That night we pitched camp on the beach and ate dinner by what was left of the daylight. Sarah said little and went to bed. I drank liberally from my flask and looked up at the crescent moon. Contentment overcame doubt. I scanned the woods for glowing eyes and went to sleep, dreaming of being exactly where I was. The following day did not see an improvement in the trail. Our pace was painfully slow and I realized we were barely covering a mile an hour. We needed to keep breaks to a minimum and maintain a constant pace despite fatigue if we were to make it to camp before dark. I could see that Sarah was exhausted and we relied heavily upon the motivational properties of chocolate. We also found that cursing Parks Canada was an effective way to vent at something other than each other. Still, the feeling that only one of us wanted to be on the adventure began to take a toll. Where I saw beauty, Sarah seemed to see only mud and more miles. Something would have to change.
The third day was the turning point for we would cross a river where there was the possibility to be ferried off the trail. At a small village we ate a breakfast of fresh salmon while eyeing a large tray of candy bars. It was decision time. “Sarah, you can leave the trail here if you want to – I can meet you back in Victoria. But if you go on, you have to own the decision.” She looked at me and she looked at the chocolate and she said, “It may just be the salmon talking, but I want to go on, provided that candy comes with us.”
And go on we did, through deep forest, past wandering bear, up broken ladders, across swaying cables, through a surging tide and into one of the greatest adventures of our collective story. We cursed and we complained just enough to get through the worst moments, and laughed a lot, too.
At the end of the trail Sarah said, “I can’t believe you ever did this by yourself.” “Actually,” I said, “I never finished the hike back then. On the second day a wave inundated me and I became hypothermic. I was too inexperienced and unprepared and I turned back. This is really the sort of trip that is best done with a friend. I’m so glad you were with me. Here, let’s spilt the last Snickers.”