An early morning shot of the waterfall at Bonilla Point.
The campsite at Bonilla Point, the ladies tent shows but mine is hidden somewhere behind what looks like a goal post.
Don’t feel as well rested this morning as yesterday, seemed to be awake a lot during the night, perhaps the fear of being invaded by man-eating animals. There was no evidence that we had been visited by any, not even mice, though last night I had bought my trousers inside the inner tent.
Did not manage a quick start this morning but it was pleasant chatting with Debbie and Barb and others like the German lads as they went past. Eventually close to 10 o’clock the three of us set off up the beach with plans to get breakfast at Chez Moniques.
The start of the hike up the beach with the lighthouse showing through the gap in the rocks.
It was a beautiful, hot morning and walking with Debbie and Barb meant a good pace, they were not planning to go far today, perhaps only 4 or so kilometres. I was aiming to get to the 26km mark which was going to be about 18km walk.
Just about to set off, taken by Debbie.
Entering the bay of Chez Monique.
Getting closer to Chez Monique.
As we walked up the beach there were actually three people surfing, they had arrived by boat, no idea where from, and were catching waves of about 10ft or so. Seeing them made me think of Luke who commuted on the train with us and would soon be off to university, I tried to take a picture but can’t find it now so may have accidently made a video.
Debbie with Barb and Chez Monique in the background.
After close to an hours walk and meeting many happy people going the other way with tales of burgers, we arrived at Chez Monique. Famous amongst West Coast Trail hikers this construction of tarpaulin and various bits of wood bleached by the elements, provides a small conservatory dining area infront of an open-plan kitchen/servery. We were too late for breakfast so it was going to be burgers. I had a regular burger with a hot chocolate and a cream soda, Barb had a Complete Works which added mushrooms, bacon, cheese and other bits and Debbie who thought she would not be able to eat anything due to her cealiacs had a specially made veggie burger with all the ingredients checked to make sure she could have them, a better service than you find at most restaurants and this on a beach that is only serviced by walking or boat. The hostess was keen to tell me, when she took my name for the order, that we shared Irish lineage, her mother being Irish married to a Native American and showed me her green eyes. I didn’t like to tell her that mine only extended to the name.
When the burgers arrived they were huge, think MacDonalds then go three times as big or more, to eat involved the dislocation of the jaw demonstrated by egg eating snakes. Not only was it quantity but quality as well with top rate beef.
There are probably easier ways to enjoy a burger looking out over the Pacific in the sunshine under a cloudless blue sky, I am sure that there were people doing exactly the same many hundreds of miles south of us, but the fact that we had walked more than two tiring days before getting there and the cameraderie of the other hikers made it a very special meal.
It seemed a shame to leave but I felt that I must if I was going to get to the campsite I intended, so I said bye to Debbie and Barb and the other girls who had sat with us and headed north again along the beach. After a few hundred yards I had to leave the beach and climb the first ladder of the day to cross the headland. I didn’t bother to take the side path to Carmanah Lighthouse, partly to save time and partly because I have seen quite a few lighthouses, so I continued along the trail and descented to the beach on the north side. I was making good time and soon caught up with the two German lads. Can’t have them beating the English!
I walked with Dirk and Christian for the rest of the day, for the first kilometres along the beach in blazing sun and then back on the trail. The beach turned into a rocky shelf which was better going but wet in places and Christian got very excited at a few places when he spotted first anenomes and then large starfish in the rockpools. Dirk was instructed to take photos and I joined in though it is hard to spot the maroon/redish coloured starfish at the top of the picture and impossible to spot the anenome.
Starfish hanging on below a bed of mussels. Sounds like an expensive meal.
One of the few bits of wreck left visible on the shore. Perhaps part of a mast.
We also saw some bits of wrecks as we walked. There lots of wrecks marked on the map of the trail with details of each ship, its journey and number of casualties, but there are hardly any to be seen on the shore. Today we spotted what looked like part of a mast and further on some bits of a steel hull with sections of rivets.
After a good walk along the shore we had to head back in to the forest in order to cross one creek by bridge and make it to Nininat narrows for the ferry across a river. We mistook the route a little and ended up walking up the bed of the first creek to the bridge, but judginf by the footprints we weren’t the first. The 2 km from the beach to the ferry were not hard compared to what we had done on other days but still a bit of an anticlimax after the beautiful walk along the beach. We were pushing on a bit as we had been told the ferry stopped running at 4.30pm, in fact we made it by 3.45 and had chance to sit and drink some cans out of the cooler while watched another group dig in to meals of crab or jacket potatoes with salmon or halibut, all freshly caught. The crab were actually stored in a basket in the water off the dock and you picked the one you wanted.
We took the ferry across at 4.15 and headed back on the trail then onto the beach again as soon as we could. By this time we were beginning to feel tired, the Germans had done a few more km than me and had not intended to go as far so at one point Christian asked if we were going to keep going or find somewhere to camp on the beach and it was decided we should stop beside the next headland. The site had obviously before as there was much evidence of fires and even the remains of a German guidebook to Canada, a little damp and chewed by mice. I gave the lads a bit of grief about Germans littering which they took in good heart. As we came along the last stretch of beach we spotted a load of seals basking on the top of a rock and Dirk tried to get closer to get a better picture but came back a little disappointed as he had been blocked by channels of water. Right beside the camp there was an eagle sat on a large rocky outcrop but this also refused to cooperate with Dirk and flew off.
Seals basking on the top of a large rock.
As we set up camp there was more excitement when Dirk found a snake by their rucksacs. This, like the eagle was a little camera shy, though it was having difficulty getting up the shear face of one rock it was still too fast for me, all I got was a pictured of a bit of body moving across a tree.
The middle bit of a camera shy Garter snake.
After we set up the tents Christian mouse-proofed theirs by piling sand up over the bottom of the fly-sheet. It seems thay had been kept awake the previous night by mice making a noise on the tent and when they got the courage to go out and face the wild animals the relef that it wasn’t bears was followed by irritation.
Finally they were keen to have a fire and we collected some wood of various sizes. When it came time to light it I started to hunt for some dry seaweed or bark but Chris was keen to show me a trick and with a flourish produced his flint and steel to produce sparks and a tampon. “You know vat zis is?” he asked before breaking it apart and spreading it at the bottom of the fire. With one strike of the steel it took and was a pretty impressive way of getting the fire going. Another trick they showed me later was to fill a plastic bottle with water and put it in the fire. Instead of melting the bottle the water keeps it cool but boils inside.
As it was the highest tide of the week we were a bit concerned whether we were high enough, Dirk and I were confident but Chris decided he would stay up til after the high tide at 11.39 while I went to bed about 11.
Evening sun on the forest.