I don't know exactly how I went down, but I knew right away that something was wrong with my arm. I screamed loudly until I saw Christian run towards me. I could move my fingers, but my shoulder really hurt, and I could feel the top of my upper arm bone outside its socket. My shoulder was dislocated. Luckily W was okay despite having gone down with me in the kid carrier backpack. She just quietly observed as we got the carrier off and wondered how to deal with the shoulder. It was only the second day of our trip, we had only hiked 3km of the beach and I was sure this was the end of our holiday. Miriam corralled the kids while I apologized to Christian for ruining our holiday. Christian consoled me and suggested we try and put the shoulder back in before worrying too much about the future. Usually we have this little wilderness first aid booklet in our first aid kit, yet somehow that didn't make it on this trip. But Christian said he remembered a method to gently pop in a dislocated shoulder from a wilderness first aid course he took more than a decade ago, and directed me towards a big rock. I lay chest down on the rock and dangled my arm freely downward - this already felt better and I started to relax. Christian started applying firm but gentle traction downwards to my arm, pulling it away from the socket; after a bit of gentle searching things must have lined up - it suddenly jumped in to place with a loud pop. Christian said my arm became a few centimetres shorter. I immediately felt better, but the arm still felt very sore. We found a comfy place to hang out a little further along the beach, got everyone settled down and I took some good painkillers. We sent a satellite text to our emergency contact in town while we contemplated our options. It quickly became apparent that we would not need immediate rescue so we decided to set up camp and see how things were the next morning.
The previous day we had flown into Louie Lagoon and hiked the one kilometre of somewhat challenging trail to third beach. Ironically I had been worried about Christian hurting himself as he was carrying most of our gear and all our food for 7 days in our 90L backpack (with another smaller pack on top) weighing in at an impressive 115+ lb. I was surprised that it didn't take us more than an hour to get to third beach. We spend the afternoon playing in the waves, exploring the beach and relaxing in the sand. It was a pretty awesome place to hang out and reminded me of our trip to Vargas Island.
On our second day we were stalled before we even left the beach as we noticed F's sole was coming off her boot. I headed off with N and W, while Christian attempted a boot fix. The first part of the trail was over a high land with lots of logs to get over, under or around. Once we popped out on the next beach I quickly spotted a number of whales in the waves. I spend the next hour observing the whales, which I think were humpbacks, while N ran around on the beach and had a snack. Once the rest of the group caught up we hiked along the rocky shore for a few kilometres before arriving on a shelf of flat sandstone. The kids were running up the steep slopes along the shore, but I worried about them slipping on the patches of algae, so I called them to come down and walked with them along the bottom. We hiked together across the algae and this is where I went down.
The day after the fall I felt pretty good, all considering, and everyone was keen to continue. Since I couldn't carry a backpack we decided that our friend Miriam would carry the baby carrier with W and Christian would have to double carry everything else. We wanted to make it to Calvin Falls which was about 9km of pretty straight forward hiking on sandy or rocky beaches. The first half of the day was tough with a lot of complaining, not from me with a bum shoulder - I had a great time hiking without a pack - but from the little ones. Around lunch time I told the kids it would be time to stop at the next point, but as we neared the point a nasty smell became more and more pungent. Soon enough we noticed that it was a whale carcass that was responsible. Miriam was disappointed that the bones were still covered in rotting blubber as she really wanted a whale vertebra.
After lunch we met Christian on his way back for the second round of stuff, he warned us about a bear on the beach but we didn't see it. At this point spirits were high and we enjoyed the walk around Skuna Bay, where we observed lots of tiny crabs running under our feet as we walked along. As we turned the corner towards Calvin Falls it felt like we were basically there, but what we hadn't accounted for was the immense amount of sea treasures (especially sea urchins) to explore and collect, which substantially slowed down the kids.
The walk from Calvin beach started out easy and fast on sandy beaches, but then transitioned to larger rocks at times covered in seaweed or a sloppy rocky beach. It was better than expected, but still slowed us down, however all the sea treasures waiting to be collected slowed us down even more. Every few steps there was something that needed to be picked up, and slowly packs, pockets, and buckets got filled to the brim. We had decided to walk a few kilometres past Bajo point to the next creek. This part of the beach was tiny pebbles that you would sink ankle deep into. I didn't mind, but it was pretty hard on Christian with his heavy packs. It was not the best of the campsites, but we had it all to ourself and with an ocean view you can't really complain. Kids spend the evening arranging all their treasures.
The next day we took a day trip to Beano creek. It was nice to all be able to hike together with light packs. Beano creek had some cool pebble formations blocking the creek. The kids had so much fun sliding and climbing in the pebbles. The creek looked great for swimming too, but the wind was cold, so we opted to stay dry. It is pretty late by the time we start heading back to our camp and we only barely manage to make dinner and get ready for bed before dark. We opted to hike back to Bajo Point on our last full day on the trail. It was a short hike, but at this point Christian was pretty stoked to avoid double carrying, so he strapped everyone's stuff on his back - it looked pretty ridiculous. There was no water at Bajo Point, but other than that it was a pretty nice campsite with a sweet pebble beach and a gorgeous view. Christian and F attempted a swim to the point, but as the cold water lapped F kept climbing higher and higher on her dad, before deciding that it was too cold for that type of exploration. On the return to shore they did find a big cool looking piece of bone that we later learned was a sealion scapula. W spend most of the afternoon practicing her balance on the many logs along the shore, while we cooked and ate dinner under the tarp hiding from a light drizzle. We still had a fair amount of food left, but I guess we hadn't walked as far as planned. Carrying no load I definitely did not need as many calories as I normally would, but we still had plenty of space in the backpack for old Japanese bottles filled with sea treasures.
The next day we were all packed up 10 min before our flight landed. I felt a lot of gratitude for having been able to continue our holiday, but also for not having to hike to Friendly Cove. I am sure we could have made it if we really had to but it would have been exhausting, Christian would have spent most of his time hauling gear instead of hanging out with the family, and nerve racking on the tougher terrain for me. Flying out from Bajo Point really was the ideal solution, and we were very grateful that Nootka Air was able to accommodate us. The flight out gave us a flew glimpses of some of the missed terrain, but most of it we didn't see, so there is still good reason to come back again in a couple of years. And we will!
(PS - Christian was interested in our carbon footprint, and asked the pilot about fuel consumption as he gassed up the plane - we burned about 120L on our short flights (combined). So the plane burned more fuel than we did driving there - but not so much more.)
Say Nuth Khaw Yum
Upper Fowl Lake
Alice Lake loop
Malcolm and Cormorant island
Recent tips and thought
Making a low DIN tech binding
What is in our backpacks?
The bike canoe trailer
Making kids crampons
Digging a snowcave
Make a kid towing harness