Sunday, 12 May 2013

Juan de Fuca: For the love of structures.....

Well, it's been a busy two weeks! Hiked the Juan de Fuca Trail and attended a conference where I presented a paper about women and backpacking. I think the hike was more successful that the conference presentation! We had great weather, which meant of course, that when we start the WCT this week we will probably have terrible weather. At least according to the forecast. But I'm not so worried. Because weirdly enough, the Juan de Fuca lack something that makes traversing the difficult terrain of the WCT so much easier. 


I love structures. 

The ladders, bridges, stairs, and boardwalks of the West Coast Trail may be hazardous when slippery and a challenge for the cardiovascular system when ascending, but man, do I appreciate them after the Juan de Fuca. It lacks structures. Most of the trail looks like this.
And this.
While the wonderful WCT trail crew cover such washouts and steep muddy ravine banks with ladders etc., there was n'er a ladder to be seen on the Juan de Fuca, which meant that 12 km between Bear Beach and Chin Beach, the 'most difficult' section, took about seven hours to complete. And all the little balancing muscles around our knees were sore and wobbly from negotiating the precarious footing. On the third day when we came to this, even my hiking partner, who is afraid of heights, was glad for the relief of a bridge, rather than a steep, precarious descent and ascent.

So I am oddly looking forward to the ladders of the WCT, which means my knees won't be quite so mud-covered as I scamble up slippery banks, and my quads won't hurt from so many awkward lunges over tree roots ('man steps' we tended to call them, because they would have been way easier to manage with longer legs). Furthermore, all this trudging over difficult trail was a good test run for the longer WCT (but perhaps easier terrain-wise). I'm ready to go.
Chin Beach did have one very aesthetically pleasing 'structure'. 

The Juan de Fuca also was the beginning of a list I want to start of all the odd things I witness people bringing into (and often leaving) in the backcountry. In this short 4 day trip we found or saw people bring: 
-a full litre of half and half cream (not even milk, but cream! it wasn't even UHT, it was the kind that needs to be refrigerated!)
-a can of coconut milk
-a litre of canola oil (trail-side deep frying?)
-a basketball
This last one was found stuck between two logs in the middle of the rainforest, 10 km from the nearest road or flat surface appropriate for playing basketball. WTF? If it was washed up on the beach, sure, but in the middle of the forest??
This list is To Be CONTINUED.....


No comments:

Post a Comment