Eerie Vibes on Mt Gardner

I want to preface this TR with a brief discussion of what a self propelled trip is: you get yourself from your house to your destination and back, and do your athletic activity, under your own power. Carbon neutral, unassisted by motors. There is some discussion whether trips involving ferries can count as self propelled. Though I would say no, I would also note that these trips certainly fit the spirit of self-propelled.


Yesterday Jake Misky and I attempted to “self-propel” ourselves to/up Mount Gardiner. Such a trip is pretty regular for me on a weekend where I can’t be gone overnight… So why a trip report?

You could blame the 10 cumulative hours of sleep I had in the 48h prior to this trip. You could blame the migraine that had been building on the back burner the whole time. You could suggest that humans are predisposed to reacting emotionally to weather. But this trip was a near spiritual experience for me.

We biked unremarkably to horseshoe bay, watching the 9am ferry sail away, and stopped at Blenz for mochas. Then came a beautiful ferry ride when; like every time I see the peaks of the sea to sky, shrouded in mist, plunging deep into the blue-grey pacific; I was really feelin’ the feels.

Pulling into Snug Harbour, we saw clouds sliding up the sides Bowen Island. Jake and I elected to take the South trail, which appeared to be the route less traveled. Neither of us had been to Bowen Island before, and we were really surprised with the number of trails up the mountain. High road? Low road? We couldn’t tell the difference, and neither of us wanted to wind up in Scotland.* Always feeling only 70% sure of where we were going, we climbed into the mist.

This was where things got weird for me. Watching clouds surge through the trees, I looked across the river gully to our left, I saw a mossy hill, with what I thought was a figure standing on it. I did a double take and saw nothing but trees and ferns. But I was sure I’d seen a figure, standing still, wearing joggers and an oversized rain coat. There’s no way somebody was that far off trail in this weather, alone, and standing still. The spooky forest vibes were getting to me.

Misty forest

Misty forest

A little later I pulled out my phone to take a photo, and the pine towering above me did a classic horror-movie creeeaaaak in the otherwise silent mist. “Nobody could hear you scream in the fog” Jake commented, as we tried to laugh off how freaked out I was.

Creaky tree location

Creaky forest

We hiked on. I don’t know what I saw (i.e. I saw nothing) but it was an interesting hike. Moral of the story: you need more than 4.5h of sleep to do long, strenuous physical activity (and you should probably eat breakfast).

Jake excited about the great views

Jake excited about the great views

Declan suprised that there's a bunch of stuff on Mt Gardner

Declan suprised that there’s a bunch of stuff on top of Mt. Gardner

Jake admiring the views

Jake admiring the views

2 minutes (literally) of views!

2 minutes (literally) of actual views!

We came down hand logger’s trail/hikers rd, and made the 4pm ferry with seconds flat. On the bike ride home, my migraine took over, and, head pounding and dizzy, we hopped on the bus. Nothing a warm shower and home made mac n’ cheese can’t fix!


*Nothing against Scotland. Just a Loch Lomond reference.

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One Response to Eerie Vibes on Mt Gardner

  1. Roland Burton says:

    Last time I was over there a very large swan threatened us and ate my son’s peanut butter sandwich. “Why did you give the swan your sandwich, Jeff?” Swan looked mean. We had to survive on ice cream purchased locally.

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