9 t/m 14 aug. 2016
Wifi is so slow here that I post this blog without most of the pictures. I have to pass on now. I will add them later.
Short version: It was an extremely special experience to be 6 days on the hike. Different kinda weathers, emotions and natural environments passed by. I felt more like Sheryl Strate from the book and movie “Wild” than the two weeks before. No wifi, no connection at all, no toilets, no washing, only rivers with freezing cold water, little food. That’s really so back to basic. I’m getting used to it and start loving it…because….because…I do not know..It makes me feel good! I didn’t feel lonely for a second. Miserable yes haha, but not lonely. That is a new welcome experience, enjoying being on my own surrounded by this tremendous nature exposure.
Very very long version:First day Brazeau Loop di 9 aug. 2016
I was worried for my knee today with the 18 kilo, but i made it without too much pain. It was not an easy day for me. Got up at 5.30 am after a restless night, made coffee and porridge, sended out the last messages and was not really in a hurry to get going. It was raining and I was not looking forward to this 5 days. I thought I was…but I didn’t feel enthousiasm at all. The 2 hours drive to the start was in thin or thick fog.
At 7 they appeared suddenly, I startled and of course had to make pictures. This is the largest antlers (gewei) till now.
When I arrived at the trailhead it was pouring rain. I stayed in the car till I got myself together again, beuhhh, I felt down. Without sun it is nó fun.
A big jeep with six men parked besides me. It appears they also were going to hike this loop and their first campground was also 4Point. Hmmm, when I finally left at 10 I didn’t know if I liked that or not. They chased me in a way to stay in front of them…I didn’t want them to catch up on me. Sun starts to shine and that relieved me a bit. It was a hard day. Everything hurts: neck, shoulders, back, knees, feet…I even didn’t like the mountains.
A surprising moment when I just had raised my pants after a pee and a bloke came around the rocky corner. We had a coffee together. He planned to walk 33 km in stead of my 14. Easy for him because he had walked the whole PCT* last year in 6,5 months. That was an interesting chat we had. The first person I met who had done this. I could ask him anything. I got his email in case I still want to walk after this six weeks and want to do “the real stuff”, walk from A till B like the movie Wild. No lodges, hostels or restdays in between, just you and your trail.
* Pacific Crest Trail, approx 4000 km from New Mexico to Alaska. The trail from the book and movie “Wild”.
I arrived at my campsite at first. Pitched my tent (for the first time in Canada) in the drizzle rain.
Can’t say I felt great. Sun came again and I spread myself around. Hang my waterproofs, rucksack and boots on several treetrunks to dry, exposed my food and stove, exposed my whole rucksack because……couldn’t find my DEET while the mosquitoos were eating me. No DEET this time. I filled a new bottle in the hostel, packed it, only not in my rucksack though..no idea where it went. I lost a liter blood in an hour! I had to hide in my tent after a late lunch with noodles.
Read for a while and came out the tent to make dinner. Just when I start eating it began to rain again. Together with all my stuff I drawded back in basecamp. During shuffling around with my rucksack I push by accident my opened dinnerbag aside and half of my dinner spread out over my red floorcarpet. Holy shit. It costed me a lot of toiletpaper to clean this. My whole tent smelled like food now. I finished the other half of the dinner, was cold, put on my dry bedclothes ánd jacket and crawled in my sleepingbag, reading. I heard the men entering the campsite. Nothing in me want to go out my tent anymore. I felt asleep, with jacket and lenses at 7pm.
Day 2:……and got out my tent approx 8am. I slept 13 hours. One short little fearattack at 3am. Because all my foot was in my tent this night together with all my toiletry and waste it must have smelled like an invitation for Bear. I was myself aware of this little risk but something else is stronger…laziness? I crossed the “rule” again to hang everything in the air. It must have been in the back of my head because I woke up from a loud sound beside my head, like something (Bear) was taking my food. I gave one short sharp yel, kept my breath, waited with a raging heart….but nothing follows…and I fel asleep again. In the morning after 13 hours of sleep I felt really awake and wanted to gó! In 75 minutes I was on the trail. I had a nice chat with the 6-pack at the picknick-breakfastspot about trails, stoves, food, experiences etc before I left. We wished eachother a pleasant&beautiful day and would meet up again at the next campground. It would be an easy hike said the 6-packleader, he had done it 2 times before.
