Rejection: So the first task was to get some passengers. We didn’t actually need passengers, but as Carla and I were going anyway, it seemed a good idea to get passengers. We thought we were doing pretty well with Cassandra and Gwen, but then Cassandra got sick, and Gwen decided to climb another mountain instead. At the last minute we got Anna, which was pretty good. She drove in from Delta to our house and we took her from there. You have to get used to rejection, or otherwise nothing gets done.
The Plan: We wanted to hike up to the top of Strachan. As there was no snow at all on that side of the resort, we figured we wouldn’t be inconveniencing any of the resort’s paying customers. So we parked beside the toilets, as is our custom, and there we found a bewildering array of signs. I’ll just briefly review the content of the signs. It seems they don’t much like hikers. Hikers were not to go on the parts of the mountain that they had set aside for skiing/boarding, or the parts set aside for snow-shoeing. Hikers were not to use the skiers restaurant. Or the skiers toilets! Cypress reserved the right to charge non-skiers for parking, though apparently they hadn’t figured out how to do that profitably yet. We noted a roll of back-country passes so grabbed one each. We saw a lot of other obscure rules, such as, we would be fined if we brought crampons in to the hikers brown bag room. Dire things were suggested if we took more than one back-country pass per person, or even if we took one for a friend. It seemed that the rules were designed by an accountant and a lawyer, working together to make life miserable. I’m quite sure that even some of the employees of the resort found the signeage a bit over the top. One told us we were not allowed to even walk near the entrance to the skiing, but showed us how to avoid this by a little side trip on the Baden Powell Trail. Another laughed when I told him I needed extra time to read all the signs.
What we did: We snuck through the woods, Ninja-style, until we were past most of the guards, though the two employees higher up, not specifically tasked with harassing hikers, didn’t seem to care. Then we passed the place where VOC’er Tyler Lewis died in a hole while skiing, in December 2012. A little further on, we visited the wreckage of the T-33 jet that crashed sometime around ’68, claiming the lives to the two pilots. Eventually we arrived atop the S peak of Strachan, just like we planned, and we ate lunch. Of course we entertained each other with lots of nice chatter about Terrace, Urbanites, looking after horses, being coached by an aggressive ski coach, and mostly whatever drifted through our heads. I harvested six empty beer cans. On the way down we got daring and went into the skiers restaurant and I heard that one of us actually used the skiers toilets, though that could not be confirmed.
Summary: Nice weather, hardly any snow, good company, and a bit of exercise. Unless you come to Cypress to be relieved of your hard-earned skiing money, you should wear white Ninja-style clothes. I can’t see this getting better.
Possibly we could make fun of CBRL in an organ like the Georgia Straight or Tyee? There is a tradition of such foolishness but this new situation is over the top. A few years ago on a day with pouring rain, my mum and I were loudly accused of attempting to defraud the resort of two $19 cross country ski passes because we attempted to get in out of the rain at Hollyburn Lodge during a hike on the non-ski-non-snowshoe trails. Far as I know, Cypress continues to be a public provincial park whose access and services are provided by taxpayers, with the curious situation of a profit-making private leaseholder at the resort.
This explains the dirty looks I got when I used the resort washroom to wash the oatmeal out of my bowl before setting out on the Howe Sound Crest Trail 2 weekends ago (after camping on top of Strachan the night before.. apparently I neglected to read any of the signeage)