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nomad adventures "bike, paddle and adventure - that´s what life is all about!" emma & scott

We have crossed the finish line!

USA | Wednesday, 29 August 2007 | Views [967] | Comments [7]

hey again!

Just as summer is coming to an end, so has our adventure :-( … But what a great ending :-)

Since August 12, we have cycled 90 % (350 km) of the length of Vancouver Island and hiked the other 10 % (75 km) on the West Coast Trail. Then we crossed the Juan de Fuca Strait into the US aboard the 10th ferry of the trip and rode the last 160 km to our finish line at Scott’s sister’s house outside Seattle (on Vashon Island) on the 24th of August. We were welcomed home with Corona Beers with freshly squeezed limes – what a great finish to an awesome adventure!

Here are a few highlights of the final week – including the well-known (and technical!) West Coast Trail – a 5 and half day backpacking trip:

* Surprisingly, we had nothing but sunshine and warmth … well, for the first 3 days any way. Then, we actually had to brave rain during the hiking, at least some every day. Imagine that, for the first time in 7 weeks, we had to deal with rain in British Columbia! (yes, we did sacrificed several reindeer to the weather gods before leaving) 

* The best part of cycling Vancouver Island was what was missing: logging trucks. As if our weather luck wasn’t good enough, we happened to time our trip to coincide with a logging strike that made the roads and highways quiet and the shoulders free of wood chunks. We met some loggers at a road-side camp fire roasting marshmallows and displaying signs about their refusal to work. Interestingly, when we asked them about their strike, they didn’t really know why. (If I were giving up my paycheck for a cause, I’d want to know why !). We finally spoke to an articulate local a week later who explained their unhappiness about working irregular shifts, including night shifts, to keep the machines going nonstop. Anyway, no loggers is a biker’s dream!

* So, the hike … the trail was fantastic, with lots of vertical ladders, washed out sections, wet river crossings, two person rope trolleys to pull yourself across steep canyons, unbelievable mud, slippery roots, sandy beaches, sea caves, and best of all: lots of Chanterelle mushrooms ! (Yes, yes, we know “take only photographs and leave only footprints” in National Parks, but how could we let that yellow gold rot in the forest ?!). Some sections of trails were so filled with blown down trees and mud that we could barely make 2 km/hr walking at full speed – a very technical trail (On a side note, we heard that some guy the previous week had run the 75km trail plus the 50 km Juan de Fuca Trail in 24 hrs. That’s pretty incredible…)

* So our first real challenge presented itself on the day we were supposed to start hiking. We were renting backpacks from the same company that transported our bikes around to the end of the trail. But they forgot to drop them off at the trail head!! So we stood there at the trail head, at 5 pm without backpacks. It’s quite hard to hike for 5-6 days carrying our pannier bags (cykelvaskor for the Swedes). But once again, we lucked out. The ranger called her friend who came by with two packs. They were old and a little broken, but at least they had shoulder straps :-) So after some dinner on the beach, we finally started our hike at 8 pm. One hour of light, and then it got pitch dark. We hiked the first 12 km mostly in the dark, with our tiny little headlamps. Singing on top of our lungs the whole time to scare of the cougars (bergslejon)! They are most active in the evening, and there are plenty of them. We tripped and fell a few times in the mud, and at 11.30 pm we arrived to our first campsite. It was so good to crawl into the tent!

* Oh, almost forgot. Emma almost scared the hell out of Scott at one point. She slipped in the mud, did a summersault, and went down the steep edge right next to the trail. Scotts heart skipped several beats as she disappeared over the edge …. Two seconds later he heard a giggling laugh. Luckily there was a little ledge two meters down with some soft bushes, and there was Emma, totally fine and about to laugh her head off! She dragged herself up and we pushed on through the mud with Emma looking like a big mud cake. :-)

* We also celebrated our 3rd anniversary (3 years ago Emma got on a plane to Seattle to meet a guy she barely knew…) during the hike with a bag of “just-add-water” risotto, freshly picked wild mushrooms, and a plastic bottle of wine. We landed a protected little campsite on a white sandy beach, built a campfire from driftwood and watched an amazing sunset. We even managed to get a little drunk off our rationed wine supply :-)

* 2700 km on bike, 120 km on foot, 230 km in a kayak, 20 kg pasta, 8 kg rice, 12 kg oatmeal and 8 kg granola later, we are now in Portland/Seattle, spending some time with Scott’s family before we head back to Sweden. 

* As we neared the end of the journey, we couldn’t help but feel mixed emotions: There was excitement to end a successful trip and the desire for a shower, a cold beer, and a non-pasta dinner… but there was also sorrow that the falling leaves and shorter days were not only the end of summer, but the end of an adventure we had been planning for the last 18 months. But it was an obvious consolation that we had seen such incredible landscapes and reached so many of our goals in “only” 8 weeks.

We really appreciate your support and interest in our adventure. It’s been great reading your comments and emails, and we hope that, perhaps, you might be jealous enough to start planning your own adventure :-) We have already started dreaming about our next one…

Scott and Emma

Tags: Adventures




Great to meet you at the finish line, the smiles on your face told it all. love me

  ann Aug 30, 2007 7:21 AM


it was great following along
hope to see you soon

  Fermin Aug 30, 2007 8:18 AM


Um, that was PACIFICO beer with limes, not CORONA!

  Kelly Cole Aug 30, 2007 8:32 AM


I hope you are ready to get really drunk at Elie's gradumacation now! I can't wait to meet Emma finally.
I am definitely inspired to plan my own adventure now.

  Caroline Orsini Aug 31, 2007 9:20 AM


Fantastic! (I don't suppose that Scott snapped a photo of Emma appearing as a "mud-cake"!) You two are inspiring!

  Carole Burnett Sep 2, 2007 10:24 PM


Awesome! What an adventure guys! You must have a photo-evening and show on your trip on a map. Waiting to see you back in Sweden soon!

  Mattias Nyström Sep 6, 2007 4:55 PM


I finally read this last installment - so awesome! i cant wait to see a slideshow when i get to sweden and have your commentary along with it.
thanks so much for spending your last few days with me. emma, sorry you couldnt have stayed longer.

  elie Cole Sep 14, 2007 1:35 PM

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