SCT, Inland Lake to Tin Hat Mountain, July 17-20, 2015. - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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Default SCT, Inland Lake to Tin Hat Mountain, July 17-20, 2015.

Where: The Sunshine Coast Trail (SCT), Powell River BC



The dotted line is the section we completed (34km), relative to the entire trail (160km).

Who: Myself, Svetlana, and my 2 boys, Nathan (11) and Daniel (14), Kuma (3; 21 in dog years).

We headed out early from my brother's place in Vancouver to catch the 6:35 ferry out of Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. When we arrived some 40 minutes later we had a quick stop at McDonald's and then it was another hour of twisting and turning on the winding road to Earl's Cove. We made that ferry as well, and we arrived in Saltery Bay at around 11:30.





We then drove the 20 min or so to Powell River, grabbed a few muffins at Tim Horton's, hit the bank machine, and then headed to the Inland Lake park north of Powell River to rendezvous with Club Tread's very own Susie Darke (SusieD). She had agreed to shuttle me back from dropping my car off at the far trail head at Dixon Road, by Lois Lake (thanks! again!). I dropped everyone off at the park parking lot, then headed back to meet Susie and we both drove the 25 minutes there, 25 min back.

By the time we got back and I got everyone on the trail it was 2:30!





A very late start, so we kept our pace fairly brisk. After about 20 minutes of following the trail that goes around Inland Lake we arrived at the SCT trail head for Confederation lake.



Here we started a steady and at points very steep incline until you level off at the saddle between 2 peaks that are part of the Mount Mahony range and cradles Confederation Lake.



It gets boggy here as you descend along the southern flank of the lake. The shadows were definitely lengthening, and we could hear something calling not too far from on the shoreline on our left that freaked Svetlana out. I thought it was a moose at the time, but after listening to some moose sounds on the internet I doubt that was it.. Moose sound like a bear growling? Huh.. In any case it was a low, rythymic mewling. Hard to describe. So anyways we kept our heads down, picked up the pace and didn't do much looking around for whatever it was.



We arrived at Confederation Hut (the 9.5 km mark abouts) by about 6pm, and if we were smart we would have over-nighted here. The cabin looked to be in good shape, and there was good water in the lake, a pit toilet, etc..





But Susie said the Fiddlehead Landing Hut was much newer and nicer, so after filtering some water we pushed on. Not too far away I saw a sign that said "Vomit Vista 2km" (or some such distance) and I thought 'PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let it be named such by those heading TOWARDS us!". My crew was already not happy with me..

Luckily this turned out to be the case. After a fairly mild incline that was like a super highway after slogging up Mt Mahony we started the long descent along a ridge down to the 'landing' that would get us to the Fiddlehead Hut.


We cleared the forest and came perpendicular to an old logging road. At this point I made the mistake of consulting the guidebook ('The Sunshine Coast Trail by R.E. Walz) and my GPS, when what I should have done is just headed towards the flagging tape directly across the road. But the GPS was pointing me to the left and up the logging road to get to the Hut, and the trail description was a bit confusing with talk of spurs and cutblocks and 'narrow seam of trees bisecting', etc, etc.. Added to this was Susie's warning that some yahoo was removing markers around this point (she was in fact refering to the spur further on heading down to the Hut) because they are mad about the hut usage.. So I'm thinking, 'is the flagging tape trying to lead me in the wrong direction? Am I supposed to follow road spur to the left, maybe??'. I hummed and hawed for about 15 min wasting valuable daylight until we decided to just follow the flagged path, which turned out to be the right choice (duh!!). We fairly quickly arrived at the junction between Fiddlehead and Tin Hat Mountain and took the left spur to Fiddlehead. Here again we ran into trouble, as by now it was quite dark with the tree cover and it being around 9pm already the diamond trail markers were sparse and/or not visible. We saw one path that had a bunch of logs across it, and again I was thinking 'Is this that yahoo obscuring the trail, or the PRPAWS guys letting us know not to go this way?'. I broke out the headlamp, and headed the wrong way down what turned out to be someone else's property.. Relief and amazement at such a nice 'hut' turned into despair as we discovered that we had to backtrack and retrace our steps in the dark.. We called out to the cabin to see if anyone was there and could direct us to the right path, but no go. Svetlana was losing it at this point, fearful that we would be spending the night on the trail, so I just threw up my hands and headed back to the other person's cabin and down to the lake to see if I could make out the Fiddlehead Landing Hut from the shore line. If that failed, I was resolved to set up camp on the guy's porch and deal with the possible consequences (embarrassing and/or heated confrontation with the owners, ignominious retreat). But luckily it didn't come to that, as I saw the Hut not far off to the left, and quickly realized that the trail with the logs across it that we had earlier dismissed was indeed the one we needed. We scurried over the obstruction and pushed on the last 100 meters or so to the Hut. 19km up and down a mountain, good grief! Svetlana was relieved, but still tired and at her limit. We stripped out of our clothes, quickly got our sleeping pads and bags out, then went down to Powell Lake and washed off all the grime in the pitch black.. The water was still super warm and refreshing. Nathan was already asleep, and I just broke out some jerky and protein bars for those still awake rather than deal with the stove, and we turned out the headlamps by midnight. Looooong 18 hour day! Should have stuck around at Confed Hut.. When will I learn to scout out hikes myself first, THEN bring the fam? All the planning and going over maps does not compare to boots on the ground.. Hopefully I'm not making a mistake taking them on the Rockwall hike in another 2 weeks..

