The End of the Trail
Trip Start Jul 01, 2009
9Trip End Sep 12, 2009
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13 km - 8 hrs
This morning we awoke with someone other than our son in the tent. The creature that had replaced Stephane was eager to get out of bed and packed up. He was persistent, waking the rest of us by 04h45. He then efficiently rolled up his sleeping bag and mat, exited the tent, and stowed all his gear in his backpack. He encouraged the rest of us to do the same while he retrieved all the food bags from the bear lockers. I'm still not sure who this stranger was but clearly he had replaced our teenage boy with a responsible young man. Now if we can just encourage this change to take root, we may be on to something.
We followed at 11h00 to tackle the last 5 km to the trailhead. This part of the trail is the slowest due to changes in elevation and all the climbing up, over, and around huge roots, massive felled trees, and boulders the size of small houses. To our delight, we caught up with Rose and Isha at the decrepit Donkey Engine at km 72.
The last 3 km seemed to stretch on forever. Our pace slowed considerably even while we were being congratulated by the north-bound hikers who were just starting out (looking very clean and smelling a great deal better than we). We were also being cautious to avoid injury as we grew fatigued. Even still there were a few mishaps, stumbles, slipping on slick wood. At one point, Celine hard on her knee when her foot snagged on a popped nail on a log bridge. Fortunately nothing was broken or seriously hurt but it was a warning for us to stay alert. I lost traction on a root and ended up in a full "spiderman" squat which looked cool but threatened to pop the ACL in my knee. Stephane risked a suspect log off of which he fell hard, hurting his left gluteus and forearm. Again, we were lucky to escape without serious injury.
Danielle, on the other hand, was in fine form today. She was chatty, high-spirited, and energized. She was a regular billy-goat climbing effortlessly, springing from root to root and rocck to rock. Whe was our trail leader and was finding everything easy. Nevertheless, the last couple of kilometers took almost an hour each! The trail never let up, right to the end where we were thrilled to see the km 75 trail marker! We had done it!! Photos were snapped, hugs all around, and big grins lit up our features.
Dan, at the motel, was very kind to change our reservation (which was supposed to be for the following night) and set us up in a top floor room with a view of the harbour. Once in the room, we collapsed on the beds, overjoyed by the creature comforts. First and foremost was a hot shower for each of us and a long scrub with the bar of soap. By the tme we were finished, the bathtub was a mess! Afterwards we spent a couple of hours drying all our equipment in the sun, re-organizing our gear, resting in bed, watching TV, and doing laundry so that we would have clean clothes to wear.
That evening, we went to the Port Renfrew Hotel on the harbour for an outstanding feast and a couple of pints of beer. Stephane, Celine and I enjoyed steak, prawns, roasted potatoes, and veggies. It was such a treat to have a "real" meal after all our 10-minute-one-pot-rehydrated-specials all week. We took a box of fish and chips back to Danielle who had elected to stay behind at the motel. We then nestled down into our comfortable and revelled in having a proper pillow for the night. It had been an amazing day, with many un-looked for delights.