It’s February first, which means it’s time for the February Print! This one is the story of how I got hooked on the coast.
In honour of our upcoming move, I’ve decided this month’s print will be my favourite place on the island: the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. It gives me the chance to share about how I fell in love with hiking and camping (not to mention the handsome queer who, to this day, takes me to all the nicest places) and became obsessed with one day moving to Vancouver Island.
Victoria, Gateway City
In my first few years on the coast I visited Victoria a handful of times to see a dear pal who was a student at UVic, but my first hiking trip was in the fall of 2013. Kaleb and I had been dating for less than a year, and we’d just come back from a tw0-week road trip in the Kootenays during which Kaleb took me on my first ever backpacking trip in the Purcells. I was positively giddy upon our return and demanded to be taken out again as soon as possible.
I would find out later that the extreme enthusiasm-to-experience ratio of my early hiking days was a not-insignificant source of stress for my poor partner, tasked with ensuring I was neither eaten by a bear nor lost down a crevasse, but at the time I was entirely oblivious. Just really happy to be here. For a brief account of some of my (in hindsight) hilarious hiccups, please see this piece I wrote for The Toast (RIP The Toast) entitled 10 Rules for Beginner Backpackers.
It was the end of September already but we decided to go for it. I borrowed a big backpack and a thermarest, used a chunk of ICBC money I’d recently got from being hit by a car on my bike (another story, not as bad as it sounds) to buy myself a new MEC gore-tex rain coat. The weather forecast called for several days of 40+ mm of rain. I waxed my Blundstones (lol) and was not deterred.
Hooked on The Deluge
Gentle reader, I’ve never been wetter than I was in those three days, before or since. Good lord. My new raincoat wetted out in about four seconds. All the creeks swelled to crashing rivers. One of the bridges was washed out and we performed a daring (read: really quite dangerous) manoeuver involving a sign post and some rope to get across the gap. I fully ripped a hole in the shank of one of my boots. It was the best.
We made it to Sombrio Beach where the piece de resistance of the whole outing came when gale-force (I’m not even exaggerating. News reports afterward said it was the first major gale of the winter season) winds brought an alarmingly large tree branch crashing down far too close to our tiny, soggy tent. We called it. Thankfully Sombrio is one of several exit points on the 47-km trail, and we caught a ride back to Victoria with a very kind family of surfers, who had just finished an excellent day on the water because West Coast surfers are just a very special breed.
I was hooked.
Since then I’ve been lucky enough to return numerous times, and to hike some of the other incredible marine trails around the island. I’ve been dreaming of moving there ever since.
As before, it goes like this:
- The print is $30, shipping included
- You have until the end of the month to order
- You’ll receive a 5×7 archival print
- All orders will be mailed out at the end of the month
To order yours, (or send one to a friend!) click here.
If you have any questions (or would like to share a story about how YOU got hooked on the coast) just drop me a line 🙂