Hiked this trail for the third time last summer, this time with my teenage son. The last time I did the trail was back in 1982. Other than being slightly muddier than before, it was still a fantastic trip. Went from south to north which is consistent with my "get the worst thing done first" philosophy. Took 5 days with no rain. It is challenging in some places, but then, you really should only be out there if you are somewhat fit and know what you are doing. My son (13 at the time) had no issues with the ladders and mud, but we were both pretty knackered by each days end.
Lighten up your pack as much as you can. Don't bring anything that is not essential. It may seem like a good idea to bring a camp chair or an axe or a manhole cover for that matter, but it is really a bad idea.
As far as a wilderness experience goes, this is a fairly expensive one. By the time you pay for the permit, the ferry crossings, the return bus fair, a hamburger at Chez Moniques and some crab at Nitinat, it adds up to a fair bit of cash. But it really is worth it.