It was a great day to start out the trip. All 3 cars met up at 7:30/8pm at the McDonalds in Pemberton. There we enjoyed a mini-carb fest of burgers, fries, and ice cream. We then left all together and reached the winter parking lot. Amelia Elsborg-Andersen’s car scouted out the road just a bit and found a great spot to camp for the night. There everyone quickly set up their tents, brushed their teeth and went to bed. If we’re going till midnight, then I’m sure most people woke up more than once because they were cold or to change their sleeping position.
Waking up in the winter parking lot with some sore backs and cold toes, we got our first glimpse of snow for the season at the top of some of the mountains around us (cue the excitement). Packing everything up (and warming up in the process), we started to drive up.
Quickly, we realized that we were taking an Evo where no Evo had ever Evo’d before. Wheels spinning on each hill, there was lots of hopping in and out of the car all the way up to the summer lot. No complaints when we had to walk/wait, though – it was absolutely beautiful with lots of fall foliage around us.
We made it to the summer parking lot (aka the trailhead) just as Sam and Johannes caught up with us. Packs on, we started the beautiful ~5.5 km up to Phelix. I’d break this hike down into 3 parts: the logging road (aka ‘clearcutting makes us all sad’), the switchbacks (aka ‘ooooh we’re now in snow’) and the lake (aka ‘this is the prettiest thing ever’).
The first view of the lake from the short metal-lined bridge really is incredible, especially with the light dusting of snow making all the mountains look even more dramatic. And you get a first glimpse of the Phelix Hut!
After getting around the lake (and not getting over how pretty it is), we all gathered at the hut, grabbed some lunch and claimed sleeping spots in the hut’s loft. We then split into two groups: the long hike (led by Sam Viavant) and the short hike (led by Julia Ramos). Shoutout to both hike leaders
Both of this reports’ authors went on the short hike, so we can only really talk about that experience, but it was still a blast! We were aiming to get up Frodo – a mountain behind the top lake which itself is behind the hut. On our way up, we made a cute little snowman/mascot/icon named Brian.
By the time we got to the back of the upper lake, the dusting of snow was a little bit less ‘light’ at this point/elevation. Because of this, our scramble up the rocks took a little bit longer (and was a little bit wetter) than expected. Sophia Chu, somehow all smiles, had the sole of her boot just…flop off? It was dangling off the heel of her boot, so Julia R. used some medical tape to mummy-ify Sophia’s boot.
Our turnaround time was going to be 4:00 – if we didn’t make it up by then, then ah, oh well. We made it up to the col between Frodo and Peregrine riiiiight at 4 – perfect. Looking over into the valley behind was absolutely stunning! A snack break, photos, and ooh-ing and ah-ing was in order.
Starting with a couple calls of “rock” at the steepest points of our descent, we scrambled down much quicker than on the way up. Brian the snowman was still there, but his hat (a candy corn) had unfortunately melted into his head…a little gruesome. When we got back to the hut, we got nice and toasty with a healthy level of concern for the ‘long hike’ group as it got darker. They came ~30 minutes later with their own fantastic adventure stories.
Hanging up everyone’s wet socks and shoving our boots as close as we could to the stove, the night began.
And with night, so came the ultimate Phelix Hut potluck!! Maybe the most food I’ve personally ever had in a backcountry meal? My mug was constantly filled (and re-filled) with everything: mash potatoes, bacon, lentils & smoked tofu, enchiladas, spinach dip, boujee cheese, spaghetti, bean & cheese wraps, pumpkin pie…wine….Incredible. Legendary, even.
As the night continued, we sang some songs from the trusty VOC songbook (shoutout Joakim Glavind Nielsen + Sebastian Sotomayor for the guitar playing) and a few of us ran out for a quick cold dip in the lake. We also saw the most beautiful stars I’ve seen in years – a clear, nearly 180 degree view of the Milky Way – and enjoyed a flurry of shooting stars. A couple of moments of all of us silently taking it all in made for truly a special stargazing experience. We shuffled back into the hut, brushed our teeth, and found our respective sleeping nooks of Phelix.
And with that, a spectacular and jam-packed Day 2 came to a close.
It was a freezing morning with ice around the lake, and what better idea did some VOC’ers have than to go for a dip in the pool. As spontaneous as yesterday’s swim was, a group of 5 went outside and jumped in. The prize for most creative swim went to Sebastian for using the inflatable pool ring.
After running back to the hut, everyone warmed up with some breakfast and then the entire group split into 2: 1 group to hike up to the many lakes on the Northwest Knob, and another group to climb up Gandalf…the Gandalf group is yet to return (just kidding).
The group hiking up to the lakes was 12 people and started at a steep incline. Everyone was excited to get in one last hike at our beloved Phelix Hut and were full of energy! We climbed over rocks, branches, and rivers till we reached the first lake in about an hour. Then we went to the larger second lake. Unfortunately, that was where the Evo group separated from the rest. The rest of the group went on to the third lake. From there, we saw a panoramic view of all 3 lakes and the mountain range; thus the photoshoot. Going down was a great time. We ended up sliding down part of the mountain face holding on the foliage to save our lives. After finishing the steep part, we returned to familiar territory and retraced our steps to get back to the Hut and Sophia’s hiking boots survived the hike!
After a quick lunch/snack we said good-bye to Phelix and were ready to hike down. About ⅓ of the descent in, Sophia’s boots completely fell apart. She heroically put on her sandals and hiked the rest of the way in record time; with only one break, we made it down in not even 2 hours.
We got to our cars and made a plan to meet at Mile One restaurant in Pemberton. In regular Sam fashion, he zoomed down the road. Amelia, and Rebecca Alloway, on the other hand took it nice and slow. On the ride down, we only had to get out once (it was better than the 5+ times going up). After our dinner at the restaurant, we said good-bye to each other and headed home. Luckily it only started to rain when we neared Squamish.
Personally, experiencing my first backpacking trip was AMAZING! Let’s just say that this was an amazing trip, and so eventful. Thanks everyone for the best trip yet!
Comment: Done by Jacob Ereshefsky and Stefanija Rekasius