Forbidden Plateau / Carey Lakes, 1966

–submitted by Bill Jackson

This will surely be the most inaccurate trip report in club history, given 54 years of opportunities for memory to change things. It was my second trip with the Ramblers, I think. The first would have been Arrowsmith, which at that time was an overnighter from Cameron Lake.

Dates and number of participants are made up. I know that John and Doreen Cowlin were along, and Syd Watts. It was August of 1966, and I remember it as being 2 weeks but given the enhancing effect of memory, it may have been one week. It certainly was memorable, especially considering how close I came to dying from hypothermia.

Gear: Trapper Nelson pack frame with the big canvas bag.  The sleeping bag was a wool-filled bag that my family used for summer car camping.  Couldn’t afford a tent, so used a sheet of plastic and some rope. Rain gear was a poncho. Probably an old pair of wool dress pants ( serviceable outdoor gear by the way, and very quiet, if a bit lacking in current style). Boots had some sort of flat cord soles.  Couldn’t afford Vibram. Food included a lot of Minute Rice and Kraft Dinner.  Total weight about 50 lbs.

We went up via Cruikshank Canyon and spent a few days exploring a Forbidden Plateau almost empty of people.  It wasn’t part of the park at that time, and of course that was before the ski lodge was built.  We met up briefly with a couple of other Rambler members; I think one was Ron Facer.  (Another tidbit of memory, Ron used to sometimes carry a couple of rocks for exercise, as if the gear of that era was too light.) And I met one person on the trail to Moat Lake when I went there for a look on my own. That was it for crowds.
We went up Albert Edward and King George V (man, it’s painful that all my photos are long gone) and then on towards Lakes Beautiful. Those lakes are well named. In one spot, the geography gave the impression that the water was flowing uphill.

On the second to last night, it rained fairly hard. I mentioned earlier that my “tent” was a sheet of plastic.  There was another person whose pup tent leaked.  Doug, from the military base in Comox.  Early in the trip, Doug and I had combined our resources, with my plastic as a flyover his tent. He had an air mattress, I just stuffed my spare clothes under my bag. (imagine packing a beach-style air mattress on a trip like that? But the fancy-dancy stuff wasn’t out yet).  During the night, the water gradually came in.  Apparently we were set up in a hollow.  It was cold enough at night for ice to form, and I was completely unaware of the danger.  I just knew that it was less cold when i stayed still than when I moved.  A couple of “Hey, I’m cold”, answered by “Mmm” until Doug finally flopped his hand down into the water.

“@#%^” or words to that effect.
Doug got a fire going in the drenching rain, someone collected dry clothes for me and gave me something hot to drink.  Since my wool sleeping bag was obviously not usable, the last night was spent crouched under my poncho, waking up often enough to throw more wood on the fire and have a drink of hot jello.  A more dangerous situation than I realized at that age, but no damage done.  My pack was considerably heavier on the way down, though.

OK, this isn’t a proper trip report, but I hope people find it entertaining. If someone has the actual trip report, it would be interesting to know how far my memory has deviated from reality in all those years.  Also, if anybody knows who / where Doug from Comox Air Base is, I’d like to thank the guy who gave me more than an extra half-century of life.

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