West Coast Trail
The next day the girls broke camp early. Since we weren’t going
anywhere in particular, Mike and I were in no hurry. Nevertheless,
after we started hiking, we passed the girls on the trail. At first
the trail followed the coastline. You had to be careful, though,
because that part of the trail was under water during high tide. The
trail further inland, when accessible, was even more difficult.
We hadn’t walked very far before we came to the end of the rocky
coastline trail. Steep cliffs prevented us from going any farther. A
stream emptied into the ocean at that spot, so we hiked upstream
hoping to find the inland trail. We searched for two or three hours
before we found it. The trail was full of mud, not just wet dirt, but
three or four inches of real mud. As we moved through the hilly jungle terrain, that mud continually challenged us.
At times, fallen trees blocked the trail. The trees were huge and the
foliage off the trail was too dense to walk through. It was either up
and over or down and under. When possible, it was up and over, but
more often than not, it was down and under. A backpack strapped to your back, crawling on hands and knees through four inches of mud, was, to put it mildly, not a nice experience. Occasionally, the
blocking trees were so numerous that a natural bridge of interlocking tree trunks was created. On top of a fallen tree trunk, a two-foot wide path opened and meandered, pick-up stick fashion, sometimes 50 or 60 feet above the jungle floor. It was both eerie and stimulating to be walking on dead trees at that height. That night we stayed at a place called, appropriately, Camper’s Cove. We were exhausted from hiking.
The next morning we were up and at’em, moving through the jungle, taking advantage of the ocean scenery whenever possible. In the afternoon we came to a particularly beautiful spot just off the main trail. We were high above the ocean when we spied an opening at the edge of the cliff. When we walked towards it, we discovered a scenic view that was fantastic. A beam of sunlight shone directly upon us as we found a dry spot to sit with our backs propped up against a tree trunk. A thousand feet below, the ocean stretched to the horizon, and just off to our left, the majestic Olympic Peninsula (back in the States) rose out of the ocean. The snow capped mountain peaks shown like diamonds in the sky. Mike and I were speechless. We looked at each other and knew we weren’t going anywhere. Then, Mike remembered the marijuana he was holding. With generous amounts of smoke dope, under the bluest of blue skies, with light dancing off the ocean’s surface, we lulled ourselves into a euphoric stupor.
If it hadn’t been for the dude who came up to us and asked if we had seen any girls hiking the trail (the chick’s had leap-froged us a
couple hours earlier), we might have had to spent the night there. At that point, we realized there was no room for a tent or a campfire, so we hit the trail again. When we reached Culet Cove we joined everybody in a reunion of sorts. The chicks had built a nice shelter from the driftwood lying about. When they asked us to join them for dinner, we were happy to oblige. Their delicious rice dish and their company were very much appreciated. The chick’s four friends were visiting from Berkley. None of them had hiked the West Coast Trail before, but the girls, who had a house in Seattle, had heard about it and thought it would be an enjoyable adventure for everyone. As best I could tell, they were right.