Running from Cheakamus to Rubble Creek – Just Your Average Anniversary Activity
by Hannah Jensen
On September 19, 2015, I met my boyfriend, Michael Stone, doing the VOC “Black Tusk in a Day” trail run. This year, we took over the organizing duties from Artem, and celebrated our anniversary in the most logical way we could thing of – doing the same run again.
Fast forward to Saturday, September 17, 2016. The alarm went off at 5:30 am. Michael and I woke up to the sound of true Vancouver weather: the heaviest, steadiest rain that you can imagine. After feasting on some french toast, we picked up our car load of people (Jan, Simon, Jeff and Annie), then headed up the Sea to Sky highway.
When we got to the Cheakamus Lake parking lot, the rain was coming down just as hard. We fussed over what to wear for awhile, but finally resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to get soaked no matter what.
The first section to the Helm Creek turnoff was smooth sailing, aside from a wasp sting I got on the back of my calf. We then started up the seemingly endless switchbacks at a speedy power hike, secretly not minding the effort because it kept us warm(ish). Last year, this section of the trail was slippery and treacherous. Aside from a few puddles right before Helm Creek campground, most of the trail has been revitalized and is now hard packed, smooth, and mud-free.
We stopped for a quick snack at Helm Creek campground and chatted with a teacher from Prince of Wales, who was there on a 6 day outdoor excursion with her class. We envied her rain gear but felt pretty lucky knowing that we would be out of the rain in just a few short hours.
The next section of the run took a definite swim in the pool of Type 2 fun. We were pelted with rain and wind all the way up to and including the cinder flats. Low, heavy clouds obscured Black Tusk and all other surrounding mountains. Moral was still pretty high, but no one could argue when Annie said, “this is awful!” during one quick break. We passed Sam’s team partway through the cinder flats, but couldn’t take a group photo due to Jan’s very wet and cold fingers.
After the cinder flats, we hurried back into the relative protection of the trees. Despite the name, this run does not actually go up the Black Tusk trail, instead going straight from Cheakamus to Rubble Creek (or vice versa). The rain started to let up slightly, and now the end was in sight. We barrelled our way down the trail to Taylor Meadows, then booked it down the switchbacks to the Rubble Creek parking lot.
We were greeted by a feast of chocolate milk, cookies, bananas, and other treats in Sam’s car. After a shivery wait by the kiosk, Sam & crew arrived. We chatted about our respective journeys, snapped a group photo, then parted ways. Our team headed to McDonald’s for a well deserved, calorically prolific bounty.
A general feeling of satisfaction settled over us as we drove back to Vancouver. Yes, we should have postponed the run. Yes, we suffered a little bit when our hands got to cold to move properly. Yes, we were tired and achy and needed to get caught up on homework. But we did it. All in all, it was an amazing adventure and we wouldn’t have wanted to celebrate our anniversary in any other way.