Organizing a Beginner Friendly (B.F.) Trip

These comments refer to the Brew Hut trip of 2012 October 27, but they apply to other trips.  Hopefully we will get more B.F. trips.

Choosing a destination:  Go to somewhere you know.  You are less likely to all get lost.  B.F. people do not thrive on uncertainty.  And you will probably have several stories from previous trips, to entertain them with.  I have been to Brew numerous times, both when it was Brew II, and as it is now.

Purpose: If you can come up with an explanation as to why you want to go there, that’s good.  We wanted to see if we could still drive the logging road, if the recent logging in the clearcut had been cleaned up, if we could still find the start of the trail, if the snow in the meadows required snowshoes, what Australians do when you put them in snow, and so on.  Some people wanted to see the Hut, because they had never been up there.  Some wanted to do a hike because soon there would be too much snow.  We didn’t go for the scenery; there was no scenery this time.

Timing: Post the trip early.  Some people do plan ahead and we don’t want to discourage these people.  People who go on B.F. trips need more time to get organized, borrow sleeping bags, find boots, etc.  Unfortunately this means you don’t get to take advantage of late-breaking weather news.  Don’t change things too much.  Once you post something, it’s best to not change it.
Within 12 hours of posting this trip, I had a raging sore throat and a full-on cold, and the weather forecast was saying that Sunday’s weather would be better than Saturday’s.  A group emailing confirmed that moving the whole thing to Sunday, wouldn’t work for most of us.  So it had to be Saturday, with two cm of rain forecast, and a freezing level of 1200m.

Reasonable: Try and do mostly reasonable things, or if you are planning something unreasonable or stupid, at least let the others know.
This was a day trip, so ten km of trail, total, is a reasonable distance to walk at this time of the year.  To get to the trail required driving 8 km of logging road.  If the 8 kms road was full of snow, or otherwise not driveable, we would not be happy to add sixteen km to the ten which we had planned. So I explained that if this trip couldn’t be performed as planned, we’d do something else.

Personnel:  With a lot of unknowns, it’s good to have a few sturdy people along, just in case things go bad.  Fortunately we had these.  You know who you are.

Transportation: Most of our Adventures require private transportation, people with cars.  If you already have a car, at least YOU have a ride.  Choose passengers for your car with the following characteristics:
– Committed; they know they want to come and they won’t bail on you.  Get them to email you and ask for a ride. asap.
– Nearby; they live near where you live or you spend an extra hour at each end of the trip picking them up and taking them home.  Getting them to the nearest public transit is an alternative.

I don’t know why my car always gets filled with Attractive Young Ladies, but I have no problem with that.
Get a competent backup driver if you need one.  The drive home is the most dangerous part of the trip.
Start driving early.  That’s better than getting back after dark. By the end of October, the days are getting inconveniently short.
I left my house at 06:20 in the dark, and I got back home at 20:00 in the dark, which is a pretty long day. But the hiking was 10 am to 6 pm, all daylight, less an hour spent at the Hut.


So how did it all work out?

As usual, one person couldn’t manage to get up in time to cross the Lions Gate Bridge at 7 am, but he told his driver, so we left him behind.
We got some last-minute people joining, but that worked out OK because they had a car.  So total, 11 people.
A couple of people phoned Friday evening but by then we had no rides to offer.  Hopefully next time they will let us know a little earlier in the week if they want to participate.
The Tim Horton’s faff was skillfully done, with all cars arriving before the target arrival time.  Nobody missed the turnoff to the Roe-Chance logging road network.
The logging roads were all free of snow and no logging was happening, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves.
Sorting out the new logging roads was a minor chore, because two ATV’s of hunters (?) were parked in the middle of the road we wanted, and they told us that the road went nowhere, but we are smart enough to not listen to hunters on ATV’s.  Our jeep made it up to the markers we had placed on the September work hike, no problem, and we set off around 10:00, after leaving the snowshoes in the car.

The weather was as expected, or maybe better, because it snowed steadily, all day.  Nobody wore jeans.  Rain jackets seemed to work.  Trail was easy for me to follow, but maybe we could use some more trail markers in a few places.  Some of the ski bridges are collapsing.  Around 1.7 km from the Hut we switched to instrument navigation because we couldn’t see anything.  I have finally figured out how to use the GPS efficiently.  Gave a lesson on GPS usage.


Arriving at the Hut we found one window wide open.  Initially we thought that this was just due to our urban population being dumber than we realized, but it might be more complicated.  It seems the window closure apparatus was iced up badly and the wood window frame was broken.  Looks like we’d better replace yet another wood window with a vinyl window.  We hammered the window shut to keep out snow and cleaned up a bit of snow that had blown in.  Soon we had to head down, to avoid arriving at the cars after dark.

Everybody seemed happy with the trip, and I don’t think they were just being polite.  And for a couple more weeks it should be possible to do “just boots”.

People were talking of learning to ski, and perhaps a trip or three to Red Heather Meadows will be available for these keeners.

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