It is a nice idea that these men are “following” me at this pretty desolated trail.
After an hour hiking mountain up I was totally desperate. My backpack felt like 40 kilo’s, I had to stop every 5 minutes to let my heartbeat calm down, I didn’t make any progress..I didn’t feel happy, excited, brave or special, I just felt weak, in pain, isolated, disappointed, dirty and tíred.
And to make sure this feeling would stay with me, Bear let it rain…..almost áll day. Several hours I visited every painfull experience in my mind, and it suited pretty well. What else should you do with your waterproofs on, hood deep over your eyes, no sight ahead and walking step by step with this big green too heavy hump (still nót my friend) on my back through the Jonas Pass in the Canadian Rockies?
I felt priviliged to be able to be here, to do this, on my own. I tried to keep up with this state of mind the rest of the (still hard) hike.
At 5.30 I entered campground Jonas Cutoff with soaked socks in soaked boots, but sun came out as if Bear has had its test.
For 2 hours I could pitch my tent, had my rest and cook my food in some nice warm sunshine. What a surprise to meet Mr. PCT again. We chatted about this attractive trail again and he gave me a new goal. He had figured that out during his day and would send me the details later.
At 8.30 we heard some relieved yells in the bush. YEAH I screamed back, you’ve made it. I felt a thru-hiker 😂😂, welcoming others! 6-pack arrived in poaring rain. And if they hadn’t suffer enough it starts raining heavily, really heavily, had not have this before! I ran to my tent and was captured in basecamp. Everything was safe, I prepared it in the last hours. Food in a tree next to my tent, no réally safe but one step towards safety. The reason I did this was for the story of PCT-guy (and I believe hím, as he is at this moment a kind of real source of real information) that once a big mouse was running in his tent at night because it has eaten itself through his tent into his trailmix. That sounds much more realistic to me then all the as-ifs, and I definitely didn’t want a hole in my tent now, with this rain ánd without DEET.
The only thing I could do in my tent was lying down and go to sleep, lenses out this time.
Woke up at 6 after 9 hours sleep. No rain, still clouds, no sun, went out for a pee, but jumped back in sleepingbag… too freezing cold and no guts to start hiking early, nothing to see out there but fog.
This is no much fun. Boots, socks and trousers still muddy and wet.
After 3 hours reading, making coffee, porridge and writing my blog about the last days, I got up. Packed everything as quickly as possible to be on trail before 6-pack. I like to be alone ahead in stead of chasing them. It was a wonderfull morning, a lot of sun and little rainshowers in between.
I was all alone during the day, between the hugh mountains. After 6 hours hiking I became tired again.
Quickly pitched my tent, made my bed and put my feet in the cold lake. Unfortunately no sun, otherwise I had taken a bath. I’m really getting wel organized. I ate together with the men who also had arrived and studied there gear. I liked the “woodstove”. You need no gazz… only dry wood…yesterday he couldn’t cook.
Day 4:Hiking from Brazeau Lake to Boulder Creek. Bit sun. I have hiked 8,5km now. Discovered this morning that they use two systems for measuring distances, the metric like we do with metres and liters (2 pound=1 kilo in Holland) and the “imperial” with miles, pounds (2,2 pound =1 kilo), gallons and a Canadian acre.
I spoke to some farmers and they could perfectly explain how land is measured.
1 section =1 mile2
1/4section=160 acres= 640.000m2
1acre=4000m2 in stead of our are of 100m2. Interesting! It gives me something new to calculate while walking.
This Brazeau loop is really different then what i did before. Much more “Into the wild”, almost no people on the trail. I walk through kinda forest most of the time, it is the valley of the Brazeau river. Not my favourite scenery for a whole day, mountainview never gets boring, I miss that.
