Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Backpacker's Soul

If I were to ever write a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, it would be entitled Chicken Soup for the Backpacker's Soul.  In it, I would write about the truly healing powers mother nature, hiking with 30lbs strapped to you including everything you need for 72 hours on your back and not to mention how peaceful and serene the wide open space hugs you while putting everything in life into perspective.  Everything.

All the planning that goes into our backpacking and camping trips is done by Hunter. He researches areas, maps, picks the place and plots how to get us there quickly and efficiently without missing out on any of the killer views.  Buuuuuuut....I have a secret for you.  It's not that I don't listen to him when he describes to me where we are going....it's just that I trust him so much in what he picks that I get too excited and end up not listening to details.  I don't know if it's because I'm an over-sharer of details, or that sometimes Hunter can be an under-sharer of details but these are the two things I knew for sure about this trip before taking off: We were going to drive through Forks, WA and that we would be close to the coast.  Something Hunter failed to mention, or that I completely failed to pick up on was that the hike?  WAS ON THE BEACH. ON the beach.  Waves crashing 2 feet from us, dodging sea shells and seaweed.  Seagulls for miles.  We drove half the way the first night and camped out about an hour from Third Beach, and drove the rest of the way the next day to arrive at the trail head.   After reaching the trail head, after all was said and done we knocked out a 2 night, 3 day 17 mile backpacking trip.

And it really was three of the best days of my entire life.

The trail ended up being about 70% on the beach, and 30% up the cliffs into the rain forest.  We had to keep our eye on high/low tides to get through some areas of the trail though there were situations where regardless of how low the tide was just had to climb up into the forest.  And by climb, I mean use the ropes provided to pull ourselves up because it was too steep/uneven ground to simply walk up it with no assistance. Sometimes I think it would be a kick in the pants to put a voice recorder in one of our packs to not only record the conversations we have on the trial, but to also get how many times we use the words "beautiful, stunning, gorgeous,  ohmygoshlookatthatview" to explain what is before us.  I can only tell you guys so many times from so many different hikes how breathtakingly beautiful it is up her before you are like YEAH B WE GET IT.  IT'S BEAUTIFUL.  FIND A NEW ADJECTIVE.  However, I don't want this blog to be read like a recommendation letter from Joey on friends Friends, so I really try to refrain from using a Thesaurus as much as possible when explaining things like this to you guys...so though I've said it before in describing other hikes, I'll say it again.  

It was beautiful.

The rain forest, the ocean, the views...oh my heavens the views!  The animals/birds we saw on the trip seemed to be never ending, too. Including, but not limited to: a few dozen seals, a raccoon { though we saw far more raccoon footprints in the sand than we did see an actual raccoon which was only 1 }, *a whale so many different types of birds, slugs, a snake, a mouse, and dozens of eagle sightings!  Not necessarily saying we saw dozens of eagles, though I would say it was at least 10+, but they were active little buggers and flew overhead pretty much every step we took.  The part of the coast line we were at was sadly scattered with litter.  SCATTEREDDD with litter!  Not only were there oh so many fishing buoys washed up, but we saw everything from buckets, lighters, TIRES, water bottles, wrappers...man you name it we saw it.  Hunter mentioned how this part of the coast was getting a lot of trash washed up from the tsunami in Japan.  I briefly thought it was kinda cool how some stuff I was seeing was all the way from Japan, but there was such a small chance to really confirm it until we found this detergent looking bottle at one of the campsites with Japanese written all over it!  So cool.  

We lucked out on a campsite we would refer to as "having all the bells and whistles".  One thing that really amazed me, and still amazes me is how much work strangers have put into assuring the campsites were something of "luxury".  They had built swings out of the ropes, tied up hammocks, clotheslines, so many fire pits/seating areas.  I really loved the effort that was put in by people for future people to come, sit and enjoy.

Ok, ok!  Enough talking.  Prepare for photo overload.

:: the photo is stretching funny, but it was the moment i realized we'd be hiking on thiiiis close to the ocean! ::

:: views ::

:: a lunch break turned laying in the sand turned feet calling out for that water :: 

:: wonky ass rope ladder to conquer! ::

:: every step i would scream AM I HALFWAY THERE YET?! ::
:: one of manymany crow sightings ::

:: so many fishing buoys! ::

:: self-flying kite.  we called it backpacking tv ::

:: that's what i call a swing with a view ::

:: had to have been a looooong trip for this here bottle ::

:: can you spot the seals? ::

:: three words; my. happy. place. ::

:: another favorite of the campsite; people turned the buoys into little characters!  we made cleatus who is on the very end next to hunter.  these guys made me laugh so hard each time i looked at them! :: 
:: fishnet hammock ::
:: campsite! ::
:: sunset the first night; hunter wins the award for the two best photos of the trip!  this is #1 :: 
:: late night stroll ::

:: we went for a day hike the 2nd day, and see that little circle up on the tree trunk?  that is what we had to look for while hiking on the beach to tell us it was time to climb up into the forest for a bit. ::

:: h trying to find where the rope is to guide us up.  gives a good scale of what we had to climb up several times on the hike! ::

:: a day spent flying a kite on your own private beach ranks pretty damn high in my book ::

:: second best photo of the trip! ::

All in all, it was a huge massive ridiculous hit, and I'm itching to load up my backpack and do it again.


*The humpback whale.  I could have just left this out completely, but it was such a big part of our experience I would have felt remiss to just ignore it.  When we went to get our permit from the ranger before heading to the trail head, he mentioned to us that a whale had washed up over Memorial Day.  Clearly it was no longer alive, but he didn't make a big deal about it and though I was sad my first whale sighting { besides at Sea World } would be one that was dead, I still thought it would be kinda cool!  When we were at the trail head getting all our gear in order, a father/son couple had just come off of the trail and we were chatting with them about how it was.  We asked if they saw the whale and they both laughed to each other and exclaimed "The whale!  Everyone is talking about the whale.  We didn't see it, and everyone we passed on the trail hadn't seen it either."  Hunter and I both kinda assumed that the tide had taken it back in the ocean and really didn't give it a second thought.  There was one area on the beach where a mudslide had knocked several trees over the beach so we played a really fun game of tag/dodge-ball getting through the trees while avoiding the water and started walking about a few feet when we both, almost at the same time, noticed there was a very large something in the rocks that wasn't surely wasn't a rock.  Hunter had me stay behind so he could confirm our suspicions and sure enough...it was the whale.  Not that I need to splash how natieve I am all over this blog, but when the ranger had talked about the whale being washed up, I really seriously imagined that a beautiful black and white whale would be lying on the beach looking like the little bugger was sleeping.  Let's just say it most definitely wasn't black and white anymore, and it surely wasn't just sleeping.  I really hope that sooner then later the tide takes it back under because that isn't anything hikers need to see or smell.


  1. I loved reading this post on your trip. Looks beautiful and exciting all at the same time. I want to go put my feet in the sand now :(

  2. Ahh, it sounds like you had an amazing time! I can't imagine what it would be like to hike next to the beach for three days. I really love your photos :) xx