The morning started in Vancouver waking up at 5am after seeing Roger Waters The Wall concert the night before at BC Place. Picking up Dale then heading to the ferry terminal to meet Brian, we felt tired but very excited and a little nervous. Arriving at Port Renfrew around noon and after our check in and orientation at the trailhead, we set off for our first day of hiking The West Coast Trail around 2:30pm. The days hike would only be about 5km but it was straight up a muddy steep mountain, carrying our 40+ pound packs.
Arriving at Thrasher camp site we dropped our packs, found a camp site on the beach and set up our tarp, tents and made dinner, followed by a camp fire and some Burt Reynolds with some new friends that were camping near by. Finally I slipped into my johnwear long johns for a cozy, warm sleep on a dry evening.
The next day we started slowly as we did not have our pack down routine in order as of yet. Setting off around 10am we hiked about 8km to our next camp site at Campers, having to cross a river by cable car just before camp. Along with the many ladders up and down, log bridges and muddy uphill climb, it was a hard second day. Again we set up our camp, ate dinner, built a campfire and I slipt into my johnwear long johns for another cozy evening.
The next day, more ladders, mud and a fairly intense hiking day lasting about 12 km but ending at a beautiful camp site where we eventually met Tom, a German hiker that had done the WCT 4 times and a number of other famous hikes around the world. We exchanges stories and he gave us many good tips on how to hike and pack our packs properly for our next adventure. We realized that our packs had too many items and were heavier then necessary. Another cozy night in my johnwear long johns.
The next day we set off a little earlier and hiked along the beach reaching Chez Monique’s in the early afternoon, while grabbing a burger and some sugar bevarages and ales. It was a colder day with some rain so we all took out our johnwear toques and were wearing them throughout the days hike. By the end of the day, since we were feeling energized after the burgers and drinks we decided to hike longer and skip the next camp site and find one along the way. Soon we realized this was a mistake as it began raining very hard and finding a suitable camp site was becoming harder and harder. After back tracking a few times we found an area that we made due with and set up camp and ate dinner in the rain. The only thing that got me through that harsh night were my dry pair of johnwear long johns at the end of the day.
The next day was a long day of hiking in the rain with the team travelling about 18 kms. We met Hippie Doug who made us fresh crabs and filled our bellies with cold beer. While hiking that day we decided that with the weather the way it was we wanted to finish the trail sooner and were going to hike the last 22 km the next day instead of over the next 2 days. I wasn’t sure if I could do the distance but went with the teams desicion. Again the evening ended with me slipping into my long johns and toque and having a good night sleep even though it was raining hard outside the tent and was a chilly evening.
The last day we woke up early, packed our gear quickly and set off without our normal breakfast routine. Just a quick Clif bar and slipping on our johnwear toques for the cold morning hike. Needless to say it was a long day hiking through knee deep mud and waist high raging rapids but we arrived at the trailhead about 8.5 hours later just before the office closed at 5pm and booked a motel room in town for that evening. We finished the West Coast Trail in 5 and a half days, 1 day quicker than our ambitious schedule.
My johnwear long johns and toque were a big part of getting me through this adventure, mentally and physically. It was one of the hardest things I have done thus far but also one of the most enjoyable. I look forward to another excursion in the following years to add to my john lifestyle. be a john.