All the advice given is to spend the day walking the 5 kms to Thrasher Cove. This is one of the most rugged pieces of trail and unless you are very fit, you likely won’t be able to make it to the 2nd site at Camper Bay – it would be a 13 km hike and a long hard day.
We woke up early after a pretty good nights sleep. Had some noisy neighbours that went on late the evening before. We woke up to waves on the beach, seagulls and some boats heading out around 5:00 am to fish. It is a foggy morning but by 7:30 we can see across the bay.
We took the tent down, had breakfast (oatmeal, tea & coffee), repacked our packs which were now 53 pounds each (added fuel and some perishable food that we would eat the first day or two) and drove to the West Coast Trail Hotel http://www.westcoasttrailmotel.com/ to park the car. Cost for 6 days of parking was $30.00. Got a ride back to Butch’s to catch the boat to the beginning of the trail.
We were the first ones there. A group of 7 came shortly after and the father was annoying us before we even left the dock. Got on the boat and headed across the Gordon River to the start of the trail.
We started up the trail on a path with some mud and quite steep. Lots of rocks to maneouver around as well as roots to climb over so we went slow. With all our picture taking we were averaging about 1 km per hour.
We came to our first ladder – Justin did well ( he doesn’t like ladders or heights) as this one only had 4 rungs on it. A good way to work your way up to the bigger ladders ahead. We continued along the trail, going mostly uphill, up and down ladders, across bridges and boardwalks. Had a few breaks to take the packs off or rest them on a log to give the thighs and backs a break. No slips or falls as we were taking our time.
We met about 20 people on their way out who said it was real muddy around Walbran Creek. Saw a number of banana slugs and black caterpillars but not much else.
We could hear boats heading out to fish for the first 1.5 hours and then it was quiet. There were many nice areas that were superb walking and the scenery consisted of old trees, stumps and regrowth.
At Km 72 there is an old donkey engine that was used by loggers to get logs to the water. There is still evidence of heavy cables stretched taut between trees that was left there decades ago.
For lunch we had sausage, cheese and crackers at the 4.5km (70.5 km) mark and then headed to Trasher Cove.
Getting to Thrasher from the main trail requires navigating steep ladders with swithbacks between them that wind their way down the hill to the cove. The trail is about 1 km in length and is not too bad this way. Can’t imagine what it would be like to go the other way.
We arrived there around 2:00 pm and found a good spot on the beach. Gathered firewood as there was not much around. A couple were looking to set up right beside us, but the boys gave them a look that suggested a better spot could be found elsewhere. We met them again later and Leane and Dean thanked us as they found a real good spot with nobody near them further down the beach. Once we are settled in, we send out a SPOT message on our SPOT SATELLITE MESSENGER unit http://international.findmespot.com/ so that those at home know we are done for the day and safe in camp. If you don’t carry one of these, I would strongly suggest that you consider adding it to your “must have” equipment. Worth its weight in gold if you ever find yourself in a situation that requires assistance or evacuation.
This site has 2 compost toilets and 2 bear bins. There is also good drinking water close. By suppertime there were about 25-30 people which seemed to be just fine. We had supper of Shrimp Jambalaya with Quinoa – we prepare all of our meals in advance and dehydrate them rather than buy prepacked meals. We find the sodium content of those is just too high for the most part. We do carry a couple of pre-packaged meals in the event we get delayed longer than we expected.
We spoke too soon. It is now about 6:30 pm and there are 60 people here with tents everywhere. We have pretty much lost our view with the latest tents setting up in front of us – in our opinion too close to where the tide will come to as evidenced by the flotsam on the beach. The main reason for this large influx of people is that Thrasher is the first/last site from Gordon River. If you are heading south you need to stop here for the night before finishing the hike the next day. Unless you are determined enough to pass Thrasher and continue onto Camper Bay, this is your first site as well. Better to be early than late though.
We head into the tent around 9:30 as we have another long day ahead tomorrow, but are woken up around 11:00 pm by the people who set their tents in front of us. The tide is coming in with waves and they are frantically pulling their tents away from the tide so their gear doesn’t get wet. Not much we can do other than lay in our tent and watch the action. Other than that it is a quiet night, other than you can hear the snoring from 4 or 5 tents down as everyone is so close together.
Then back to sleep.