The logistics of this trip demand vehicle shuttles or two groups, each starting at opposite ends. With John Young leading (and planning) it is a simple task to co-lead from the opposite end.
With our trip planned to start at the Wood Mountain trail head and John’s trip to start at the Mt Washington trail head all participants met at Piercy Road at 08.00 for a vehicle swap – a great plan by John as it put each of our respective vehicles at the place where we would end the day.
A quick drive to the TH and we were off by 08.40. The direct route up from the parking lot through the old ski hill area is a fine, and hearth thumping, way to “warm up”. There was some good natured commentary about how much longer it would take John’s group to warm up on the flatter Paradise Meadows trails but we looked forward to end with a good leg stretch on kind trails.
John Young led the August rendition of the Augerpoint traverse, but as there were so many people interested, Greg Deabler, a very experienced mountaineer and fairly new Rambler member, was recruited to put on another trip in September. After cancellations and injuries, the group was down to six, but what a fine mix of six were we!
Planned as a do-over of an unsuccessful trip in 2018 this trip filled up quickly when posted on the schedule. By the time the week of the trip arrived the group reduced to just Gord and I. Leaving Nanaimo at 06.30 on Saturday we arrived at the trailhead at 09.00 and were set up in the lower meadows 3-1/2 hours later.
Why the Hinde(less) you ask? Because we didn’t summit the Golden Hinde, which, for most people, would be the primary objective of this trek. For me, and for most of my group, it wasn’t a big disappointment, because for us it was about the journey, not just about bagging the highest peak on Vancouver Island.
We were two groups of four, with the other group canoeing over Buttle Lake before traversing across Marble Meadows and then to the Hinde, attempting it on the 21st. Aftrer coming within 200 meters of the top, they turned back due to hazardous snow conditions. My group hiked up the Elk River Trail to Elk Pass and then across to the Golden Hinde, making it to the South Tarn at the base of the mountain on July 21. Our hopes of a summit attempt on the 22nd, however, were dashed when we heard from the other group (via our inReach satellite communication) of their aborted attempt. To be honest, though, I’m not disappointed. I was tired, and climbing the mountain (which I had bagged in 1998) and then having an arduous 3-day hike to Buttle Lake before the short canoe back to my truck wasn’t appealing. And frankly, I don’t have the confidence on steep pitches, especially snow, that I once had.
What a difference a year makes! Last year when we hiked this trail, we saw nary a soul past Mount Albert Edward, but this year we met more than 20 others. One big group of about 20, a group of 3, a solo man and his dog, and two runners completing it in a day. The trail is also much better defined than it was just last year – a well-worn tread with many cairns leads the way. Although it is popular and pleasant, it’s far from a “walk in the park,” as over it’s 30 km it gains 2150 m and loses 3000 m. Lots of ups and downs! Since we started from Mt. Washington’s Raven Lodge with an elevation of 1100 m., we had an overall elevation loss of 850 m.
We started off with a stroll through Paradise Meadows
In the fall I posted a July trip to the Hinde. Greg Deabler offered to co-lead, which made the thing possible. Even with that much lead time, and even if Covid hadn’t interrupted hiking, I’d have trouble preparing to lead that serious a trip. Later a suggestion was made to change the plan to a traverse. John Young would lead a traverse from Elk River to Buttle Lake, ascending the Hinde along the way, and our group would do the same in the other direction. We conferred with those who were down for the trip that was originally planned and the decision was a “go”.
As it turned out, we didn’t complete our objectives but it was a great time in the mountains.
With cooler temperatures and light drizzle in the forecast four of us gathered at the “old Forbidden Plateau Ski hill” trailhead under overcast skies. After a few minutes spent catching up and discussing the day’s plan we headed downhill, replete with the expected commentary about starting a hike downhill, to pick up the trail to Boston Creek.
On Saturday, March 14, I led a small group on a snowshoe trip to Lake Helen Mackenzie. It was two families, me with my two children, and Jes with his son Trace. It was Hemingway’s first-time wearing snowshoes to walk, even though the conditions didn’t require it. We had very sunny conditions but cold air that kept the snow very dry and the sky clear.