Day-trip to Mt. (Cassandra) Elphinstone

When I woke up on Saturday morning to a clear, blue sky I knew that it was going to be a great day. I had been on the Sunshine Coast many times before but I had never even heard of Mt. Elphinstone before it was announced on the trip agenda. As an avid local hiker, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass out on. My boyfriend and I made it to the Horseshoe Bay terminal at 9 am for the 9:20 ferry where we met everyone for the first time (thank god for cell phones!). On the ferry ride, we spent most of our time on the deck where we got a great view of Howe Sound and all the respective islands. The ferry ride was short-live but it gave us enough time to build our excitement for the coming hike.

When we got into Langdale, it was time to walk off the ferry to the trailhead. After a short, uphill walk on a road, we made it to the beginning of the trail. The first part consisted of a flat walk through an alder forest until we made it to the mountain biking trails. Fortunately as we were walking up, no mountain bikes were going down at the same time. There was a quick transition into a beautiful old-growth trail of douglas-firs, hemlocks and red cedars. This is when the trail started inclining and our ascent up the mountain began. Lots of variation on the trail’s scenery and crossing some creeks definitely kept things interesting while we were sweating uphill. Once we got to 3/4 of the way up (according to an enthusiastic hiker on his way down) we came to a beautiful clearing. The most magnificent thing was seeing four bald eagles circling overhead. With lifted spirits and achy legs, we set out to finish the last quarter. Upon nearing the top, there were a couple of false summits where the trail kept going. On the second last summit, we got an amazing view of Howe Sound but I wasn’t yet satisfied to dig in to my lunch so we pressed on for five minutes more and finally made it to the top. Finally done, we plopped our bums on the available helicopter landing pad and dug in to our sandwiches and brandy while we waited for the others. We made it to the top around 2:00 (4 hours from the start) while the other group got up around 2:30. Reid (my hero!) hauled up two growlers of beer and we all dug in to our epic mountain pot luck. I don’t even want to know how much food I ate. We took a couple of great pictures and decided to head down at 3:30 to make the 6:30 ferry after much faffing around at the top. Some of us literally ran down the mountain in order to get to the ferry on time. Unfortunately, this proved futile as the last part of the trail seemed ENDLESS. 3 km really makes a large difference when you’re trying to get somewhere. If you’ve played super mario 64 and ran up Bowser’s never ending staircase, that is what the last part of the hike felt like. We made it to the trail head at 6:20 and we decided that the 6:30 ferry was a lost cause and waited for the others to come down. At this time, it started to get dark when everyone was back together and we decided to get to the ferry terminal and wait for the 8:20 ferry.When we got back to Vancouver, some of us decided to go for a beer at the Lennox Pub before going home and flopping on our respective beds. One of my highlights of the day was definitely getting pizza after holding out from food on the ferry. I guess the hike was okay too, though ;)

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