Day 2: Bear Beach (km 9) to Chin Beach (km 21)
Read about Day 1 here.
The 12 kilometres between Bear and Chin beaches are some of the hardest on the Juan de Fuca trail; almost the entire section is a series of steep ups and downs! We started out early, after filling our bellies with oatmeal and chocolate.
Although it was tough, Day 2 brought us across streams, over logs, through deep forests, and came with a little tease of a break along a flat logging road.
Every so often, we’d begrudgingly allow some superfit people to go by, but overall we didn’t like people passing us on the trail, so we only took short breaks! When we felt pretty confident about our lead over most of the other hikers leaving Bear Beach that day, we chose a little alcove beside the trail for a quick lunch. Near an edge overlooking the ocean, *one of us* decided this was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the freedom granted to us by the pee-zee gods and pee off the side of the cliff!
We munched on some beef jerky, trail mix, and dried mango. Yum! But in retrospect, it wasn’t enough to match our physical exertion that day. We *brought* more than enough food with us… we just wanted to keep up our pace (a steady 2km/hour on this terrain)!
Like Bear, sections of Chin Beach can also be cut off at high tide – there’s an emergency shelter above the beach if you don’t make it in time. We made it well before high tide though, and effortfully hobbled over towards the closest, quiet (tiny!) campsite we could find. Our socks and shoes were off within seconds of claiming our campsite!
Dinner was a couple of dehydrated MEC meals; you add boiling water to the bags, then let them sit for about 15 minutes. We decided the meal bags would be awesome hot compresses and put them all over our aching bodies, including backs, feet, and my uterus, which had betrayed me (well, like… betrayed me right on schedule)! The meals tasted delicious for the first few bites. Then they started tasting less awesome and more like exactly what they were: re-hydrated meat and rice. Still pretty good for backpacking!
It started raining that night, and when nature called, we didn’t want to respond by actually venturing fully outdoors. *One of us* peed in shelter of the dry ‘vestibule’ just outside the tent (aiming away of course)! Why am I including these pee records in my otherwise very serious blog? Because obviously this is a very helpful camping tip for when it’s raining in the middle of the night and you have to pee but you’re lazy!
Despite the challenges that came with this section of the trail, it was actually pretty fun. It felt like a huge accomplishment each time we conquered another hill. In my notebook that day, I wrote: “So hard! Hips, feet, back, knees could barely bend!” But in my memory, we were still laughing and joking, rather than grumbling and complaining about our aching bodies, right up until we collapsed at our campsite on Chin Beach. Whether I’m romanticizing it or not, it was a good day, and our looong foot and back massages that night were well-deserved!
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