Harrison Tent Trip July 4

Gates The state of various locked gates can be determined by calling the Authorities in Squamish (1-604-898-2100) during working hours. Be polite, their task is not easy. If they say a gate is open, then it is open. If they say a gate is closed, it may be open. They told us that the gate at 2 km was open but the gate at 24 km was closed. We found a new gate installed at 23.2 km and fortunately it was open. The turnoff to Perkins Main, the 4WD road that connects with our trail heads is at 23.6 km so if the 23.2 km gate (which may be called the 24 km gate) is indeed locked, then we’re not driving the last 6 km to our trail head. So if we had known the location of the new gate and if we were told it was closed, I would not have attempted this trip. We found two other cars at the Old Trail Head (see below), maybe hot springers, or maybe at the Harrison Hut.


New Gate at 23.2 km

Trail Head Last summer we were told that the “New Trail Head” could be used instead of the “Old Trail Head” as it cuts about one km of hiking off the total distance, and avoids the really unpleasant “Temporary Bypass Trail” which the loggers had built to keep hikers out of the logging. Two weeks ago we moved the trail sign to the new trail head. No sooner had we done that than the loggers told us that the new trail head road will be closed for logging so we must not go there. So on this trip we moved the sign back to the old trail head. The new trail head road now has signs saying don’t go there, a great many fallen trees, and a parked first aid truck (as required by Work Safe rules).


Road to Last Year’s Trail Head

Tent Recovery The plan on the previous trip was to hang Cassandra’s tent from a tree at the fork, and somebody else was going to pick it up and carry it out. Unfortunately the people who were planning to pick it up were unsure which tree, and didn’t find it, and assumed it had already been carried out. One of our objectives was to recover the tent. We found the right tree, but the tent was not there. Perhaps somebody else now owns it.


The Tree With No Tent

Conclusions The region is very geologically complex but we seem to be dealing with that. The new gates add another dimension to our hut access problems, and I have not mentioned grizzly bear or extreme temperature closures (contact the Authorities), or the possibility of getting trapped behind a locked gate. If the 2 km gate is locked, biking in from there is always an option if you are tough enough. Nick and Lena are.

The recent logging will probably be over in a couple of months and with luck we can start re-using the new trail head. But Perkins Main is not a pretty road. It may be easier to park at the locked gate at 23.2, get out your bike and bike 8 km on the newest road to the hot spring road, and rejoin the trail there. This will of course please the hot spring people, and it will make all the work which we have done on the first half of the Harrison Hut Trail, obsolete. I wouldn’t say the work was wasted, though. I have a lot of good memories, installing traction mesh on logs in the snow, getting trapped by road washouts and being rescued by helicopter, picking up Jeff Mottershed after he had spent a week up there with a chain saw, and spending an hour skinny dipping in the rain with Someone Who Shall Not Be Named.

Regarding leaving stuff for someone else to pick up, you might not want to hang a green tent bag on a green tree. You might want to choose a tree a ways back from the hot spring traffic. You might want to make it very clear as to who is doing what; think about things that may go wrong.

Carla and I got some exercise. I think I am growing muscles. We left Vancouver at 2:30pm and were in our tent at the old trail head at 7:30pm. Next day we were walking at 5:30am, back at the car at 3:30pm and back home at 9pm. It was very hot and the mosquitoes were fierce. Fortunately we bought DEET in Pemberton and we had mosquito nets. Saw one deer, three frogs, zero bears, and three eggs in a nest in some devils club!

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4 Responses to Harrison Tent Trip July 4

  1. Roland Burton says:

    >> I hope you and Carla didn’t feel bad about driving all that way and then not retrieving (the tent).

    No, we considered the possibility that either we would be stopped by a gate, or we would turn back short of the fork because being old, or bears, or too hot, or whatever, or that the tent would not be there. So we did our part, but the tent did not cooperate. I learned useful info about gates, Authorities, the trail head, other users. We were crazy efficient, which was good.

  2. Vincent Hanlon says:

    The gate news is serious. Maybe we can get a key?

  3. Roland Burton says:

    I don’t think that Cassandra will be trying to get a key for at least a month, because she’s going to be at Ellesmere Island.

    As one who answers INFO I was told that somebody, a hot springer, drove up to the gate at 23.2 km and found it locked, so camped in the middle of the road. Next morning workers arrived and unlocked the gate for themselves, but would not let the hot springers past the gate. So the hot springers went to Sloquet. If the weather was cold and miserable, or if you were Ross, it would be possible to hike from the locked gate to the trail head, but I think I might be too old for that sort of thing.

  4. Roland Burton says:

    This is not from me, but I thought I should post it:

    Is there an advocacy group for trail access to places such as this? I’d be happy to ad my voice asking that access be made possible. I spoke to a lady on the phone who works for the department responsible for locking the gates – she mentioned that the gates are locked so as to keep people “safe” as the roads are not public. I asked if I could file a trip report and get a key… the answer was a clear “no”.

    Cameron Bowman

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