After a great night’s sleep at Bear Beach we chowed down on our standard oatmeal breakfast and packed up.
The neighbours were a couple guys in their 60’s with limited hiking experience. The one guy came over to see us and get us to help him with his backpack straps. They were all tangled. I worked on it for a bit and then I let my son loose on it. I am continually proud of his mechanical mind. He can figure out stuff where I am hopeless. It is truly a great experience to have your kids excel in an area where you are weak.
After getting their pack sorted out we decided to set out at about 915 AM.
I read the trip reports on a few websites and even recorded some things in my phone but on this day we bit off a lot. When we looked at the map at the trail head we realized that we were embarking on the most difficult 10 km to start, followed by the difficult section. The rest of the trail was either moderate or easy.
The trail started up immediately and then had many switchbacks climbing fairly high over top of the water.
By climbing that high there were off course some amazing views. There were also a few terrifying sections along the trail where you were literally walking right on the edge. If you made a trip and fall the wrong way it was lights out. Fortunately, these really risky sections were limited to about 20 feet and after we encountered the first one I was cautious and always telling the kids to slow down and take baby steps.
With every climb up there was an equal descent and we would be back down to sea level at a valley where a creek would drain into the ocean.
We went through the cycle of climb to immediately descending into the valley multiple times and I admit I was questioning my logic. I could feel that burn in your knees from the constant descending.
We stopped for a Snickers break after a few kilometers of hiking and it tasted so amazing that I could have eaten 3! We all got super hungry before lunch and the hangry started to set in at km 6 of the day. We sat down and I cracked out the one fresh meal that I packed – Naan bread, carrot sticks and homemade hummus. It tasted amazing!
It was a really nice day but after climbing up and down we were all very sweaty and quickly we got cold sitting around. We did not sit around much after lunch was devoured because we knew we still had another 13 km to go.
At 2 pm we made it to Chin Beach. Most people, if not everyone, was stopping at Chin Beach. I have to say that part of the hike lived up to the rating of most difficult. It was not the hardest hiking we have done but it seemed hard for the first hike of the year when the packs were heavy.
We did not spend much time at Chin Beach. We basically checked out the camping conditions and found the trail head off the beach and kept beating a path to Sombrio Beach.
By 515 pm (8 hours after starting) we were at Sombrio. We met a nice lady camping in a hammock when we first entered the beach area. She talked to us for a while and it was cool to hear about her experiences with hammock camping because I may consider that for 1 or 2 day hikes to go with a super light pack.
I made notes of the day….today was a hard day of hiking…there were so many ups and downs through valleys that I lost count. My shoulder blades are sore from the heavy pack and it feels so amazing to be in flip flops and out of boots.
The kids were not satisfied with just plopping the tent anywhere so we had to explore the whole camping section which in itself was about 2 km.
I was fine with just about anywhere they wanted to camp because it all looked like paradise to me. This is the nicest beach on the entire trail. The pebbles are small and really comfortable for sitting on the beach.
At night 2 we were regretting that we forgot to bring cards. We all love playing card games and they both love to play gin rummy. We also like playing Euchre which is a game that seems to originate in Ontario because no one in BC knows how to play. I made sure not to make the same mistake for the Sunshine Coast Trail.
After making it to 29 km on our second day I had my sights set on finishing the trail the next day. The problem was there was no camping at the finish and hiking 18 km to finish and then 7 km back to camp on the trail seemed like a tall task.
I decided to involve the kids in the decision making. My daughter had questioned the trip once when she was tired laying on the beach after 29 km. We talked about our options and we settled on cranking out 11 km the next day to the next campground. From there we could pitch the tent. If we felt like hiking further we could go with one day pack and hike the 14 km to the end and back for a total of 25 km.
I love it that the kids are old enough now to help make some decisions and as I know from being a manager….involve people in the problem. Even if the decision is terrible people will accept it because they were part of making the decision.