By Tom Groenewal
March 22, 1992
Ahead I hear the sound of water beating down onto rock which must be the falls on Falls Creek. There is no apparent way around the falls. I go upstream through a thick growth of Salal and Devils Club far over my head. I pick the easiest way but this is not easy and would be considered a bad choice by any hiking partner I have ever had, but I am having a good time. Above the falls there are no log crossings either. The only choice is to go back down and walk across slippery ledge within 8’ of the plunge, or fording another cold creek.
I choose the walk across the ledge over the slick rock. Luckily the water flow is manageable and I walk slowly trying to determine that I have good footing. I make it safely to the other side. I jump up on a fallen tree and start dragging myself and my awkward pack up and over. I let myself slide and roll off the tree and down the bank to the creek bottom. I pick myself up, shake off, and take a bearing to get back to the trail.
The Goodman Creek Trail continues north down to the beach one mile from Toleak Point which is sand and encroaching forest and juts out into the ocean. This is where I hope to find a camp. High tide is pulling back and I have a two or three-foot passage on my way down the beach.
There is a creek and an emergency shelter sitting a short way up the bank. Where the creek drops down from the forest is an old abandoned campsite between and some giant drift logs perched on a beach layer above normal high tide. Around the point is another empty campsite up on a short four-foot bluff, not far above high tide.
Standing on Toleak Point the view is the most stunning of any place I have ever been, equal to the canyons of Utah. I go 100 yards around the point on the north side and find a camp nestled under a Sitka Spruce. There is a perfect viewing seat on a log out front and a clear tent space below the trees.
I drop my pack to the ground and immediately begin pulling out the tent and setting it up and scattering my stuff in appropriate directions. I first go to the stream on the other side of the point rinse off. Layers of salt and dirt removed, the breeze evaporates the water off my skin. I will need about two quarts of water through tomorrow morning and pump the filter for a while, not my favorite job, boring. Feeling utterly refreshed I hobble back to camp and rub my aching muscles after the 12-mile hike carrying my excessively heavy pack. Always too heavy.
The sun, looking like a glowing red ball, is hanging low in the hazy afternoon sky casting warm light diffused through the fog and spray of waves. As the sun lowers shadows begin to darken on the backside of the small islands and rock formations clustered off Toleak Point and Giants Graveyard a mile up the coast. The tide is going out and more rocks begin to appear from the ocean, waves beat different patterns at the changing tide. A wave smashing into the right rocks can force a pounding 200 yards away. My eyes and ears pass back and forth across the horizon and focus on rocks, the sun and sky, birds and seals and the spray of the waves.
As the sun falls below the horizon, my eyes and breathing patterns are falling too. With one last pulse of energy, I crawl into my sleeping bag my feet too sore and muscles too resistant to walk anymore.