Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Just getting to the trailhead was adventurous enough!

To start a family backpack adventure via a water taxi from Lund, BC to the start of the Sunshine Coast Trail, Sarah's Point, was a huge bonus as far as I was concerned.  It sounded so much more adventurous than just parking the truck and hike.  We keep talking of buying kayaks or a canoe (lord help the addition of more adventure gear) and paddling our way to the hundreds of places to explore along the waters of Vancouver Island BC.  For now, a 20 min water taxi ride will have to do. Yes, a 20 min ride north along the Sunshine Coast, thru Thulin Passage, past Copeland Island Marine Provincial Park towards Desolation Sound to set the stage for a four day three night family backpack adventure.  Pretty sweet. Unfortunately, I forgot that with stunning coastal views comes steep rocky bluffs and rough waters.  But there was no time to think about that with views like this.  Yip, this adventure was already a success and we haven't even started.  

We boarded the Lund Water Taxi around 4:30pm on a Friday evening.  A Friday evening of a long weekend, their busiest time of year as they provide daily transportation to neighboring islands.  We had no idea just how busy this place gets and were happy to get a boat ride at all!  So when the time came for us to board, we hopped on, no questions asked. 

The crew that was taking us to Sarah's Point were doing their last run of the day.  They were two young men (does that make me old?), quickly grabbing a bit to eat and chatting with us as we walked down the dock towards the boat with our backpacks in tow.  They asked the usual questions.  Where you hiking to? How long? Followed with a "pretty cool you are taking the kids."  We get that a lot.  

The captain suggested we sit on top and enjoy the ride.  He was right.  We enjoyed the ride but there was something bothering me.  Before climbing up the ladder to the roof, I asked if there was a dock at Sarah's Point.  The kind young man mentioned there was no dock but there were some rocks that are suitable for unloading.  I kept telling myself that this is not the first time he has delivered hikers to Sarah's Point.  In fact, he was training the other guy so obviously he had done this before.

Like all stories, things seem a whole lot more dramatic thinking back on it than they really were.  I will tell you though, the waves were 10 ft high, no joke! OK, maybe a foot but damn, it felt epic.  Hearing the waves crash on the rocks, the boat bob back and forth with the odd bang of metal against rock was not helping my perception of the waves.  I looked at the rocky bluff we were going to disembark on.  The rocky bluff these two young men were trying to get close to were rocky bluffs shooting straight up out of the water.  Ones that would be ideal to jump into the water from, on a hot calm day! Adrenaline sure starts flowing when you are jolted into the realization that this is gonna require some help on our part.  Thing is, I haven't a flying "you know what" I am suppose to do.  The captain quickly gives instructions to his trainee, he jumps out from the wheelhouse and is hanging over the edge of the boat as we slowly rock back and forth a few feet away from the rocks. 

OK, deep breath Jill.  I tell the kids that they need to listen to instructions.  I grab their packs and think, NO.  I am not gonna put them on the kids or let them hold their packs while moving from boat to rocks.  Are the rocks slippery? Visions of them slipping off the rocks and being crushed between the rocking boat and rocks enters my mind.  Forget that, now I am deciding what to do with the packs just as the captain retreats back to the wheel house and backs the boat away from the rocks.  

What is happening? Through all of this, I have no idea what Joel is doing or thinking.  I have no time to discuss our options because the captain approaches us and simply says, "We need to do this quicker." Quicker? Do what quicker? We just got here! He looks straight into my eyes and says one of us needs to jump over, then him and one of us help kids off and throw packs over.  I can only imagine what the poor captain was thinking as he stared straight at me as I stared straight back at him, jaw dropped open and glazed look in my eyes.  Then he returns to wheelhouse and we do it all over.  Take 2.  

In a matter of a minute, I am thinking no freaking way am I going to be able to lift Joel's pack and toss it on the rocks.  Now I have visions of our packs sinking into the ocean.  I wonder how many items have been lost here.  Focus Jill, focus.  Here we go.

Like second nature the boat nestles close to the rocks, a few bangs here and there.  First Mate jumps off and holds the boat.  Sure do hope he doesn't fall in.  Joel jumps off, can't recall if he took a pack with him or not.  Then I send Ben, holding his hand firmly.  Next is Liv.  She bounds over with ease.  Then I grab a kid pack and gently toss over.  Probably too high and now I fear it will roll down into the water.  But it doesn't.  Then I toss my pack and watch it land solid, without a roll. Nice.  I reach down, pick up Joel's pack and somehow, I find the strength to get that beast over the boat.  Or maybe the captain helped me.  Regardless, I did it.  Yahoo! Oh shit, wait. Now I gotta jump off this boat and get reunited with my crew!  Done.

Heart thumping, wind blowing we make are way up the steep rocks and are officially standing at the starting point of the Sunshine Coast Trail.  It is beautiful here.  As I gaze out on to the water, I see the Lund Water Taxi slowly disappearing off in the distance.  I am in complete awe at what we just did and in disbelief that we just paid $30 bucks each to be left out on a dry exposed rocky bluff.  I feel like Les Stroud of Survivorman, only the landscape is hospitable, we have plenty of food, several shelter options, and I am a girl.  Close enough. 

This was by far the most dramatic start to any adventure we have ever had.  So many emotions were wrapped up in a single moment.  All that was left was for us to do was hike back to Lund, taking in the scenes that the Sunshine Coast Trail has to offer.  The task ahead of us was not insurmountably, in fact, it was a task we have conquered many times before.  Only difference was we walked away from our vehicle, not thrown off of a boat. Not gonna lie, I felt like a badass.

Super thanks to the two young men who got us safely to Sarah's Point from Lund, BC.  Lund Water taxi was nothing short of amazing in their service and our safety was always their number one concern.  This experience was just one of the many wonderful experiences we had while backpacking as a family on the Sunshine Coast Trail. 
More stories from the Sunshine coast Trail:

The Sunshine Coast Trail - A trail worth celebrating

1 comment:

  1. awesome! Love these stories. Some day we'll be doing crazy stuff like this too!