Sunshine Coast Trail – Day 2 – Mount Troubridge to Lois Lake

We both slept pretty well, but we were quite hot throughout the night. I guess nine people in a tiny cabin is a great way to generate heat.

We were the first ones up, so we gathered our belongings got our bags packed up on the porch – it was actually pretty pleasant outside compared to how warm it was inside. We stopped by the creek to filter some water and then we were off.

Today was all downhill and much more pleasant than yesterday. It was also quite a bit cooler as we started in the morning rather than midday and it was quite foggy and overcast for the first couple hours. The snow continued on the trail until Elephant Lake, and it was still quite manageable without spikes. Around the lake was a bit swampy and sections of the trail were completely flooded with near-freezing water.

Right before we got to Lois Lake, there was a lovely shelter we grabbed lunch at. It seemed quite new (the logbook said it was built in 2015) and it had a nice composting toilet. Around Lois Lake was pretty straightforward with the usual ups and downs that are expected when going along a shoreline. There were a couple campgrounds – one large horse camp that was completely empty and a recreation site campground that looked pretty full.

At the end of the lake, there is a dam; we were disappointed when we realized we wouldn’t be able to walk across it, but you can still get close enough to look over the edge.

After the dam, the trail popped down to follow an old railroad grade and Kyle described it as being like in an Indiana Jones movie and tropical feeling. We crossed the river that was downstream of the dam – there was a small camp on the other side, but we kept going another couple minutes until we reached our exit road.

It was a couple km from where we came out to the highway, but it was easy walking compared to other road walks we’ve down. We tried to hitch with the handful of cars that passed us, but no one stopped, thankfully the walk wasn’t too long. Once we reached the highway it was a quick hitch back to our car – the fifth vehicle (a guy in a pickup truck of course) stopped for us and gave us a ride all the way back. I was able to get service for a little bit, and there was no sailing wait from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay so we decided to chance it and try and make it home tonight rather than camping and heading home in morning.

By the numbers:

  • 2 snakes
  • 12 toads (4 large)
  • Over 45 slugs
  • 1 woodpecker
  • 1 ptarmigan-like bird that was almost stepped on

Sunshine Coast Trail – Day 1 – Saltery Bay to Mount Troubridge

The day started out extremely early as we wanted to be at the ferry terminal at 5am to ensure we caught the first ferry to the Sunshine Coast. We managed to get there right on time and we hoped to catch a short nap while waiting, but that didn’t quite work out. A large family group decided to hang out by our car, talking loudly and even leaning against our car. Once we got on the ferry it was smooth sailing though; we were one of the first cars on/off which meant we were easily able to make our next ferry to Saltery Bay. The trailhead was super easy to find – the first road on the right after the ferry and then a minute drive to a covered map board.


Starting out at the trailhead in Saltery Bay

We started on the trail around 12pm. Once we got on the trail, it started slowly gaining elevation. The bugs started bothering us pretty much immediately, but some bug spray got them to go away. This first section of the trail was quite nice and had a number of viewpoints of the bay on the way up.

We reached the first shelter at Rainy Day Lake a bit before 3pm. There were a number of people swimming in the lake and we grabbed lunch at the picnic table outside of the shelter.


Rainy Day Lake Shelter (and failing at using the self-timer)

We got back en route a bit after 3pm and the trail immediately got rougher. It was still in good condition, but the grade was steeper, the vegetation encroached more and the bugs started attacking again. We put on some more bug spray, but this time it barely abated the bugs’ attacks.

At this point, I was really struggling with the grade of the trail and was really wishing I’d brought my mp3 player so I could listen to a podcast and get out of my own head. Thankfully we didn’t hit snow until we were right near the summit of Mount Troubridge. There was a good metre or two at the top, but it was easily managed without spikes.

At the top, there was an emergency shelter and we were a bit confused as we thought there would be an actual cabin. We consulted the guidebook and confirmed there was supposed to be a cabin, but the written descriptions were once again less than helpful in determining where we should go. Thankfully the book also included GPS coordinates which I was able to plug into our navigation app to sort out where to go.

Getting down to the cabin was quick and thankfully downhill for the first time today. When we got to the cabin, there was already a father and his two kids making dinner. We chatted for a bit and made our dinner; they drove up close to the summit and had a shorter day than us, but they had found the trail just as rough and demoralizing as we had. For dinner, I tried out a simplified version of Skurka’s Peanut Noodles. It went pretty well, but I realized I should either use less water or drain the water before adding the peanut butter next time. It just wound up being mildly peanut-flavoured water with noodles.

After we’d finished dinner, a group of four arrived – they initially said they would set up a tent, but couldn’t find anywhere to set up in the snow, so we made room inside for them.

It was an extremely long day for us, so we tucked away into bed a bit after 9pm while everyone else stayed up and chatted.


Day Trip Report: Garibaldi Lake

We got to the trailhead a bit before noon – the main parking lot area was around half full.

The first 6km of the trail is very well maintained switchbacks in the forest – so even on hot days, you’ll be sheltered. The first 3km was completely snow-free and the snow became consistent enough around 4.5km for us to put our microspikes on.

After your 6km of switchbacks, the trail levels off a bit – there’s a pretty lookout where you can see the Barrier. Unfortunately when we visited, there was a couple smoking, so we quickly took a couple pictures and then got back en route to Garibaldi Lake.

We quickly hit the first Lesser Garibaldi Lake which was clearly melting with a pretty pale turquoise ring around the lake. The trail around the lake is pretty exposed and the snow was soft and slippery. Continuing onto the main lake, we had to cross a couple potentially sketchy snow bridges – I think one of them had an actual bridge under it? The normal summer route/bridge across the outlet of Garibaldi Lake was non-existent, instead, the packed trail went directly across the outlet. The rest of the trail to the camping area continued on the melting ice/water. I tried to cut a line higher up along the actual banks but ended up post-holing up to my waist and getting a bit stuck.

The lake itself was still completely blanketed in snow. We checked out the cooking shelters and were pleasantly surprised to see how clean they were! There was still a bit of trash and an empty bottle of rum, but we managed to pack everything out in a small garbage bag. They’ve also installed some really nice composting toilets since I last visited!

After exploring the shelters, we laid out the z-lite and ate our lunch in the sun. While we were eating we were impressed/horrified to see several groups arrive wearing runners (like these, not these), jeans and very inadequate looking bags.

The way back down was nice and quick – we got to see a proposal! There were also a few groups that looked to be planning to stay the night. We picked up part of a broken trekking pole, a water bottle and lots of pieces of wrappers on our way back to the car. Overall it took us just over 6 hours – pretty decent for 18km, about half of which was on snow and including a 30 min break at the lake.