Jug Island Beach

What’s the difference between perseverance and stubbornness? Stupidity.  When it comes to hikes, I think I lean towards stubbornness and stupidity.  Why? you may ask?  Well in this case, it was because I decided I could hike with a sprained toe.

Let’s just say, it’s not recommended.

Perhaps you’re wondering how I came about spraining my toe?  Here are a few words for you to string together and let your imagination fly.  Kickboxing.  Laps.  Bamboo stick.  Jumping.  Tripping.  Crashing.  Repeat.

I sucked up the pain for an hour in that class thinking I had just stubbed my toe or just bruised my foot.  And even after getting back home, I was still thinking it was a bad bruise.  It wasn’t until the next morning when I noticed some discolouration around my big toe that I began to wonder, that and the swelling.  And as my foot began to swell up like a dry sponge just dropped in a bucket of water, I was still in denial.  Even as I got dressed to go out, and could only wear my UGGS, I was still thinking it was a bad bruise.  It was Sister C who pretty much reaffirmed that it was a sprain and not a bad bruise seeing as bruises don’t tend to cause swelling.  Thank goodness I backed out of doing the Grouse Grind that morning.  But I still had a hike planned with Nicole for the next day.  And even as she texted me that afternoon, I still was not inclined to cancel.  I was thinking it would get better by the next day and at most, we would just go for the easier/shorter hike.  It was a toss up between Brothers Creek Loop or Jug Island Beach/Admiralty Point.  Well when I woke up the next day, the foot was still swollen, the discolouration had spread but in my mind it looked better.  Silly me.  How stubborn and stupid was I?  Even Nicole questioned whether I could go on a hike.  I just said we’ll pick the easier one.  We’ll go to Jug Island Beach.  And we would have to hunt around for a walking stick.  Thank goodness we found walking sticks.

Our hike started later than usual.  Most of the time we try to be on our way around 9am, but this time we were just a bit later.  Which was not a problem because fall weather had arrived.  In the summer Belcarra Regional Park is very busy.  There is a nice picnic area right by Indian Arm so the parking lot gets full quite quickly.  But this last week, we have been experiencing fog from morning till night everyday since Thanksgiving day.  Pretty crazy to see.  Pretty scary to drive in.  Pretty neat if we could hike in it.

So what’s the first thing that happened on our hike?  What usually happens on my hikes?  We got lost.  We went up the wrong trail which took us to a dead end.  Basically we went to the end of the Bedwell Bay Trail, thinking that we would somehow join up with the Jug Island Beach Trail.  We didn’t.  So we had to back track.  We probably added about an extra 1 km to our hike.  Not a problem.  When we finally made it back to the junction, we took a closer look at the map and realized our mistake.  There was no joining of the trails.  Remember to make use of the maps at the junction.  Or grab a map from the picnic area before heading out.  It really wasn’t that difficult to find the trails.  But still, if you’re short on time, you won’t want to get lost and have to backtrack.  I remember when I was first looking into doing hikes, I had wanted to head out to Jug Island Beach, however I watched a news story about how a family had a cougar come up to their kids window in Belcarra and that put a damper on my enthusiasm to hike this particular trail.  So this time I figured since my toe is sprained, I should to the easier hike, and since it had been almost six months since that particular new story, the cougar would be well gone by now, and if not, I would have Nicole with me.  So it was to both our surprise when we came upon the first sign post with a “Cougar” warning sign.

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Of course we had to review our cougar safety skills.  Act big,  Shout and wave and make lots of noise.  Don’t run.  And find a stick (to help with the looking big part).  And if the stick happened to help with the walking, then all the better.  Thank goodness we each found a stick.  Thank goodness my second stick was stronger than the first one.  Going uphill on a sprained toe was okay, but coming back down on the hill or on stairs was just killer on the toe.  I’ve never relied so much on a stick before ever.  Anyways after prepping for a cougar encounter, and making it back on to the correct trail, we headed for our destination.  The trail was very nicely maintained.   The trail had a few up and down sections and it looked like some recently built stairs were put into place.  It took us just over an hour to get to the beach, including our detour.  The sign posts at the start of the trail were well marked with detailed maps letting you know where you were on the trail.  There were clearly marked arrows and even warnings about “steep sections”.  There is even an outhouse at the end of the trail near the beach.  In this foggy, cold weather we probably encountered about a dozen people and half a dozen dogs headed in the opposite direction.  It’s actually a small beach but it’s a nice quiet place to go for lunch or to view nature.  There were two kayakers already there when we arrived.  We heard some interesting wildlife, however we couldn’t identify it and then later on when another three hikers arrived, they spotted a bald eagle high up on the trees.  Sadly I didn’t bring my longer lens so I wasn’t able to get a close up photo but still, if you squint hard at my photo, you should be able to see the bald eagle.  In total we finished the hike in just under 2 hours.  The vancouvertrails.com website classified this as an intermediate hike with a hiking time of 2.5 hour.  Both of us would have to say that it was actually an easy hike and since our hiking time included a detour section, we probably could’ve finished the hike in 1.5hours.

Regardless of the classification, it was still a nice hike for people and dogs, just remember to find a good walking stick and don’t do it with a sprained toe.  Oh and watch out for the wildlife.

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