In preparation for our 2021 GDT hike with Toothless, we decided to do a shakedown hike on the SCT. Initially we planned a yoyo of the SCT, but due to COVID19 restrictions, and us being a little behind figuring out our sleep system, we weren’t left with enough time to do the SCT yoyo as planned.
We only had about 6 days available to hike the SCT, so we adjusted our plans.
We didn’t want to hike thru, since that would require a ride to coordinate. Instead we opted to hike in for three days then hike back to our car.
We opted to do a mini circuit on the SCT to shakedown our gear systems and get a handle on our routines. It will be Toothless’ first multiday hike; we have only done an overnight backpacking trip with him and day hikes so far. We decided to start in Powell River and hike South. We picked a route that would give us a good cross section of elevation gain, loss, road walking and good trail.
We had driven to Powell River the previous day and stayed overnight in a hotel. On the morning of Day 1, we woke early and got Toothless dressed, fed and our gear all packed up. We ate a continental breakfast and drove about 5-10 minutes to our trailhead.
We started hiking South on the SCT at Mowat Bay 8:10am. The sun was out and we confidently started on our hike.
The hike was hard at first! I (Kyle) had started out carrying Toothless who immediately fell asleep and was dead weight. His head pulls back on his nap hood which pulls on your shoulders and is quite painful.
Almost immediately we started going up hill, with cold legs, with Toothless hanging with his head back sleeping. This was hard on the shoulders and a bit hot.
I needed to adjust hip belt to take more weight and getting the shoulder straps right was key. I learnt quickly that it would be more comfortable if the carrier hood was a little tighter so Toothless head would be more vertical. Unfortunately the hood can’t go any tighter so making it tighter would require modification of we would need to attach it somewhere different. This would cause him to pull back on the shoulders less and would put more weight on the hip belt.
We arrived at the Haywire Bay Regional Park campground at around 10:30am. We took an unused campsite picnic table and fed Toothless, washed diapers, used the outhouse and disposed of some food wrapper trash.
The sun was coming out and it was beautiful. Toothless took advantage of the nice campsite to crawl around. He was having a great time!
Natasha then took a turn carrying him for a bit. She also started getting uncomfortable and pains in her shoulders.
Natasha then went through the routine of adjusting the pack and carrier. She agreed that more weight on hips helped.
Despite our discomfort, Toothless was having a blast. He was napping, looking at stuff, babbling away.
We arrived at Inland Lake Park and campground at about 12:30 and had lunch. We initially planned to camp here but felt like it would be a lost opportunity to finish so early. We decided to push on to Confederation Lake and camp in the cabin if necessary.
We went up the steep trail to Confederation Lake. I carried Toothless most of the way up. Near the end I was getting tired but mostly a bit sore. Toothless started having teething pains, which made him uncomfortable and unable to enjoy himself. Hard plastic (his rattle) seemed to help soothe him the most. I did my best to engage him and distract him from his discomfort, but when he’s in pain like this there’s not much more you can do unless you give him medication. We don’t give him Infant Tylenol too frequently but when we do we opt to try to hold off until bedtime so it works while he sleeps and he can get some sleep at night.
After a while his teething smoothed out but he clearly was getting tired of being carried. He was engaged with his environment and liked playing but would get vocal when we would move. This was approaching the Confederation Lake cabin. Thankfully got there quickly and managed toothless by stopping often and showing him things to look at.
We got to the cabin and another couple was there. They took the floor of the old cabin, which acts as a tent pad and gave us the cabin.
We made dinner outside by the lake. Dinner was a bust. We tried a premade dahl. He likes dahl normally but he refused to eat any of it. He then ate some food out of his baby food pouch but not much. He was impatient to spend time crawling and standing.
The cabin was nice and after sweeping and cleaning it up it was a good spot to spend the night. We all slept very well.