Monday, August 01, 2005

Hiking Challenges!

It has been a glorious holiday weekend here on the west coast. Hot sunny days and warm evenings. My daughters and I had the weekend off and decided to make it a hiking weekend. We started by hiking 10K around Bunsen Lake after work on a warm Friday evening. The Buntzen lake trail alternately winds along the lake side and up the hillside. The views are spectacular. The first part of the trial is the most challenging and leads to a small sandy beach. The second part of the trail is not so demanding and leads you back to the main beach and the parking area. While it is not that challenging a hike it is tiring if you are not used to it and none of us had done this trail in over two years. We were expecting the hike to take us about 3 hours and were pleased with ourselves when we finished it in just under 2 1/2 hours and still has some energy to spare. Lucy enjoyed every minute of it only sulking when I put her on the leash around the cliffs for her safety.
Saturday we plotted our next hiking trip over a couple of martini's and a bottle of wine. Buoyed by our success at Buntzen Lake, (the drinks didn't hurt any either) we decided to do the Campbell Lake trail at Harrison. The trail is described on Harrison's web site as "Harrison's answer to the Grouse Grind". "A real cardio-vascular work out". It went on to say that it was a 10K round trip on an unmaintained trail with a nice little trout lake at the top. The lake was the clincher. We all fancied ourselves having a nice lunch and a dip in that lake after our climb. Sunday the weather office had predicted that we would get a bit of a shower and that is always good on a long hike. However, the sun was bright and hot on Sunday morning and showed no signs of letting up. We arrived at the hike not long after 11 am and were a little disconcerted by how steep and rocky the trail was, but bravely encouraging each other we started our ascent into what was to become the hiking trail from hell. The path rose straight up with barely a break and was nothing but rocks and in some places the rocks were wet and slippery. The temperature rose as fast as we did and with sun beating down on those rocks we were slowly cooking. Before long even Lucy had decided she should have stayed home. By 1:00 pm, exhausted,we had at least gotten to the forest at the top. Inside the forest was green and lush and quiet. We sat inside a canopy of trees and had our snack and let the breeze cool us. Thinking that the promised lake was now only a short climb through the woods we set off in a good mood thinking we had beaten this hike. Almost an hour later were soon to be disappointed. The trail seemed to wind on uphill endlessly. We crossed old rotting wooden bridges and stair cases only to arrive at a bridge that was for me impassable. It was tilted on it's side with only one guard rail in place and two of us refused to cross putting an end to our quest for the lake. We could have gone around the bridge, but we all reluctantly agreed that we were too tired and over heated to try and forge a new trail around it. Eeven Lucy was showing signs of exhaustion. Disappointed we turned back. Our descent did not take as long as our ascent, but was just as treacherous in places. The wet rocks hard to climb when going up hill became lethal downhill and at one point I landed on my butt hitting my elbow on rocks and my daughter came tumbling down beside me. Fortunately the damage was mild and we all arrived exhausted, over heated and tired at the car at 3:00 pm. Today, looking at the pictures, I can hardly believe just how high we climbed on one of the hottest days of the summer. The fact that we did not make our main objective, the lake, means little. The fact that we met the challenges of the worst of the hike is quite an accomplishment for a bunch of weekend hikers.

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