Things looked a little brighter in the morning, though Svetlana didn't sleep very well due to the hut being a bit stuffy.. There is a screen window facing the lake, but without the door opposite the window open there was no breeze getting in, and the door open meant bugs and who knows what other critters getting in. That, and the stress of barely finding the hut before dark meant it was a while before she fell asleep. But the rest of us were pretty well recovered by the time we got up at 9:30. We had a fairly leisurely breakfast and were finally able to have a look around the place, so that we did.


FiddleHead Hut


neighbor to our right, whose path we had mistakenly wandered down and whose porch I was considering spending the night on..

By 12:30 though we were packed and ready to go, finally (another late start, but we needed it!).





It was looking to be a scorcher..



So we were glad to have the tree cover again as we sidled up to the mountainside. The mosquitoes weren't bad, unless we stopped, but the horseflies were buzzing all around us no matter how fast we went.. Very annoying. And is there anything more maddening than trying to filter water (holding up a 2L Platypus Gravity Works filter bag, in this case) with a horsefly biting you between the shoulder blades?



I wish someone had told us there were rain barrels at the Tin Hat hut (more on that later), as it would have saved me getting bitten all to heck and back by mosquitoes and horseflies and then schlepping up 6 liters of water up another 250' of elevation! But I digress.. Svetlana and Daniel were also stung several times by wasps on the way up. Nathan and I made it through scot-free but they paid the price, following after us. The trail was very well marked and cleared of dead-fall and that was very appreciated. The PRPAWS (Powell River Parks And Wilderness Society) have sure put a lot of work into these trails and huts! We made it to the Haslam Vista viewpoint finally, and we were pretty spent by this point..



So, contemplating ANOTHER 19km trek to Elk Lake tomorrow and noticing we had cell reception, I made the call that we would be cutting the trip short. The PLAN had been to hike another 19km or so to Elk Lake Hut, then 14km or so to Walt Hill Hut, and then hike out on the 5th day another 12km or so to Lois Lake and then Dixon Road, where my car was parked, 65-67km abouts, all told, from Inland Lake to Dixon Rd.. But I phoned for a pick up by boat at Fiddlehead Landing for Monday afternoon, the day after next, so we could have a rest day at the Tin Hat Hut and then backtrack to Fiddlehead instead.. The number for the boat guy (Justin) was in the trail guide book. My jaw opened a bit at the $240 price tag, but I wanted the family happy and ready to take on the Rockwall in 2 weeks, so bit the bullet..

We thought we must be near the top, but it seemed never ending.. After reaching a clearing and following a 4x4 track for a ways there was another steep bit of bushwhacking to be done.

Finally we reached the top.. 10km and 6.5 hours of hiking today, 33km all told so far!





