Wednesday August 16, 2017
Mile 2650.5 –  Mile 2658.7
8 miles (12.8 km)

Initially I thought of hiking from the monument all the way to Manning Park and trying to get on the 2am bus to Vancouver the same evening. But I remembered Hammer telling me that the trail to Manning Park  was a bit rough in parts and I would be finishing well after dark. So I convinced myself to camp and hike to MP in the morning. The first campsite was just after the monument and there is another about 3.5 miles further. Both are large well established sites with a bear locker/food cache area and a toilet. I really don’t like camping at these types of sites because they get a lot of use and are more likely to attract unwanted animal behavour.  But I had little choice now that I decided to stay. I was the only camper and I decided not to use the bear locker as it was too far away from where I was camped. My food is stored in an odour proof bag which I keep in my pack in the tent covered with my  smelly clothes. I was set up and in bed by 7pm.  I soon fell asleep only to be woken up soon after 9pm by heavy stomping and rustling not far from my tent. I woke up so suddenly,  my heart was racing…I thought this is it, my luck with keeping food in the tent has run out. I calmed myself with the thought that it was probably a deer. But the stomping sounded just too heavy.   I made noise in the tent. I wish I could say it was loud and confident, it was more like thin and rhaspy.  But it worked, the stomping outside stopped. I was calmer by now resigned to whatever may happen. I opened the rainfly and turned on the torch. Nothing out here at all. I left the fly open and lay back in the dark listening for further sounds. Nothing came back except my imagination playing tricks.  I slept fitfully till about 3.30am. I got up made coffee, had it quickly and was packed and on my way in the dark through the forest.
The early parts of the trail were a bit rough in parts particularly around the numerous creeks. I reached the second campsite which was just like the one at which I stayed. The sun was up by now and in an opening in the forest I could see the sky was streaked in bands of pink.

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Soon after this campspot the trail joined a dirt road and I stayed on this till almost the end. This second half of the trail to Manning Park would have been easy to hike in the dark. I so wished I had continued last night. I’d possibly be in Vancouver by now.

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I got to Manning Park Lodge just before 9am – it seemed busy already. I got breakfast at the restaurant and then saw the Lodge staff about booking the bus. The women working at reception was so helpful making the bus booking and printing the ticket for me. She also gave me a complimentary pool pass to have a shower. It was so nice to dive in the pool before any guest arrived and then have a hot shower.  Feeling almost human,  now I just have to wait 16 hours till the bus arrives.

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The complimentary WiFi is frustratingly slow to do anything meaningful, so no blog update was possible  despite hours of twiddling my thumbs. I read a book in the Lodge lobby, went over had lunch in the restaurant and read some more. There were three other hikers, two of whom I met at Stehikin.  The staff let us sleep in the lobby, on the lounges till the bus arrived at 2am.

Getting on the bus was a not so nice. People were asleep and reluctant to move to make room. The smell of so many people stuck in such a small space was overwhelming.   I did get a seat and nodded on and off till we arrived in Vancouver at 6am.