We woke up early at our campsite after a great night’s sleep. Or at least I had a great night’s sleep, because I strung up my hammock while the other two TBA boys slept on the rocky ground. We brewed up the last of our Ethiopia Yirgacheffe in the French press, and got our site ready. We hiked about a mile on the trial, and when we finally emerged and saw the car, I knew something was wrong. The back left tire was out, completely blown. Luckily, Matt had a full size spare with him, so we were able to jack up the car, get the lug nuts off, and were ready to get the spare on in record time when we hit another problem. The tire would not come off; it was glued on by mud and grime that surrounded the hub, and would not come off. We have acknowledged of course, that none of us are remotely mechanically inclined in the area of automobiles, so we decided it would not be a great idea to beat on the wheel to try and get it loose. Matt and I did what we do best and took off our shirts, set up some chairs, chilled out got some snacks while we waited for a car to come up the trail, so we could try and ask them for help to call into town for an auto shop. David, on the other hand, was new to this whole TBA thing and was a little worried about the situation. He was running back and forth, actually trying to fix our predicament, attempting to get a signal while Matt and I had a rock throwing competition into the spare wheel (1 point for getting the rock to stay in, 2 points for behind the back). Eventually, a man drove up in a beat up Toyota truck and pulled off next to us. He was an older man, with white full hair, but certainly he had an air of youthfulness to him. His name was Ed, and he was extremely nice to us. He told us that he was climbing up the upper trail, and it would take him about an hour, but he would be back for us if we hadn’t succeeded by then. Obviously better versed in the area of automobiles than the three of us, he gave us advice on what to do: scrape around the hub with a knife to get rid of the dirt, then beat on the back of the wheel (from underneath the car) while another person pulled on the wheel from outside. We had to brace the car first though, so it wouldn’t fall on one of us if it came off the jack. We did as he said, and after a lot of sweat and four letter words, we got the tire off. It was a feeling of liberation probably only matched by Columbus finding America, or Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. We felt indebted to Ed, but we gladly drove down the switchbacks of the mountain, with Willie Nelson blasting.
We were on our way to Port Angeles to catch a ferry to Victoria, but now we were behind schedule. Even while a little rushed to get to the ferry, we had time to take the scenic road there, which was beautiful.
We got the last ferry of the day at 5:15, and were on our way to a welcome reprieve from camping (we really needed a shower). Matt’s Grandmother picked us up in downtown Victoria, and took us to get some fish and chips, which were undoubtedly the best I’ve ever had. Tired from a trying day, we collapsed on beds for the first time in over a week. Even though I was happy to be pampered with blankets and pillows, some part of me was still rearing to get back into the wilderness as I dropped off into a deep sleep.