How to hike the Juan De Fuca Trail
How I did it: Very early in the morning, we drove from Victoria to the China Beach parking lot, stopping on our way to drop off a bag at our bed and breakfast. We had booked the shuttle bus from China Beach to Port Renfrew. It was slightly late, but otherwise everything ran smoothly. We hiked the 2.5 km to the Botanical Beach trailhead and then camped at the following spots: Payzant Creek (got there early and got the waterfall view), West Sombrio Beach (got the sweetest campsite, but did have neighbors come in with a cooler of beer later in the afternoon), Chin Beach, Bear Beach. As I discuss below, the trail was challenging but so beautiful! We saw seals playing, a bald eagle... no bears but signs that a bear was very near! I will put pictures into an entry.
Lessons & tips: Tough macho types like to talk about how this trail is a walk in the park. However, if you are inexperienced and/or out of shape, or even in good shape but not for hauling up and down steep and muddy slopes with 30-40 pounds on your back, know that this trail is pretty tough. We are experienced backpackers and thought we were setting an easy and laid back "honeymoon pace" doing this trail in 5 days. We did break early at the end of each day, but were quite tired and grateful for the break. We found the trail to be harder than most in terms of the up-and-down nature. It was relatively slow hiking - and honestly, we were probably not in shape for it. There are people who do the trail in 2-4 days, but we appreciated the slower pace. Also, really lighten those loads. There's a lot of up and down, including some scrambling, and the heavier your bag, the more it will suck. This is normal for backpacking, but I think especially on this trail because you use your legs so much and you will not want to haul your pack up those last five hills if it weighs more than it should.
Resources: Google, the park website (though it wasn't that useful), Giant Cedars, White Sands (also not that useful, but I borrowed it from my sister)
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