Malaspina Survival and Bear Poop
After a painful day and night I set out the next day. It started with a 4 km climb to Manzanita Hut to a high point that over looked the ocean to the west. It was absolutely beautiful in the morning light. I wished I had had the energy to make it up there the previous night but that extra climb would have hurt.. The hillside was a grove of red colored Manzanitas against the tawny colored grasses and green mosses. The hut, recently built, was perched in the perfect location for a beautiful sunset and a bug free breeze in the evening. I lingered to get some photos and then headed on down the trail.
I was deep in thought about “stuff”. That being the general term for random thoughts. I was climbing down and I heard a thump on the ground and shuffle. I looked up to see a very large black bear grazing his way through tall Salal bushes. It was about 50 feet away. I stopped, grabbed Taz by his pack handle and said "Hey there mister bear, we are here. I retrieved the bear bell that I had stuffed in Taz's pack and attached it quickly to his pack. I guess we needed that bell. I heard a thud and then a quick shuffle in the opposite direction. I was pretty confident that he wanted nothing to do with us and was gone before we new it but...I realized that there probably a lot of bears in this area and we needed the bear bell and to be alert for signs of bears which, as i saw on the rest of the trip, were everywhere.
I had decided that I wasn’t going to do the full 11 days of hiking. So I strategized on how to lighten my load. I decided to stash unecessary gear at the Malaspina Rd and come back after I finished the 4 days and pick it up in my car. When I reached the rode I unpacked everything I didn’t remotely need and took the 5 pd bear cannister and used it to stuff the unwanted items in to. I lightened my load by about 10 pds. I then stashed the bear cannister into an old tree stump and covered with moss. Then mentally retraced my steps so I could retrieve it later.
Now I felt good. With less weight I was able to make better time and had less pain in my back. My camp for the night was hopefully a lower camp along a FS road at a campground. As I hiked further I came to a old forest of mature Cedars towering over an old road bed / trail covered in green moss. There was a bench near a stream so we stopped. Taz to get a drink and me to rest my feet. There was a campground off the trail. We checked it out. Beautiful but if I camped now I’d have an equally long day of hiking tomorrow. If I continued to the next camp site I would have a short day the following day. So after a rest we continued on. Eventually, after weaving on boardwalks through a bog we came to the road. No campground. I ran into some day hikers and they said that 3 hikers had continued on up the trail (the Vancouver group) and that there was a bathroom just around the corner. So the camp site was apparently a pull out in the road with an out house. I decided to continue to Revelie’s Pond. Another 4km up the trail.
It was a long climb up to the pond. Straight up another ridge, then down a logging road and then another section through deep forest. I arrived at a stream outlet and then hiked around the lake to the hut where the Vancouver group was also camping. I peeled off the pack. 21 km hike today. I was tired. I found a great place to camp in a clearing with a thick bed of moss under the tent. I knew I’d be in a deep exersize induced coma.
Dinner, feed the dog, and good night. Life is simple!