I did not sleep well the night before our trip. I still had food drop ideas rolling around in my head. At one point I considered hanging our second food drop at km 134.7 but then I had visions of a crow pecking into it and ruining our trip. It was not worth the risk of leaving it there for 7 days.
The alarm came early at 445 AM and I jumped into the shower for the last shower for a long time. We hit the road at 515 AM and arrived with plenty of time for our 720 AM reservation (Tuesday, August 1st). It was not a problem getting on the ferry without a reservation from what I could tell.
On the trip over we talked about the different footwear options. I’ve always worn hiking boots but my friend Chris Istace (go check out his photos; absolutely dreamy) suggested trying shoes.
I reviewed a lot of links on the 5:1 weight ratio (1 extra pound on your feet equals 5 pounds on your pack).
My pack was going to be heavy enough and having just done the Juan de Fuca trail I was open to something different. I let the kids make the decision if they wanted to wear their boots or their shoes. In the end we all wore running shoes and it was a great decision!
We rode the rural bus (see Getting There for other details) all the way to Malaspina Road, which is just short of Lund. The rural bus is great and they will basically stop anywhere from what I could tell. The bus ride was entertaining because there were a few locals from Savoury Island and they were talking about how to make a hot tub out of a boat.
We jumped off the bus at 440 PM, 12 hours after getting up and started our adventure down a boring paved road.
There are multiple options to get to Sarah Point if you want to start right at km 0. You can take a shuttle down the logging road with Sunshine Coast Shuttles or catch a Lund Water Taxi. Given the cost, and the fact that we were already hiking 180 km with detours, I decided to skip this 15 km section of the trail although I’m sure it is beautiful.
It was about 1.5 km from highway 101 to the intersection of the SCT with Malaspina Road. We found the trail head easily because the trail is so well marked. We hiked north to Manzanita Hut (km 15) which is the first hut on the trail and another 6 km of hiking.
My fancy arrows show where we got off the bus, where the trail meets Malaspina Road and where we finished Day 1.
The hiking was relatively easy in some sections with other sections that had some elevation gain and loss. We each had 1 L of water which was our goal for the entire trip (no more than 1 L of water and plan accordingly). The air was very dry and hot and there was a little smoke haze in the air but not enough to irritate.
^The kids started in front of me and I never caught up for the whole trip!
We talked about what we were going to do if the hut was full. The plan was to camp outside, get up early and bust it to the next hut. 😉 I think the kids liked the idea of racing people to another hut but there was the practical side that we went with only a fly.
Note: This decision was based a lot on the weather forecast of sunshine. It is not guaranteed that you can sleep in huts. That being said we’ve spent 14 nights on the SCT and never been shut out. We’ve shared huts only 5 times.
We passed 4 people coming south from the hut and they told us there was no one at the hut. We were so excited with this news!
It was not long into our hike when we started getting hungry. I packed fresh sandwiches because I knew we would long for this food near the end of the trip. With only 2 days of food in my pack the weight was moderate (a little less than 40 pounds). I could have done better but I packed 1 kg of Naan bread and giant portion of hummus so that we could have a fresh meal the first real day of hiking.
One of our favourite moments on the trip was always arriving at the huts and this was a great introduction to the trail. The hut was built in 2011 and it was quite impressive with an open feel on the bottom that was partially closed with windows to protect from the wind but also allow for the great view.
The upstairs sleeping area is closed in and protected from the elements but on this day it was also quite hot.
The area around the hut is beautiful with Arbutus trees everywhere, picnic tables, fire pit and multiple benches for viewing. With some smoke in the air our view was not 100% but you could still see the ocean and Savoury Island and we were grateful we could see anything.
The water supply near this hut was bleak. We drank most of our 1 L on the way and then found a creek that was nearly dry. We filled up and treated the water and then filled up again on the way out the next day. I think normally this is a good water source but with the dry summer it was nearly gone (plan for some creeks not to exist; generally speaking water is plentiful on most of the trail but you still need to research and plan).