Sunshine Coast Trail – Day 8: 4 miles (112 total)

More people had come in during the night and I noticed an extra tent. This was now more people in one place than I’ve seen on the entire trail! No wonder… I was only 4 miles front Saltery Bay and the finish of the trail.

I made my coffee and packed up quietly. I stopped in the shelter before I left to sign the register. This trail has a series of trail register in the shelters, and some at the campsites too. I left an encouraging note for the other hikers and mentioned if anyone ever wanted to step up their hiking game that they should check out the Oregon Desert Trail 🙂

I walked with coffee in hand and picked my way along the coast line, looking out to sea as much as I should have been looking out for tripping hazards at my feet. I took a few breaks. It was a short morning, but there were benches, and views, and I wanted to savor it all.

A cool little spot had a sign hanging up: Pirate’s Cove. I would come back here in a second and camp… I hope to be back some day! Not to hike the trail again, but with sea kayaks in tow to paddle all the water. The shoreline was epic and I want to see it from a boat.

Right to the end there were steep ups and downs and the sweat was pouring. All trail creators must be vulnerable to the grumbling of hikers who don’t like where you put the trail, and I had my own thoughts: “Geez, Eagle is at it again, making you work till the very end.” I bet I must get cursed out by Oregon Desert Trail hikers!

After the last steep climb and descent I walked closer to civilization. I finally came to a trailhead and the end of the trail!

I didn’t see Nemo, who had planned to pick me up. It was only 9am…maybe she had a pastry for me??

I walked further to the parking area for the ferry and saw her come around the corner. NEMO!

Team She-mo at the finish… So sweet and bittersweet. Nemo’s knees were still swollen, and it appeared the pain was muscles and tendons… Not structural, so nothing long term, which was a relief because I had been talking about future trails I want to hike with her…. We have plans! Plans that bum knees have no part of.

She did have a pastry for me! Last night Courtney took her to a black berry festival at the reserve, and she brought some bannock… or a donut like fried bread. Yummmm.

I changed out of my nasty smelly hiking clothes and we got in the car for a stop at a coffee shop for more caffeine and sweet things.

Then to the tourism center for a map of the area and some other goodies like presents for the fam back home (Salmon Candy!).

Then to shower! Oh showers are such good inventions.

Once clean I was almost hungry again, so we went to a taco shop in town and celebrated with margaritas and tacos. Then a walk on the beach, then we decided since I had finished so early that we would try to get one or two of the ferries out of the way this afternoon and make some progress towards home.

We packed up and said our goodbyes to the gracious Courtney and her girls, and drive back to the ferry terminal where Nemo had picked me up a few hours before. As it was Sunday we were worried the ferries would be full, and had a scare when we heard there was a long line and long wait.

But upon arriving we cruised right through and in place for the next boat. Yes!

The first ride was smooth, and I looked back at what I had just hiked… A week long hike goes so fast! You just get into the rhythm of it, and then it’s over. But I do love these short ones… except for the knee pain.

We had an hour drive from the first ferry to the second, and all the cars raced to get there first. It seemed silly till we got to the next ferry terminal and after a few hours waiting for the next boat found ourselves 8 cars from getting on the boat. 8 cars! I should have driven faster. Now we had to wait 2 more hours for the last ferry of the day at 10:30pm. Yuck!

We were tired and I was fighting against cranky me who was itching to come out.

Finally we were on the boat and heading the right direction.

It was close to midnight when we pulled away from the terminal on the edge of Vancouver, and decided to make it over the US border and find a hotel.

The border only had one lane open and a lot of cars… So that took a while. The border guard seemed tired and cranky as well, and he didn’t ask us anything too hard.

We pulled over at Bellingham and found respite in a Motel 6.

(I won’t do another post for tomorrow, which sees us get to the airport, say goodbye, and where I push through the long drive back to Bend. But I will do a recap post soon with things like an overview of the trail with map. And some tips and suggestions for hikers. I’ll also upload my databook for future hikers)

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