Day 1: 7/28/2016, 7km
It has now been eight months since I had major hip surgery, and time to put my reconstructed hip to the test. We landed in Vancouver and spent the night near the ferry terminal in an Airbnb with a nice Canadian couple. I couldn’t help but notice the large marijuana plants thriving on their balcony. We got an early start due to the jet lag and took the ferry over to Vancouver Island where we stopped at a disappointing outdoor store in Victoria in hopes of finding a topographical map of the Juan de Fuca Trail. They had none. One of the young men working at the store did have some knowledge of the trail, so we discussed the merits of starting at one end of the trail or the other. He looked disapprovingly at our choice of footwear (we were both wearing trail runners), but knew better than to try to convince us to buy boots, and eventually we got on our way.
We decided to start hiking at Botanical Bay and hiked South (South East), with the assumption that most people start on the other side. Our intention was to do the trail as an out and back (or yo-yo), returning to our car rather than trying to get a shuttle or a ride back. We planned for 4 nights on the trail to cover the 47km in each direction. We paid $10 per person per night in advance in order to camp on the trail and park our car at the trail head.
We started our hike late, at about 6:30 pm. The forest was lush with evergreens and ferns and every so often we would hear the sound of ocean waves against the rocky beach. Sitka spruce, western red cedars and western hemlocks were the predominant trees, and huge numbers of sword ferns and deer ferns covered the otherwise mossy ground. We decided to stop at the first camping area, Pazant Creek Campsite, covering only 7km that first evening.
We camped right by a waterfall, and despite there being quite a few other people at the campsite, we fell asleep within minutes of putting our heads down, before darkness hit.