From Thrasher there are really two options to continue. One is to go back up the ladders and switchbacks to get back on the main trail, and the other is to head along the beach – which is totally dependent on working within the confines of high and low tides. We took the beach.
As we were planning the trip, we decided that we would not stay at all the “normal” sites as we figured they would maybe be too crowded. Our hike today proved that theory as there were only 4 groups of us (about 9 total) at Cullite Creek. The biggest downside was that firewood was scarce and at a premium, so we all decided to have just one fire and share the wood. It is an extra 4 kms of hiking though.
We woke at 5 am to another foggy morning, and while one of us was boiling water, the other two were packing up the sleeping bags, taking the tent down and filling any water bottles we emptied the night before. We made sure we had our bottles filtered and treated the night before so we would not be spending too much time on this in the morning. There was nobody else up at this time, although there was some stirring in adjoining tents. This is where having hikers that have hiked together before have an advantage as everyone knows what needs to be done.
Breakfast consisted of wraps with peanut butter and banana – a trail favourite for us. Wash it down with coffee or tea and you are good to go for hours.
We were the first hikers out of Thrasher and headed around the corner to get on the beach heading to Owens Point. Someone with a sick sense of humour called this a beach, but it is miles of rocks, boulders, bigger boulders, stray logs on the ground, stray logs perched on top of the rocks, and the rocks you walk on are still a bit slippery as the tide has just gone out.
Beyond all that it was an absolutely gorgeous part of the hike. You just had to watch where you were stepping, and if you wanted to look up – STOP first.
There are a lot of little tidal pools along the way with anemone, crabs, starfish and other marine life that got left behind by the tide.
At the end of this stretch we came to Owen Point, which has some fabulous caves as well as sea lions off the point. One of these caves can be walked through at low tide, but once the tide comes in you need to get around the point. It comes in much faster than you would expect. There are ropes hanging in the area to help you get around if the water forces you to climb over the point.
Once we were around the point we walked along a limestone ledge and crossed a number of surge channels. The big ones we went around.
As the tide was coming in, we climbed out at KM 65 and walked to the main trail. This section was quite muddy, had a number of ladders and was slow going.
Once we got to Camper Bay, we took the cable car across – that was neat – and continued overland to Cullite campsite. We didn’t stop to look at the Camper Bay site. There are many, many ladders on this stretch and some mud. Some of these ladders have over 200 rungs and you know pretty quick if you are in shape or not – even going down them works your legs and arms. There are some very muddy sections due to the high volume of rain the previous week, and the gaiters help to keep some of the mud from getting into the boots. Lunch on the trail consisted of tuna in foil pouches with crackers and some cheese.
Cullite is an awesome campsite with a good view, but very little firewood. As we had our fire going first, the rest of those camped there joined us all around one fire.
For supper we had Beef Noodle Soup which was welcome as the wind had picked up a bit and we were out of the sun. As always tea and coffee preceeded and followed supper.
Most everyone was headed off to bed by 8:30 or so, so we finished up our hot chocolate, made sure the fire was put out and headed for a good nights sleep.
That is the end of Day 3 and I have taken over 500 pictures already. Not sure how many Josh and Justin have taken. Good thing I have spare batteries and memory cards.