Sunshine Coast Trail – Day 5 Tin Hat Hut

For whatever reason I didn’t sleep well at the Confederation Hut.  It had nothing to do with the surroundings that’s for sure.  I was awake at 645 AM and just hoping the kids would sleep in until at least 8 AM.

The temperature when we were ready to hike was ideal for hiking and we set off at 840 AM which was exactly the same time as our Swiss friends.  Marvin was leading and I was laughing because the pace was so manageable.

With the kids I sometimes feel like I am caught up in a jet stream.  They just fly along and I try to keep up.

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We didn’t stick together long before they pulled aside and let us pass.

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Our original plan was to hike from Confederation Hut (km 74) to Fiddlehead Hut (km 81) but we had already stayed at Fiddlehead twice in 2016 (it’s beautiful and right on Powell Lake).

We decided to bite off the more substantial and challenging hike all the way to the top of Tin Hat Mountain (km 90).  We knew what we were getting into because we hiked from Fiddlehead Hut to Tin Hat Hut in driving rain in 2016 and it was tough.

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The area around Fiddlehead Landing is really unique with giant ferns.  It’s like a fern jungle!

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It may look like he is peeing but he’s not!  Just checking out the signage.  This is probably the worst of the signage on the trail but it’s still easy to follow.

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We got to the junction where you can take the short 1 km detour to the Fiddlehead Hut and took a break at the beautiful stream.  This was a great place to replenish our water supplies before heading up Tin Hat Mountain.  We knew there was a water source 3 km for the top so we took enough water (1 L each) to get up there.

When you are hiking it’s really important to understand how much water you need.  You should always drink before you are thirsty and just keep pounding the water.  I usually judge my hydration by the colour of my pee and how often I have to go.  Others may have other techniques ;).

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There’s an old orchard at Fiddlehead Landing that used to be a farm.  There doesn’t seem to be much fruit anymore but we flew through this section after our snack.  No time to look for apples!

After the water fill up and snack we were ready to take on Tin Hat Mountain.  This time in beautiful conditions.

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The hike up Tin Hat Mountain is difficult and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  It’s 1300 m of elevation gain and the gain takes place over a relatively short distance so it’s constant switchbacks.  The first 3 km or so from the junction are relatively easy and flat and then it heads uphill.

It’s still very enjoyable but just be ready to suck it up and feel your heart beat.

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It’s pretty amazing to me how much work is involved in maintaining a trail like the SCT.  This bridge was completely obliterated by a falling tree.

The bridge below was getting pretty tired but generally things on the trail are maintained at the highest levels I have experienced anywhere.

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The trail is constantly evolving with logging.  We came across this logging road that we didn’t remember from 2016.  Again, the volunteers work things around the changes and we did not struggle finding where the trail started again.

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At 3 km before the peak we found the final water source.  It was great that we met some folks on the way down and they explained that there was tape on a tree denoting the final water before the top.

The stream was flowing adequately to get a cup under it and then transfer to our water bladders.   This was not a beautiful flowing stream by any means but the water was cold and fresh.

We all filled up completely (2 L each) and got away as fast as possible because we were being eaten alive by bugs.

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It is pretty exciting when you pop out onto an ATV trail and see these signs.  It means you have less than 3 km to get to the top.

In 2016 when we were hiking up it was torrential rain and we didn’t see any trail markers for 5 km.  We were all pretty distraught until we got to this point and realized we had covered a lot of ground.  It felt like we were getting nowhere fast!

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Even though the path is wider it is really quite steep and still a good test.

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About this point we started to spot wild blueberries and we were very excited about making a harvest!

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Hut, Hut!  We made it to the hut at 1305 PM averaging 3.6 km/hr including our breaks for food and water.  I was really proud of the kids.  They just killed this difficult hike.

I asked them to compare it to last year and they said it was 7 out of 10 for difficulty compared to last year in the rain.  I agreed it was easier but I think being a year older helped a bit too, plus we carried less water on the way up.

It’s really important to plan your water accordingly.  I carried the detailed maps and figured out exactly where we would get our water.  We were disappointed really only once at Manzanita Hut where it was hard to get water.

We met a couple who carried 10 L to the top from Fiddlehead.  Sorry guys but that is crazy!

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When we arrived at the hut there were 8 people there already and our faces dropped a bit.  We were quickly relieved to hear that they were moving on soon so we set up the hammock and I made a quick lunch out of dehydrated vegetables & chicken and Mr. Noodles.  Who knew that something could taste so amazing but we had burned a lot of energy on the way up.

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I was reflecting on how the hike up to Tin Hat Hut compared to the hike to Confederation Hut.  There were sections to Confederation Hut that were very difficult.  The difficult sections to Tin Hat Hut were fewer in my opinion but the elevation gain is significant.

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After lunch and getting settled into the hut we hiked the short section to the very top of the mountain.  There was really no view but we could imagine one since we were there in 2016 as well.

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We still have no idea what this thing is and what’s the history of it.  I need to research that one.

Our Swiss friends arrived almost 2 hours after we arrived.  They were both smiling still and Marvin checked out in the hammock for a few hours.

The sun disappeared behind the mountains with a very interesting red colour.

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In the evening we played card games again with Marvin and Tabea.   They were playing as a team sharing one hand and they gave the kids a good run.  I was out of the game early!

It was really nice having huts to ourselves but I equally enjoyed sharing them.  The people we met were fantastic!

Speaking of people just before sunset 4 people arrived to the top.  They were from North Vancouver.  They set up their tents and we all shared some laughs about the struggles to the top.

The kids were still full of energy at the top of the mountain.  They were talking about what was coming up next.  I was feeling good because the pack continued to get lighter as we ate the food. 😉

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