Sunshine Coast Trail, 17 May 2014

Darcy B. on the Sunshine Coast Trail:
“Six of us hiked the north section of the Sunshine Coast Trail for three days, around 15 kilometres per day. Our group included John, Dennis, Teresa, Edith, Susanna and Darcy. We had warm weather, blue skies and big white cumulous clouds. We parked our cars at the end of the trail at Powell River. Taxis brought us to the boat docks of Lund. After tasty snacks from Nancy’s Bakery, we launched off in a water taxi. Passing the Ragged Islands, we lingered at one spot as a pod of orcas swam by. At Sarah Point, the taxi pilot held the boat with a rope by a rock ledge while we unloaded gear. The start of the trail was elusive. It heads up left and inland, not right and along the shore. Once on the trail, it was well marked the whole way.

The trail was dry and springy, comfortable to hike on. A plethora of spring wildflowers were in bloom. The trail led up and down high hills with viewpoints on bluffs overlooking Desolation Sound. Later the trail overlooked the Pacific and Savary Island. Wednesday Lake was surprisingly warm and many of us stayed in the water up to fifteen minutes. There are low cliffs to dive from. The last two kilometres to Manzanita Hut were the most difficult ascent of the three days. Manzanita Hut sits on a bluff with an expansive ocean view. The location only has one tent pad. Both huts we stayed at had firepits and plenty of cut firewood. John donated his hatchet for future use at Manzanita. The two huts we stayed at have an open ventilation design. Mosquito netting is required to sleep in the huts unpestered.

The trail from Manzanita to Rieveley’s Pond Hut had a couple of long climbs and descents then levels off to pass through open woods with ferns, moss and occasional giant firs. A young bear and big mama were glimpsed running through the forest. Also seen were snakes, frogs, Steller’s jay, red-headed woodpecker, shrew, hummingbirds and several mosquitos. Reiveley’s Pond has an old rickety dock to swim from. The pond is shallow but don’t stand up. The pond bottom is silty mud that you will sink in up to your thighs. A couple of us found out the hard way. There is more space for tents at Rieveley’s Pond Hut.

The third day was the easiest hike. The trail followed several creeks and waterfalls. Sliammon Lake was pristine and warm to swim in. The trail wove through chest high ferns, around several small ponds. At Little Sliammon Lake there is a dock with a canoe and paddles. This lake is pretty and also warm and swimmable. The final stretch of trail ascends to cross a sunny exposed ridge overlooking Powell River. The trail conveniently emerges at Shinglemill Pub. Refreshments were welcome thirst quenchers. The trip was much enjoyed and we all felt luck shone us throughout this 2014 May long weekend.”

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