Thoughts and Tips
To hike or not to hike...
It is so much easier just to pay for the water taxi up and down the lake and mountain bike the 22km along the Pitt River FSR to the springs. You can also canoe the lake but do some reading about the dangers, especially the afternoon winds. The grunt of a hike from Crawford Creek can seem like a lot more effort than necessary with these other options knowingly available.
If you insist on hiking it, leave a car at Grant Narrows and then get someone to shuttle you out to the Crawford Creek start point. We left a truck at Crawford and then drove back out to get it at the end of the last trip. Still, the extra five hours spent collecting the truck was nothing considering the extra time you can then spend at the springs. We actually left earlier than necessary - you can walk from the springs to North End dock in 4-5 hours.
Either way, arrange the water taxi BEFORE you go. There's no cell coverage anywhere in the area. Pitt River Lodge is a private resort and guests are paying for peace and privacy. Don't just show up and ask to use their radio because you didn't pre-plan a way out (they don't run the water taxi). I'm trying to track down the name/number for the jetboat guy and will post it here when I find it.
* There are other people living in the area and you'll likely get passed by various cars along the road so it's not like your completely alone out there if things go wrong. You're just mostly on your own.
Where to camp...
If you attempt the hike there are a couple good places to camp at the end of Day 1.
1. Just as you reach the swamp in the Steve Creek Valley, head to the right (south), cross the creek, and head a few hundred metres into the swamp. You'll find a large flat open area. The rule about keeping left when hiking forward still applies so backtrack before heading on.
2. Ideally you will make it farther on Day 1, at least to the old logging roads. The first leg of the road is the flattest so camping just beyond one of the creeks you'll cross is probably the best option along the whole hike, but there are others. Even if you're tired hike at least to Steve Creek which is very close.
Tip: Camp on the far side of whatever creek you camp at.
3. If you are super fit, start very early, weather cooperates, and the bush doesn't slow you down, you could make it to the springs in a day. Trouble is the options for camping around there are limited. There is one small site big enough for one large tent along the path to the springs. It is dry under the bridge but evidence shows this area may get used as a toilet sometimes. Also keep in mind this is an active logging area so don't even think about camping on the road. Another option would be the clearcut just before the bridge (which looked messy but maybe there's something there) or to hike downriver a bit and see what you can find.
What to drink...
Water, of course. In any season you will be meeting and crossing tons of creeks along the way and likely never want for water. One bladder or big nalgene should be all you need. The basic rules apply - bring a filter or treatment. One of us learnt this the hard way. It was funny for the rest of us but what comes around goes around. So I guess what's coming around at some point is the shits.
There are lots of them in the area and you will encounter tons of scat along the logging roads. We saw black bears on every trip, and at every stage, and also saw a young grizzly in the pass once. Be bear smart at all times and for sure cache your food. Bear deterrents are a personal choice but know that you will be passing through Provincial Park Land so no guns. Make noise as you hike the Crawford Creek Main if it's hunting season.
No matter what sign you are the weather can turn really quickly. Regardless of the Squamish forecast, be prepared for rain and cold at any time of year. Bring tarps, rain-gear etc. just in case. Remember, our first three attempts failed. One and two due to time, the third was due to weather.
No category stuff...
Gaiters are useful when there's snow, and twice as useful when there's not as the ground brush will shred your shins if they're exposed. Also, the early summer snow is quite packed in the pass and firm to walk on. I doubt snowshoes ever would have been necessary, or worth their weight.