We noticed people at the hut, the first we'd met at this point. It was 3 women hiking the entire trail from Sarah Point to the North to Saltery Bay to the South! They'd came the same direction we did, and were taking a rest day before heading on to Elk Lake and beyond.

We dropped our packs and just vegged for a bit.





I got dinner started (it was 7pm abouts), and at this point noticed the rain barrels beside the cabin. This was a relief, as without them unless we really rationed ourselves I would have had to hike the 2km and 250' of elevation down to the last creek to re-up on water, which would not be fun.. So even with the dead horseflies and live mosquito larvae floating in them they were a welcome sight! Svetlana and the boys got our sleeping quarters organised in the hut in the meantime.





Cont'd...............
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Who needs a signature? Mine is always: Last edited by dougz; Today at 03:27 PM

Last edited by dougz; 01-21-2018 at 11:53 AM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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The horseflies were crazy up there, and the breeze was negligible, so we stayed inside the hut wherever possible. It was a hot day, cloudless and maybe 23 degrees. When dinner was over and we'd recovered a bit we headed up with the girls to the summit to catch the sunset, which was really nice.





















I was back in the good books now, with a pay-off such as this!

We headed back down after, and pretty much went to bed right away, as the girls (Georgina, Olena, and Susanne, all from Vancouver) had an early start tomorrow.



So we got woken up fairly early, but were able to fall back to sleep for a bit before getting up again around 9:30.

Leisurely breakfast, playing some cards, teaching the kids how to use their compasses.. Pretty laid back and relaxing..

At noon or so we headed back to the summit for some more looking around. Another gorgeous, sunny day..

According to the Hut logbook, we'd been pretty lucky.. Rainy and cloud-covered only a few days before, and smoke-covered before that because of the Sechelt fire..















We came down, had a nice lunch, did some reading inside the Hut (horseflies), more card games..



Soon enough it was getting on for 6pm, and we saw a couple on their way up to the cabin. They were out of Victoria, and I think they were doing the whole trail as well. Oh, and there was a couple and their dog who came up just as a day trip and headed right back down..

So again we had to keep nudging Daniel to stop his snoring, and try to keep the noise of changing our sleeping positions to a minimum.. I still wasn't sleeping at midnight, so headed outside in just my pajama pants, and it was awesome, no horseflies or mosquitoes, clear sky full of stars, the Milky Way clearly visible, a surprising amount on lights from down below..

We got up early the next morning and by 6:30 we were on the trail. We made record time getting up and out by packing everything we didn't need for sleeping the night before, and by just having protein bars for breakfast.. I still fired up the stove for Svetlana's and my morning cuppa - 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp cocoa, 2 tbsp powdered WHOLE milk, 1 packet of Starbucks Via, 500-750ml water, our go-to caffeinated beverage recipe. And so we headed down the mountain back towards Fiddlehead Landing, that much fresher for having that rest day yesterday. Svetlana and Daniel got stung again by the same wasps! You'd think we would have remembered that spot! We made very good time, though.







Cont'd............................
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Soon enough there was light at the end of the tunnel..






Tin Hat Mountain





Not sure how we missed this bounty on the way up! Must have had our eyes firmly on the prize...

Then the last stretch down to Fiddlehead for pick-up.. We noticed alot more flagging and signage this time that I could swear was not there when we arrived last time. Especially around the property of the neighbor to our right ('Private Property' 'Beware of Dog', etc).. All the logs that had been obscuring the trail that I'd kicked out of the way were back with a vengeance as well.. Hmmmm.

We got there at about 12:30, so 6 hours of hiking for the day. I always think we're going to make so much better time going downhill, but it is never the case (was 6.5 going up)!



The swim was soooooo nice..



At 2pm right on schedule Justin arrived and we were on our way..

We had to switch to a jet boat, though, as he had mechanical trouble, but luckily we were able to limp around the horn of Powell Lake and get cell service to arrange for the transfer.





Even so we were about 30 minutes late for our rendezvous with Susie, who had agreed to shuttle us all again. But I hope she wasn't too put out, and we were able to make the ferry just in time! 40+ KM, all told!


High Five!

