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Shuttle expands services in qathet region

Fresh food on the trail is a treat for hikers

For groups of travellers to the Upper Sunshine Coast, having a way to get to some trails might be tricky if they have limited access to a vehicle.

That’s where the shuttle service offered by Jesse Newman and his team comes in handy. Although Sunshine Coast Shuttle already has a transport truck for smaller groups, the company recently acquired a 21-person passenger bus for hikers, weddings, dinner parties and anything else that requires transport. 

“I started the test phase of the idea in the fall of 2016; we realized it was a needed service,” said Newman. “We can take hikers to the Sunshine Coast Trail (SCT) and recently started a mountain bike service to Mount Mahoney.” 

The shuttle recently transported a group from Outward Bound [a charity that offers youth outdoor opportunities] out to do a kayak tour with one of the local guide/kayak companies. 

“Originally we wanted to offer remote catering services,” said Newman.

A seemingly great idea since the “glamping” [pre-COVID-19] trend had become increasingly popular among those who are curious to spend time outdoors, but not necessarily wanting to pack everything on their backs. Unfortunately, this idea is on the backburner for now, but Newman is far from short of new ideas or opportunities. The shuttle service is launching a partnership with local food grower Gathered Farm and Florals. 

“A lot of time hikers only have dehydrated food so it’s kind of a treat for them to get real food,” said Newman. “Everything tastes good on the trail, but it could be better.”

Multi-day hikers try to keep their packs as comfortable as possible, and one way to lighten the load is to only bring food that is easy to store and won’t go bad. Hikers can now order from the farm and have fresh, locally grown food transported to a trailhead or drop-off point.

“We can go anywhere now,” said Newman. 

With an acquired radio permit, drivers can take logging roads safely during the weekdays, when people would usually have to wait for the weekend when the roads aren’t active. That means remote areas are accessible, for those who want to try more rugged terrain.

“Sometimes we go to Emma Lake, and we have gone all the way to Eldred Valley,” said Newman.

The west coast of BC has seen record heat waves and wildfires in recent years, causing smoke to engulf the qathet region [although most of the smoke doesn’t originate here]. This trend isn’t great for people wanting to enjoy the outdoors.

“We hope we don’t have to deal with bad air quality like we did a couple years ago,“ said Newman. “It’s one thing to battle normal environmental conditions, but another if you are hiking Tin Hat Mountain with a 360-degree view, and it’s smoky.”

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