After 3 challenging days consecutively we knew we could take a bit of a breather with the hike to the Walt Hill Hut (km 122) from Elk Lake Hut (km 110).
We started with a really nice breakfast and our Irish friends treated me to some instant coffee. I made a mental note to carry instant coffee. It is light weight and a treat. I’ve been addicted to caffeine in the past but right now I’m at the sweet spot where I don’t need caffeine.
The group from North Vancouver peeled away at 930 AM because they had a big day and wanted to hike well past the Elk Hut so they could get out early the next day.
I found this part of our hiking experience interesting. Of the 3 groups we met on our travels none of them had a really defined plan or timeline for the trip. As a result the Swiss group ended up hiking out logging roads to get out faster.
I would struggle without a defined plan and was happy I’d done all this work ahead of our trip.
We decided to stay at Elk Lake a little longer than normal and enjoy the swimming because Walt Hut didn’t have swimming and we figured with the smoke the view would be limited.
After swimming the Irish guys treated the kids to Astronaut ice cream sandwiches that were remarkably good. The inside texture reminded me of a Crunchie chocolate bar.
We finally left the hut at 1115 AM after a photo opportunity with our Irish friends. There was a choice of two trails at one point and we selected the outside route (turning left). The outside route was a little overgrown and not the nicest section of hiking.
I noticed that the kids were hiking slower than normal, which was fine by me! We met a hiker on this section that confirmed that the section we completed from Tin Hat was indeed further. He was hiking South to North which is unusual as most people hike it North to South like we were doing (recommended).
While the kids started slow they cranked up the pace and the last 4 km of hiking was done at a torrid pace. We found that the hike was harder than we anticipated. There were several challenging uphill sections similar in nature to Tin Hat and Confederation but shorter in duration.
Celebrations at every km marker.
Hut, hut! We made the hut by 1441 PM so 3.5 hours of hiking for a little over 13 km of hiking by my calculations and a pace of 3.9 km/hr including a break for snacks. I don’t know why I kept track of our pace but I did because I was impressed with just how fast we seemed to be going.
The Walt Hill Hut is fully winterized like the ones at Confederation Lake and Tin Hat Mountain with a pellet stove. I was envisioning a future snow shoe trip after seeing all the amenities on the SCT.
I always find it a bit strange that people leave so much stuff behind (old stoves, fuel, beans, strings etc). Some of it is useful but a lot of it just clutters the hut in my opinion.
We got a bit of a view from the top and we got out our map to figure out which lakes we could see. It was fun to remember doing the Powell Lake Canoe Circuit and see just how far we traveled by water on that trip.
There were so many blueberries at the hut that we foraged a lot over the afternoon and just generally relaxed as we had the place to ourselves. We knew our next day was going to be epic because we had our food drop detour, plus the Golden Stanley Hut (km 145) was already a 23 km hike.