On Saturday morning, Adam, my brother Chris and I packed up and headed out to Golden Ears provincial park. We each had a pack full of tents/sleeping bags/a change of clothes/a sleeping pad, we were carrying 7 litres of water, and our plan was to take the West Canyon Trail up to Alder flats and then perhaps head up the Golden Ears trail to Panorama Ridge, and possibly even the peak if our water held out.
Just for point of reference, here is a picture I took a couple of years ago of the mountains in question.
The trail we took brings you out behind the far right peak of that mountain, as far as we could tell.
We parked the car at about the 500 foot level, according to the altimeter Adam borrowed from his work. From there, the trail started off with gentle uphill slope. This lasted perhaps two kilometres, before the trail became more like a loose-rock streambed and the incline got steeper. A couple of more kilometres were along this type of trail, which then became extremely steep (uphill scramble with heavy packs on kind of steep) and covered in dead treefalls. Large, dead treefalls. It continuned on like that for a while, too.
After about 5 1/2 km we got to Alder Flats, where we set up camp. A dry streambed became a stream as we watched. Tiny bugs that didn’t seem to bite us at all, but swarmed us and flew into our eyes, our ears, our noses, our mouths, and generally drove us completely insane, kept the three of us ensconced in one of the two very small tents we brought.
Speaking of tents – Adam had borrowed one from his work for Chris to use. As it turns out, whoever had borrowed it last forgot to put the tentpoles back in the bag. I got to watch Adam and Chris go all boyscout and search out appropriate branches to use as tentpoles for the tent. It was highly entertaining, and I naturally took photos. Chris’ tent ended up being more like a bivvy sack than a tent… it was about two inches above his face when he lay down inside it. We were amused.
We spent the night at Alder flats. The next morning we got up and started the climb for the peak. Looking at our water supplies, and judging by the extreme heat we were dealing with (plus our own exhaustion from the climb the day before) we turned back after a kilometre and a half and headed back down to pack up our gear for the trek home. We were not meant to summit, and we accepted that. Our highest altitude on the trip turned out to be 2300 feet – all but 500 feet accomplished on foot. Hooray for feet!
The hike back down the very steep trail was almost more difficult than the hike up, but in different ways. My ankles were not pleased with me, but I think I only fell three times, which is pretty good. The hiking poles we were using turned out to be a fantastic help. I should really buy some.
We made it back down the trail, running out of water right at the end. Never had we been so happy to see Huffy waiting for us in the parking lot.
It was a good couple of days. I will post photos as soon as I have the chance to edit them.