trip report – Sunshine Coast Trail

by site editor Rick McCharles 

P1380371

Eleven hikers from flat, dry central Canada – Saskatchewan – met up at Nancy’s bakery in remote Lund, B.C.

sunshine-coast-map

Our plan was to hike from Sarah Point to Powell River in 5 days, 4 nights. The first section of the 180km Sunshine Coast Trail.

We ended up exiting after 2 nights walking out from Manzanita hut right back … to the bakery. 🙂

start of the Sunshine Coast Trail

We’d booked a water taxi from Lund to the trailhead at Sarah Point.

P1370691 P1370700

Our skipper was excellent. The weather perfect. Yet the scramble up steep, slippery rock to the trailhead was challenging. I’d hate to do it in rough seas.

P1370711P1370720

We were off. 🙂

P1370801

The trail is well flagged but requires frequent scrambles over, under or around fallen trees. Our packs felt very heavy at this point.

BestHike BEST - 03

Early July 2015 the Pacific N.W. was atypically hot and humid. Forest fire hazy clouded the sky.

Mosquitoes and wasps were a real pest. Four of our group were stung over 3 days.

It quickly became evident our large group, starting late in the day, would never make it to our intended destination – camping at Wednesday lake.

Instead we dropped down to a disused campsite at Cochrane Bay. It turned out to be a lovely spot. The pit toilet (which we found the next morning) still in working order.

P1370953 P1370923

It was dark when we went to hang the food.

BestHike BEST - 04

Rodents quickly pounced on my  dinner pot (salmon) once I set it on the ground.

BestHike BEST - 05

The sea a glassy lake next morning.

P1370954 P1370961 P1370955

We suffered some foot and knee pain. And morning stiffness, of course.

BestHike BEST - 07

A steep, sweaty climb up from the sea  brought us to Wednesday lake where we refilled all our water bottles. You need at least 3 litres / person on this dry section of the Trail.

P1380052 P1380067

P1380078 P1380073

We needed this refreshing break as the climb up to the Manzanita bluff was particularly gruelling.

P1380121

Joan’s last hike?

P1380123

It was with relief that we arrived at Manzanita hut early in the day.

P1380270

It is a treat to have tables and fire pit after the wilderness camp of the previous night.

P1380249

We split up some sleeping in their tents, some in their tents in the loft.

P1380211

Running low on water, some of the keeners walked about 1.5km down hill to find a stagnant spring. Carried it back up. You need to treat all water on the SCT.

P1380220

By morning it was decided. We were going to quit the SCT and exit to Lund. Our spiritual leader Bill Wallace and his doppelgänger consulted the guidebook, brochure map and some local day hikers to calculate the best route.

P1380288

The manly men checked to see if they were strong enough for the escape … by trying to do a chin-up with full pack.

P1380293

P1380294

Bill leading the quitters to safety.

P1380306

P1380333

Civilization. 🙂

P1380397

siesta

siesta

We checked in at the Willingdon Beach campground in Powell River. It’s a good spot, walking distance from the ferry.

The sunset is gorgeous from here. Sandy descended the steep, slippery cliff to shore faster than anyone else. 🙂

DSCN1142 DSCN1148

Willingdon Beach Trail was a fascinating history lesson. Much enjoyed.

DSCN1168 DSCN1169

DSCN1190 DSCN1200

With the extra time we decided to kayak Desolation Sound. It turned out to be the best day of the week!

Back to Saskatoon. Back to reality. 🙂

DSCN1161

Lessons learned on the Sunshine Coast Trail:

  • it’s mostly inland
  • great vistas are infrequent. Many sections are tree-locked.
  • it’s rarely flat
  • much more challenging than expected

Two ladies who had done half the Pacific Crest Trail found the long day from Sarah Point to Manzanita hut a serious day. They went straight to bed after dinner and were gone by 6am next morning. Do not underestimate this trail. 

I’m hoping to get back in September / October when the bugs are less a problem. Cold doesn’t worry me.

P1380115

Some of our high resolution photos on flickr. Most of those were taken by Warren Long.

besthike Sunshine Coast Trail information page

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “trip report – Sunshine Coast Trail

  1. Hey Rick,
    A group of us are planning on doing this over the September long weekend. Same initial distance and direction but in 4 days, 3 nights. We were wondering what was the ultimate factor in leaving the trail on the second day?
    -Adam

    • It was tougher than we expected. But the main reasons were HEAT, mosquitoes and the fact that 4/11 people were stung by wasps. A 5th was stung next day off the trail.

      Early September should be much better. But be prepared for wasps. Just in case.

    • Hey Adam,

      How did you find the trail?

      Thanks Rick for the info. Planning the same route for mid July this year. Good to know the trail is more challenging than made out to be.

      – Julie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s