Executive Summary We (8 of us) arrived at the trail head Thursday evening so as to avoid logging trucks. We spent Friday at the hot springs and because the long weekend had not started yet, they were all ours. Saturday we went to the hut and spent the night. Sunday we trudged back to the car and camped at a ninja campsite near Whistler. Monday we drove home.
Long Version We camped at the trail head, and found to our surprise that empty logging trucks went by our tents at 4am. There was daylight by 6am. About then, a full logging truck was heading down past our tents. On the trail, we made up several songs that we could sing to scare away the bears, but unfortunately I don’t remember the words (something about “plaid”). Arriving at the hot springs, there seemed to be some confusion regarding the appropriate use of hot springs, ie whether to go in nude, but fortunately another VOC party of four arrived around dinner time and showed us how to do it.
Saturday we headed up to the hut with our overnight gear. It was quite a zoo at the hut, with three VOC parties, plus the Russians and the “gang of six” who were tenting. Apparently the previous weekend a stag party of ten had helicoptered in. A group of about five elderly Russians and Artem arrived and entertained themselves by drinking vodka, eating mushrooms that they had picked, and telling jokes in Russian. When they invited me to join them I explained that a lot of people in the hut were trying to sleep, so maybe the Russian party was not appropriate, so they shut their party down and returned to their tents. Guess I’m a party-pooper.
Sunday dawned with bluebird sky, frost on the ground, and fresh snow on Mt Frozen Boot. The Mt Overseer party set out early but had doubts about the fresh snow (they made it ok). We left around 9:30 to head back to the cars and home. On the way out, one of us somehow damaged his knee so we ended up carrying most of his stuff in addition to our own, so we travelled slow and rested often. We encountered a black bear, but we sang our song and the bear went away. Near Pemberton we saw a huge bull elk standing beside the road. We got to Pemberton just as the pizza place closed, so we hit up Macdonald’s. We couldn’t find our usual ninja campsite in the dark, but we found another one just as good, “Camp Paint-ball”, near the Wedgemont Lake trail.
Conclusion We achieved our objectives, visiting both the hot spring and the hut, dealt with an injury, avoided the logging, and somewhat avoided the crowds. The people on the trip were happy. If I had to choose between the hut and the hot spring, it would be a difficult choice. But going mid-week and avoiding the crowds, seems the way to go.