Saturday, October 27, 2012I'm far enough removed from the Vancouver Island camping trip now that I think I can write up a post about it! No, it wasn't that bad, I'm kidding.
The overnight trip Peter and I made to Joffre Lake was a practice run for our Vancouver Island vacation. This was one of those - spend some time exploring where you live - vacations. I'd never been to Tofino, or anywhere else on the Island other than Nanaimo and Victoria, so we figured it was time we explored a bit more.
Peter got the name of this trail & beach from a co-worker who raved about it. You drive to Port Alberni and then go down a logging road towards Bamfield. Now, my previous experiences of 'logging roads' are of the narrow and very rutted variety - the kind that make you think, oh, THIS is what off-road vehicles are for (as you drive up in a Smart Car). But this logging road to Bamfield was a highly engineered and immaculately maintained, wide gravel road. Quite the surprise.
After ~2 hours on the logging road we reached the trail head. Peter's co-worker, who tipped us off to this destination said that they were knee deep in mud on the trail when they did it. Peter mentioned this to me about 30min away from said trail. I was not looking forward to trudging through mud.
Fortunately for us we only ended up ankle deep in mud because the trail was dryer than it's ever been (according to a local we passed). There were huge mud pits with some stepping logs, but every now and then there was just no way across or around without getting dirty. (I hate being dirty, especially when there is not a shower at the destination.)
Important to pause here and remind everyone that despite the sudden rash of camping, I am not a nature girl. I have a serious bug phobia and whenever nature touches me my phobia is all "WTF - was that a bug?! Is there a bug on me?!".... so imagine me hiking along a very narrow, jungle-y trail where branches are touching me CONSTANTLY... it was kind of mentally exhausting, in all seriousness. I was never so happy to exit the woods onto a beach in my life (I practically sprinted, with my pack on, at the end).
And the beach was lovely. There were 2 other groups of people camping (I think, I never really saw anyone, just some distant campfires), so we had no trouble finding a spot all to ourselves.
I spent the afternoon laying and reading, recovering. Peter went exploring (Peter is not good at sitting still, even after a hike). The evening was all about the campfire, of course. That's the whole point of camping, as far as I'm concerned.
We had our tent pitched on the beach and previous visitors had made little quasi sheltered areas with driftwood logs and windbreaks and fire pits. The first night was nice. The next day was overcast and drizzly. We explored, and hung out and did nothing in particular.
The second night was rainy. Pouring rain, in fact. Pouring rain and crashing surf and wind. Peter was up most of the night wondering if our tent would keep out the water (that never occurred to me), I was up all night imagining how deep the mud pits would be on the hike out. Seriously, it kept me up, worrying about it. Silly, I know, but apparently these are the things that get to me.
We started hiking out pretty early the next morning, since it was overcast & drizzly and not really beach weather. Peter had the brilliant idea to find walking sticks for the hike back and that made a HUGE difference in being able to avoid mud pits, and navigate the terrain. We actually stayed pretty clean. And the hike went faster than expected.
In good time we were back at the car and then in a diner in Bamfield having breakfast. Ah, civilization. I've never appreciated a glass of cold tap water so much ever.
In fact, I'm going to go have some cold tap water now, just because I can!
Loads more photos - posted on the flickr account.