Juan de Fuca Trail: Day 2 (Mystic to Bear)
The next morning, we woke up at 6:45 to the sound of waves crashing on the shore. The ocean sounded so loud and close by, as though it was washing all of our stuff away.
I had a sore back and we both had gotten some pretty bad sleep, but a breakfast of eggs, bagels and coffee started to turn things around.
The other thing that takes awhile to adjust to is packing up in the morning. We left our site at 10:30! Ugh.
Dealing with this bugger that had found his home on our tent didn’t help quicken the process any.
We ran into a few of these slugs along the trail as well, except they were usually yellow. They’re called banana slugs and apparently have both male and female organs.
I have to admit that we weren’t all that impressed with Mystic Beach, given all the hype about how beautiful it was. It could’ve just been the grey gloominess of the weather though.
In any case, it was clearly a popular spot for hikers and day trippers and it might serve you well to get there sooner rather than later to claim a good spot for the night.
The day’s trek started off with sun and clouds overhead. The trail map had marked this part of the route as “moderate.” There were lots of steadily ascending parts of the trail that kept it challenging though.
An hour later, we welcomed the break at kilometre 5.
I was pretty fatigued between kilometres 7 and 8, as we hadn’t stopped for lunch and the never-ending ascents were, well, never-ending.
There was a very steep descent down to Bear Beach. As I had read previously on another tripper’s blog, it could be quite hair-raising. Just take your time and remember that on a wet day, anything could be slippery!
At 1:20 pm, we were officially on Bear Beach. It was a nice change to get on site early in the day, and have time to set up and relax. Something that rarely happens on our trips!
I had already been mentally prepared from my research that Bear Beach was not going to be an impressive sight. It wasn’t.
The entire beach was full of rocks and creepy looking logs. It reminded me of a barren Wasteland scene from The Lion King. The only creatures that looked interested in occupying the place were the flock of birds claiming their territory by the shore.
There were three campsites available on the beach, each tucked far away from shore into the tree line. We grabbed the first site as the trees looked like they would provide some shelter from the rain we were anticipating to come.
A family of four — mom, dad and two young boys — who we had met along the trail passed by our site as they were making their way down the beach.
One of the sons had asked me earlier if I knew how much longer it would be until the next kilometre (to which the mom reminded him that I had just as much information as he did about that).
Now, on the beach, the mom and I chatted about our trip routes. They were doing the same as us, but stopping on Sombrio Beach for a night and ending a day later.
I had to laugh after the son piped in: “And then we’re staying at a hotel!”
While J was setting up camp, I cooked up our late lunch. I had been carrying around a water bottle full of dehydrated food all day so it would be rehydrated for lunch time. We had dehydrated most of our food for this trip back in Toronto and brought it over on the plane.
For hiking trips, I think this is hands down the way to go. It will save you tons of space, weight and money.
And, in my opinion, you can cook up some meals that will taste way better than some of those pre-packaged dehydrated meals from the store.
Well, the rain started up around 4 pm. We settled into the tent for some stretching and ended up falling asleep.
When we woke up, it was still raining. And it kept raining. And raining. And raining. At 9 pm, we were ready for bed and it was still raining!
The water had started to seep through our tent floor, as we hadn’t brought a groundsheet to save packing space for the flight over.
But we were just thankful that we had gotten camp set up before the downpour. “It could be worse” turned out to be the running theme of our trip.
Day 2 Recap
Day 2 Total = 7 km (2 hours & 50 minutes)
Our next day was going to be the “most difficult” part of the trip, so we committed to waking up at 5 am to hopefully make it to camp early again.
Our reflections of the trail so far was that much of the trail felt “manmade”, as we had encountered numerous boardwalks, stairs and bridges that helped us to manoeuvre over some of the terrain.
Don’t get me wrong, we were still getting a good workout. But I think after our previous year’s hike on the La Cloche Silhouette Trail, which had some very rugged and unforgiving terrain, JDF was feeling a bit more hiker-friendly.
I did appreciate the kilometre markers and creek signs along the route, as they were helpful indicators of how much more we had left to go.
And the trail itself throughout the entire trip was pretty clearcut, so the chances of taking a wrong turn were slim. (If there ever was a split in the trail, it was usually because one way was a shortcut or a less steep route back onto the main trail.)
Well, I don’t know if I’d be using the term “hiker-friendly” again. As we were to soon learn, JDF had both its friendly moments and its ugly ones.
>> Read the next post in the Juan de Fuca adventure series: Day 3 (Bear to Chin)