Mike Cancilla suggested a trip to the Howe Sound Crest (HSC) trail, considered by many to be the most pristine trail running and overnight hiking near metro Vancouver. Many people signed up — probably too many for one crew — so we split into two. Half of us went North to South, and the other half South to North. The Southern end has no water, so the Southern crew adopted the name Team Carrywater. The Northern team had water on the first day, but with 800m more elevation to climb than the other team, we Southbounders adopted the name Team Slog, and slog we did.
We finished this hike in two days. The two teams met at the end of the first day to camp together in a meadow, ponder wonders of the galaxy on the eve of the summer solstice, and drink questionable abandoned hut whiskey.
On the first day, Team Slog swam in lakes, scrambled peaks, and became intimately aware of the difference between static and dynamic stretching, thanks to an explicit and unforgettable demonstration from Dan.
On the second day, most of Team Slog became so dehydrated that they appeared to consider drinking the blood of their teammates.This didn’t happen. Way to hang in there, ladies and gents.
Here’s Team Slog at the Northern trail head. Look at those smiles!
We came across some beautiful swimming lakes on the first day.
This one was particularly stunning.
James could not contain himself.
After swimming, some of the crew scrambled Mt. Brunswick without difficulty, and we were all smiles when we made it to Magnesia meadows and met Team Carrywater. By all reports, Mt. Brunswick was a blast and quite exposed in moments.
The two teams joined forces for a scramble up Mt. Harvey.
We greeted the night with sketchy unclaimed whiskey from the hut and requests to mountain gods for an alpine hot tub.
We were not granted a hot tub. However, we did see plenty of shooting stars and a great view of the planets.
Eventually we all decided it was time for bed, and we said goodbye/goodnight/good luck to Team Carrywater. Their tomorrow would be easy, and ours would not.
We got a super faffy late start in typical fashion. We hiked up talus, down scree, through forests, and along brush-covered hillsides. The southern end of the trail has a very wide variety of terrain. The day was hot, the sky was crystal clear, and the lions looked beautiful.
Martin, Dan, and I scrambled West Lion while the others continued on. This scramble was excellent, with enough exposure to keep you on your toes. It’s a long way down.
By the time we three had bagged West Lion and caught back up to the group, they were all starting to run out of water. The first to run dry was James. Koby, out of the kindness of his heart, gave James what little water he had left, ensuring their mutual dehydration and misery. From this point onward, Team Slog’s composure only broke down further and further. The rest of Team Slog started running out of water, with 6-8km of difficult hiking left. Type II fun ensued, but for those of us with enough energy left to look up, the views of the North shore’s peaks and Howe Sound continued to awe.
Eventually, Team Slog’s legitimate photographers, Koby and Ian, got too dehydrated to take pictures. Here’s the last one I have, captured on my phone near Mt. Unnecessary.
All-in-all, this trip was unforgettable. Thank you all for making our V.O.C. so beautiful, and when in doubt, carry extra water!
I’ll close with James’ wonderful video:
Till next time!
Photo/Video credit: Ian Johnston, Koby Michaels, and James Webster