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Walbran Creek to Camper Creek: 9km

Loooooong suspension bridge.

From here on is supposed the toughest part of the trail, with lots of ladders and climbing. Today we hope to make it to Camper Creek, which looks to be just over 9km away. We will be pretty much stuck inland, as there are several difficult tide pools and surge channels along this part of the coast. Some people have died attempting to cross the Adrenaline Surge and many others, with packs soaking wet and much of the skin ripped off of their knees, have come away very shaken. We won’t mess with it.


At Logan Creek, there’s a big set of ladders on each side of a huge suspension bridge. I’m sure glad this one hasn’t been knocked out! Once you cross it and look back, you can’t see the beginning, as it just seems to disappear, consumed by the forest.



Boardwalk through the stunted-growth forest.

From here the forest gives way to bog and swamp filled with stunted, dwarfish trees and kilometers of weathered boardwalks. While walking much of the inland portion of the West Coast Trail is not taxing in a cardiovascular sort of way, it is mentally exhausting. You are constantly searching for the right footing through mucky trail that is riddled with gnarled roots. When you find a place to gingerly take your next step, you’re never sure if it’s into mud that is up to your ankles, or up to your knees, or up to your hips. This can go on for kilometers - and for hours on end. It seems that the worst place to walk in this forest is on the ground. As mentioned, boardwalks have been built to make a route in otherwise impassable places such as the swamps, but in other areas more interesting things have been done: When the trail maintenance crew find a fallen tree, they shave a layer off of the entire length of its side, making a plank to walk on - remember, some of these trees can be stories high, and thus stories long when fallen! Even though they present the different challenge of being extremely slippery, these can still be a treat to walk on after slogging through hours of brutal, 100 percent-pure muck.

The beginnings of some ladder work.

Walking a fallen log to bypass the bog beneath.


Roots become tiresome as they're always there, ready to trip you up.

Although difficult to see, that's one aweful

big log towering in height over Marlin.

There are hundreds of these fallen trees, and in many cases they can’t be used to an advantage like just mentioned; they are simply unmovable obstacles that block the way - again, remember, they are so long and the vegetation is so thick that it’s simply not always an easy option to just go around them. If the trunk is not too big they seem to cut a section right out of it so that you can pass through the tree - and believe me, some are so large that they are still above your head after they’ve fallen. For these larger ones, they just carve footholds into the sides so that you can walk up and over them. Ever had to climb a fallen tree? Amazing. You’ll see more good shots of all of this when we get to Day 6.




On what, deceivingly, looks to be a rather innocent log crossing, we hear Erica yell. Startled, we all look up to find that she’s gone. Rushing over, we look down below the log to see her lying in the dense vegetation underneath. Luckily she has a big smile on her face and is okay. I’m relieved, but yet strangely disappointed. This was her first real problem or mishap and we are well into Day 5. I had secretly begun rooting for her, hoping she’d make it the entire 75km without a slip or any other problem. But even with this, in my mind she’s been one of the most solid members of our team so far and it deserves mention. And I’d be surprised if anyone’s ever done this trip without a slip or fall of some sort. 


Erica re-tries the log crossing.

Erica slips off of the slimy log.

The ladders are stories high.


When we hit Cullite Creek, our hearts pound! The

ladders are an unbelievable twenty-five to thirty stories high here! Yes, believe it. At least they are split into chunks, with platforms set in between to allow climbers a rest. I didn’t count, but I heard that the longest section is about 200 rungs. Before starting them we take a break and I notice that Erica has unknowingly covered her face in some war paint – or maybe that fall has just revved her up a notch. She’s ready.


The ladders are big work, but taken a step at a time, then a platform at a time, we get down to the creek and stop for lunch and a recharge of our batteries. I decide to take my first full bath in a nice deep part of the creek. Talk about refreshing! Unfortunately none of the other rather, well, aromatic members of the group go for it. 


The one team member that I haven’t really spoken about is Travis, or “Shaggy” (he really does look like everyone’s friend from Scooby Doo!) He is well prepared, packs the right stuff, trudges for miles and is pretty much a machine. The only thing I can write about to say more is to comment on is his rather unique and entertaining style of ladder climbing. No one climbs ladders like this guy. He either looks like a seal, flopping not so elegantly over rocks, or like he’s taking a quiet little nap, dreaming about the Scooby Snacks he might be getting at the end of the day. As you can see, both have been captured on film.


Out comes the war paint. This is getting serious.


Sleep walking?


The seal-flop technique.


Mike's war paint.

Continuing on to Sandstone and Camper Creeks brings more hard, muddy slogging and everyone is once again tired. It has been another tough day full of adventure!


Camp, Day 5.



"The hardest thing is explaining to your co-workers that

               you're grouchy

because you were up until 1am reading..."

Ada Litvinov

Rice Crust from the Bottom of the Pot: A Journey Across South East Asia

Although in creating this site I have tried to make the information as accurate as possible, it is not meant to be a guide, and I accept no responsibility for any loss, injury, or inconvenience sustained by anyone using the information.

 Backpacking the West Coast Trail

 © 2005 Parry Loeffler