were the only hikers there, and it was already late. There was no boat. It was beginning to look like we were there for the night then an Indian came out of a little house on the other side of the river. He got in a boat and started toward us. My first thought was, “I wonder how much we’re going to have to pay for parking and ferry service?”
I was wrong. He ferried us across the river, but, on the way across,
he told us that we were starting out too late. We would, however, be
able to make it to the first camping area if we let him ferry us to
it. “It would only cost $3. a piece,” he said. Not wanting to get
stranded, Mike and I agreed.