How I did it: Started planning around 4 months beforehand (just the dates). About one month beforehand got serious about planning the logistics - how were we going to get there, where would we park the car, what food, etc.
We (myself and 2 other girls) drove to Gordon River, and parked are car there on the reserve. We took the West Coast Trail bus to Pachena Bay, and did the orientation there. We then camped one night at Pachena Bay before starting to hike the trail. In retrospect, it would have been good to book the hike date to start on the same day we took the bus, but it wasn't a huge deal. We started hiking the next day at around 9 am, and we finished in 5 days at around 11 am (hiking out from Trasher's Cove as our last campsight). The last 5 km from Thrasher's were definitely hard, but I feel like they were overemphasized in terms of difficulty in comparison to the rest of the trail. We were closer to 30-45 min km, rather than an hour.
Lessons & tips: Bring gloves (like bike gloves) to prevent scratching your hands when grabbing onto things.
Take the beach whenever possible.
Get to know the other hikers and get trail reports from those going the opposite direction.
Stop remotely caring about having wet feet, unless you want the trail to take 2x as long.
Watch the sunrise while eating breakfast. Incredibly beautiful!
Don't just bring one type of cliff bar for snacks! You will get SO sick of them.
Bring enough tp so you don't have to borrow from other hikers :)
Bring an extra tarp to use as a food shelter.
Be as cautious as possible as to avoid getting the bottom of your tent wet... and hence your sleeping bag. You will be freezing and once something gets wet... it just straight up will not dry.
Bring tea/hot chocolate packets. Anything warm is AMAZING in the morning and at night. Try as best as possible to bring a variety of food.
Bring a waterproof backpack cover.
Bring two water bottles, and a water bladder
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