After a long first day we were up surprisingly early at 630 AM but feeling good. We ate the cereal and milk and that turned out to be a rich and creamy treat that kept us going for a long time (longer than oatmeal).
For the first 6 km we simply retraced our steps back out to Malaspina Road. We found the marking on the entire trail to be fantastic. Where there are various entry points they are all marked clearly with signs. It would be hard to get lost.
The hike from the hut to Plumber Creek was moderate with a small section that had a good pitch to it. It was hard to get water out of the first access point near the Manzanita Hut but we got enough for the first 9 km.
The temperatures were good and there was no smoke smell but there was definitely smoke in the air because it was obstructing views significantly.
We decided on this morning that we really liked hiking early in the morning and we would plan that for the rest of the hike when we could coax ourselves out of bed.
Along the trail to Plumber Creek we spotted this guy. I had no idea what he was but someone later suggested it was likely a mink. He didn’t want anything to do with us.
The water at Plumber Creek was cold, clean and there was great flow. It was so much better than the trickle at Mansanita Hut that we were excited. This would be a great place to camp in a tent. The setting was beautiful.
I took a peak at our water tab situation and we made a plan to get as much treated water where possible in the future because we might not have enough treatment tabs.
Again, it was pretty hard not to know where we were on the map with the great trail marking. I printed every map section from the website and we used the maps to plan our water so we didn’t carry more weight.
While hiking down the trail we spotted a big dog about 200 yards away. It looked like a poodle from a distance. The one dog soon became 5 huge dogs running at full speed towards us. The kids stepped back nervously but with the owner’s assurance that they were friendly we greeted them.
These were huge dogs and they were hot on this day with all that fur. The ‘little’ one who was a puppy of 4 months was already 50 lbs and the full grown adults were 110 lbs!
We shared a nice conversation with a couple from Powell River and their company from Calgary. We loved passing day hikers going the other direction as everyone had an experience to share. It was also great to see the kids interact and tell them about our adventure.
The trail overall is extremely well maintained as you can tell from the above picture where there were a lot of fallen trees in this easy section of the trail.
And this is the vision for the trail – protect these beautiful giant trees. You sure feel small compared to these incredible trees.
One of the great things about the trail and particularly this section is that you are never far from civilization (roads, logging road, Powell River). This gave me a comfortable feeling doing the trail with the kids.
The trail was also an incredible learning experience. The kids were fully engaged reading the maps, looking at elevation gain and helping with the daily planning.
I had an itinerary set that we followed until the last day but I gave them input along the entire trail. We each had the option to end the trip without repercussions. This meant no one could be upset if the trip ended.
The trail uses a combination of single track hiking, ATV trails and portions of logging roads.
Hut, Hut! We made Rieveley’s Pond at 1 PM after leaving at 7:45 AM so a little over 5 hours of hiking for 17 km. This included a nice break at one of the campgrounds along the trail.
The hut at Rieveley’s Pond was fully open on the bottom with the same design upstairs as Manzanita Hut. We slept in this hut by ourselves as well although a couple did join us for part of the afternoon before continuing on to a campground. They were from the Lower Mainland as well.
My daughter was excited to hang her hammock for sleeping in the upstairs.
It was hot and we looked at the pond and considered swimming. At first it was only me and my daughter who wanted to wade into the muck with the frogs but with some coaxing my son was soon stripped down to his underwear (we didn’t pack bathing suits – next time).
The entry into and out of the pond was really messy. We sunk in the mud up to our underwear but we just jumped in and swam to the other end. It was warm but very refreshing after hiking all morning.
After swimming and cleaning out our underwear I crashed in the hammock for a while while the kids played with the frogs at the pond. They loved everything about this great location.
I felt like we hit our vacation groove on our first real day on the trail. There was a lot of planning involved with getting to the trail and getting the food right. I was so happy to be on the trail and enjoying the solitude with the kids.