Juan de Fuca Trail: Day 1 (China to Mystic)
The day had finally come to embark on our journey hiking the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. I felt that excited anticipation of being out in the fresh air, amongst the trees and far away from technology and civilization.
I had been vacationing in Victoria, British Columbia, for the past few days with my partner-in-camping-crime, J. The weather had been beautiful so far, and was supposed to continue on for the upcoming week.
On the way out of the hotel that morning, I stopped by the lobby computer to print out the latest forecast for Port Renfrew.
Hm, the next few days was looking like rain … more rain … still raining.
Crap. Our entire hike, save the last day, was predicted to see an 80 percent chance of 10 to 25 millimetres of rain every day. We were doomed.
Well, you know how these weather forecasts are — barely reliable. J and I took off and after numerous stop-offs to pick up our car rental, grab last minute groceries and lunch, we started the hour and a half drive to China Beach.
About half an hour before we reached the China Beach parking lot, the sky was looking pretty grey and the raindrops began to hit the windshield.
And so it began.
At the parking lot, we did our final pack up and chatted with the veteran patrol who was manning the lot. He advised us to take all of our valuables with us, so along came the Blackberry and wallet.
Finally, at 4:30 pm, we left the last signs of concrete and began our trek into the woods.
But not before we paid our camping fees ($10 per person, per night)! We filled out the self-registration envelopes, added our cash, and dropped them into the red box in the parking lot (you can pay for all of your nights at once).
Now, we were off!
We traversed the two-kilometre hike to Mystic Beach, which was complete with boardwalks, stairs, tree roots, stones and a suspension bridge.
At 5:20 pm, we had arrived. It was grey and cloudy as we walked down to the west end of Mystic Beach to find a camping spot. A number of tents already lined the beach, far away from the shoreline.
We found one of the last spots on the beach, nestled behind what J nicknamed “the Dog Bone.”
As we learned throughout the trip, the beaches on the Juan de Fuca Trail are full of stones and rocks (don’t expect to be basking in the sand, people), and so was the area surrounding our tent space.
We had to do a little improvising as we couldn’t really peg our tent down properly — so we used heavy stones to keep them in place.
The first day of setting up always seems to take the longest. It’s like you have to switch mental gears from having all the comforts and conveniences of the city ready for you to having to carry all your possessions on your back and set up your home for the night.
It was 8:40 by the time we got the water boiling for our pasta dinner. By this time, we had our headlamps out and the rain was starting up again.
We ducked under our tarp and scarfed down dinner. By 10 pm, we were tucked away in the tent and ready for bed.
Day 1 Recap
Total = 2 km (50 minutes)
So far, so good. I wondered if the rain would continue to hold out for us as we continued onward.
But given that we were hiking a marine trail notorious for its rain and mud, that was probably hoping for a lot.
>> Read the next post in the Juan de Fuca adventure series: Day 2 (Mystic to Bear)