Suicide Creek to Lang Bay store
Normally one would be continuing on the trail to Mt Troubridge, but the proximity of the long weekend was more enticing than bagging another summit, so I hiked the first ten kilometres until I hit Dixon Road, then walked the two km out to the Lang Bay store on highway 101. It was a pleasant morning’s walk, albeit with a detour to avoid an area where they are building a road for logging operations.
I wasn’t the only one cutting out at Lang Bay: there was a group of four just ahead of me, but I’ve no idea where they camped the previous night as I didn’t see any campsites. To add to the mystery they has been hiking for five days, but were driving a car with a handicapped parking decal. Go figure.
While I indulged in a non-instant coffee – which was only marginally better than my Italian Nescafe – I offered my accumulated wisdom on how they might resolve their flat battery problem. And sure enough, the guy in the giant pick up truck had jumper cables, but they were of a gauge that would struggle to jump start a lawn mower. When my taxi arrived to take me back to my starting point, they were still using the big truck and the little cables as a battery charger.
My van was where I left it, and I had time at the Saltery Bay ferry terminal to contemplate the walk. It’s billed as Canada’s longest hut to hut hiking trail, but the huts, while in spectacular locations, lack the comforts that I enjoyed by camping near water sources. Although the huts were closed due to Covid-19, I think camping is actually the better option anyway. For me, this hike was to see how much I enjoyed wilderness walking after three summers of European caminos, and the short answer ia that I really missed the cultural and historical aspects of European trails. The SCR is a trail that links a bunch of summits: there is no historical aspect, like it being a traditional trade route or some such, so the only footsteps you are following are the hikers a day ahead of you. No 10th century Archbishop trod through here.
This was my first use of my new Aarn backpack (the Effortless Rhythm model). While very expensive and complicated to adjust, I found it far superior to the Osprey I used to do the via francigena in the summer of 2019. I have meralgia paresthesia (numb thigh!) and the design and operation of the Aarn waist straps meant that my leg didn’t bother me at all. Last year I walked most of the VF without using a waist strap as it was too uncomfortable.
I also walked the SCT as a way of testing myself in the great outdoors to see whether I have what it takes to attempt the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand. On that ambition the jury is still out. 3000km/4 months is a significantly bigger undertaking than 135km on the BC coast! But stay tuned!