While drinking my chocolate and having a little bit of trailmix a group of 6 young Canadian passed me. (I took less food then I want to eat so have to spread it carefully over the day, probably because I walk more hours a day now, it takes me 8, 9 or 10 hours every day to get at my next goal. I have no clue if I am loosing weight, I only know for sure that I eat much much less than at home) It is their holidayjob to walk this trail and maintain this environment, which means they remove weeds. So what people by accident bring in (no clue what I could leave on the trail, maybe a Dutch tulip grows out of my poo…) they kill it. I hope for them all the mushrooms belong her, they would have a hell of a job.
Day 5: Yesterday seemed to become an easy day, my pase in the morning was far above average.
But my gps fooled me because it were 3 more kms then it should according to the book. And my feet, back, knees, shoulders and neck starts complaining around 16kms. I can handle this very well till 19….but unexpextedly 3kms more is killing. My moral (moraal) has difficulties with that.
So I arrived almost crawling this Boulder Creek campground. Only a Japanese couple was present at this campground and I wasn’t very social around the picknicktable. The man didn’t speak English and the woman smiled all the time. My choice was rather to sit alone then laughing at eachother all the time. My luck was the sun! 10 minutes sitting in the sun, no weight on your back or pressure on your feet, is enough to heal you….mentally…Let me be clear that physically I need at least 10 hours! Every night in my tent is…how should I put it…not really comfortable.
– Most nights it turns out that before I position my tent, what looks horizontal, isn’t horizontaI xdiring the night and I end up while I sleep besides my mattress in any direction.
– It is so cold most nights, not ín my sleepingbag, thank Bear, that go out for a pee is nó option.
– Reading horizontal is a hard job without your hands out of your sleepingbag, or whit freezing hands.
And still ….when I crawl out in the morning I feel great satisfaction. I have no worries! I only have to be here and enjoy.
A confession: last night I was a bit scared. Something woke me up. I still keep my foot and toiletry in my tent and my first thought was “an animal chasing my foot”. I laid there waiting…then flashlights came over my tent. So the only other hikers on this campground, a Chinese couple, must also have heard something. They are a couple and go out together….Me myself is a type of hiding. We say in Dutch “struisvogelpolitiek”. If I pull back in my sleepingback, I can’t see you, you can’t see me. Works perfect most of the times, I peacefully sleep on. But last night because of the flashlight all the time and the noises, ánd because of the footprints I had seen during the day…it took me a lot more time. This morning it appears there had a tent nr3 arrived in the night. No animals, just noisy humans.
This day 5 was the most beautiful one in all ways. I had an incredible beautiful dayhike to the Cataract Pass, so my tent stayed another night at the same campground, therefor a light rucksack, no kms pressure because a dayhike…(if I do not want to walk, I sit down…) enjoyed the blue sky, the sun and mountains around me,
This may sound a bit too spiritual out of my mouth but I ensure you: It is true!
The evening on the contrary (in tegendeel) was loud, crowded, almost wild. And I loved it too! What a pleasant surprise these 3 guy’s at the picknicktable when I got back. It was more then fun. 3 brothers like my own sons, bit older but só recognizable. Their interactions, humor, fun together. They let me in in a most natural way, it felt immediatly just good. I joined their joy, add mine and we had great fun together, no words for it, just an awesome night. Fun, laughs, whiskey, cigarettes and learned to play “hearts” with Canadian cards and 3 real Canadian brothers. Best night so far! Joel, Lee and Del: thank you!
Thunder&lighting during the night…I was glad that these 3 Big Brothers were 50m away from me….I didn’t need them, but I am sure they would have helped me if I did. Not a best night of sleep…bút sun in the morning.
I didn’t dare to keep my food and trash in the tent because Brother1 was very severe about that, I might bring others in danger if I did. So, for the first time I put all (the rest of) my food and trash in a waterproof bag and hang it high in the air. (My toothpaste was in my tent..and I didn’t bring it afterwards…I will better my attitude next time)
After breakfast we left all together in the same direction but their pace was much faster so we said goodbye! I am three weeks in Canada now and a real experienced goodbyehugger.