–submitted by Ken Warren
The forecast was quite grim for New Year’s Day. It called for overnight snow, light snow in the morning, and wind increasing throughout the day. Well there was no overnight snow which made access to the trailhead possible, it wasn’t snowing when we set out, and the wind and temperature were reasonable.
We spiked up in the parking lot and set off on the well packed trail taking the most direct route up. The final approach from the northwest was slippery with loose snow and we were grateful for the ropes. The snow on the trees, and ice on the rocks were beautiful and occasional views of snow covered Nanaimo and islands made this a unique hike.
Summiting was quite an ordeal as the winds were very strong and the temperature very cold. We trickled across the summit stopping for some photographs and struggling to find the path.
We descended on the southeast side then took Jim’s trail to Gordie’s trail where we stopped for a snack and a break. On our descent we ran into quite a few hikers coming up, otherwise it was a slippery and uneventful out.
The memorable part for me will be the snow covered trees, the biting wind at the summit, and another year started in the company of some of my favourite people. Happy New Year and happy trails to all.
The Hordelski is an annual event. The club –attempts– the summit of Mount Benson on January 1st in honour of former club executive member Mike Hordelski.