We brought a LOT of gear we didn't end up using, thankfully (midlayers and shell jackets that we only put on for the boat ride to keep the sun off and not get chilled by the wind; rain pants; emergency shelter - 9x7 Siltarp 2 and tent pegs and guylines; extra batteries; 2 fixed blades - I keep bringing them but never needing them for more than cutting cord or opening freeze-dried meal packets; bug head nets and one 2 person bug net (they weren't THAT bad); FA kit; 2 canisters of bear spray; SPOT; a full 300ml thing of sunscreen we didn't bother with; the GPS proved to be more of a hinderance; an extra white gas canister; and a bunch of extra food (even had we done the whole trip I think we would have had extra). But better to have it and not need it than the other way around, I say.. And better to grow stonger with heavy packs than be gram weenies.. LOL

My pack with 5 liters of water (2 one liter Nalgenes and a 3 Liter Platypus Big Zip Reservoir with hose) and food was 40 lbs, Daniel's with the other 1/2 of the food and the extra clothes was 30 lbs, Nathan's with the sleeping pads and some misc stuff was 17 lbs, and Svetlana's with the sleeping bags and cooking stuff was 21 lbs.

I'll try to do some trimming for the Rockwall (neck knife rather than the fixed blades, maybe 1 can of bear spray, 1 canister of fuel, etc, etc), but with the 2 tents that we didn't need this trip it will work out to be the same..
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 09:49 AM
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Enjoyed your trip report. And seeing a family out backpacking together. Awesome!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Looking forward to reading your SCT TR!

(Del Sol was one of the ladies we met at Tin Hat Hat, another Club Treader, small world!!)

Thanks to the Admin or Mod who opened up the editing window back to infinity.. MUCH better!!!

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 11:52 AM
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great TR and pics, thanks for sharing. I remember reading your WCT report from last year and enjoyed it lots too.
looking forward to Rockwall report.

btw, your dog is too cute!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, we like him..

Looking forward to Rockwall (knock on wood), 3 years running I've been trying! Kuma is allowed there as well.

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 06:47 PM
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Great TR, Doug! I really enjoyed reading it, and thought you got the flavour of the trail really well. I particularly liked your Tin Hat photos.

It was good to meet you and Svetlana and the boys. I hope we'll see you up this way again for more adventures on the SCT.

(PS I see you have renamed me Susan again - what do you have against my real name??)
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
(PS I see you have renamed me Susan again - what do you have against my real name??)
Gah! So I did, sorry!

I dunno, it just seems to me like I'm being overly-familiar with you using what is classically the diminutive form of the name 'Susan'.. But that's no excuse, I'm on notice!

Here's the elevation profile:

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2015, 12:02 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
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Thanks for the report. I haven't yet walked over to the fiddlehead shelter. My cabin is about 200 meters away. Too bad about the price for the shuttle down Powell Lake. Could've been picked up by road easily enough.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2015, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Mackenzie, BC, Canada.
Interest: hiking, skiing, camping, SAR, Canadian Rangers (army reserve)
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Hey Jables, yeah, live and learn.. He actually only took $200 due to the delay with the motor acting up, and it was a nice way to end the trip.

We probably COULD have made it, but the way things went with our LAST 19km stretch (granted the late start was what screwed us) we were pretty gun shy about the 19km to Elk lake.. Didn't want my family demoralized and dreading our upcoming trip to the Rockwall.

And it was nice to have the rest day on Tin Hat..

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post #12 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 01:03 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Excited to read such an awesome trip report - I've been scouring online looking for anything on the trail - We are hiking the full trail in less than 2 weeks and I haven't found much useful info beyond the book.....

If anyone can link me to other recent trip/trail reports that would be awesome!

And if anyone is hiking the trail end of Aug we may see you then!! (we're heading up to Sarah Point for the start of our hike on 22 August (so if anyone wants to share the boat with us - there's only 2 of us and space for 6....! - let me know!)
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Mackenzie, BC, Canada.
Interest: hiking, skiing, camping, SAR, Canadian Rangers (army reserve)
Posts: 1,515
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Nice!

That section we did was tough! Can't imagine doing the whole trail in one go, good on ya!

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