Trip report by Linda Dumalo
Despite a couple of minor hiccups they were overshadowed by the great time I had and I am certainly keen on heading on another trip soon! The trip was already off to good start for me because some other members pitched in and lent me a sleeping bag and mat!
It was an early morning pickup but our driver graciously picked us up from Kitsilano despite living in East Van. We were the first to arrive at our meet up point in Chiliwack and ended up waiting an hour before the last car arrived. Turns out they had missed an exit but hey, just got to know some of the other VOC members better.
Once we had regrouped we made our way to the logging road that would take us to the trailhead. With some skillful driving no vehicle or passenger was harmed during the 13km trek that was filled with potholes and water bars and a steep incline the last 4 km. At the very least all wheel drive and good clearance are a must to make it to the trail head.
We were greeted at the trailhead by overcast skies that concealed Mount Cheam and Lady Peak. With such a diverse group (springy undergraduates, graduate students like myself and working folk) it was easy to find a good pace for an Ontario’an who had never hiked with such a large pack! It also helped that our campsite took less than 2 hours to get to.
There was no running water at the campsite despite the map showing a stream… oh well. Once the tents were pitched we hiked up Mount Cheam to see not much of anything except for the cloud we were in and an intricate rock wall. We did not spend much time at the peak due to the lack of views and the drizzle that progressed to rain.
The rain made it a bit difficult to have dinner together but we managed! I was content with sustaining myself on nuts, protein bars and chocolate but many of the members were happy to share food, granted they were quite full though. Who would have thought couscous with mushrooms ham and spinach would taste so luxurious?
The evening was a bit tough on me as I got incredibly cold and was shivering severely. I was rather scared (PTSD from a greyhound bus ride from Montreal to NYC where the heater was broken) even though logically I knew I would be fine once in my sleeping bag everyone who could afford to threw clothes my way. At one point I actually became too hot!
The next morning we were greeted by blue skies with intermittent cloud. We had breakfast (I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed by the dedication of many to keep the food quality top shelf with eggs and bacon and pour over coffee) packed up and proceeded to the base of Lady Peak for our scramble.
Having never scrambled before, I was a little bit daunted but decided that I would rather be warm and scared then cold and safe and missing out waiting at the bottom. The most nerve racking portion was ending up on some rather loose rock which actually could have been avoided!
Even though my group did not make it up to the true Lady Peak summit (I will return to reach the peak one day!) the views did not disappoint! We had a bit of a time constraint since the forecast was predicting the rain to arrive at 2 pm and our savvy planners recommended to be departing down that awful logging road at that time. Thankfully, it took only an hour instead of two and went much more smoothly to the point where I almost fell asleep!
In true Canadian tradition, we had a pitstop at Timmies where we said our goodbyes which left me a little bit melancholy as everyone on this trip was fantastic to spend time with! If they are a representative sample of the folk that are in VOC then this must be one of the best clubs around!