I wanted to sign up for the VOC since before I moved to Vancouver, back when I finished studying at UBCO. But after moving, I delayed for months until I saw Ketan’s Intro to Winter Backpacking trip. I finally signed up a week or so before the trip then panicked the night prior to pre-trip because I realized I had only signed up as “interested” and not “committed” after Ketan sent an email out to the group.
Luckily, all went smooth at the pre-trip meeting. I secured my spot in Ben’s car with the google sheets and my nonsensical panic was abated.
While I have had one snow camping experience in the Okanagan before, it was my first time snow shoe-ing and my first trip into the back country – despite this, I was certain it was going to be easy. It was only 1.5km, I told myself! I’ve done much longer hikes before, I assured myself. But I had forgotten that those hikes did not include carrying what felt like 100 pounds on my back. Ketan commented how light my pack was, but it didn’t feel that way to me at all.
I applaud Ben for having the patience to stop every five seconds for me because I was huffing and puffing on the hike up. There were spots where I regretted packing snowshoes instead of skiis – my jealousy when people effortlessly glided down the hills was real – but then on steeper hills I was glad I brought snowshoes.
When Ben and I arrived at Brockton point to everybody waiting and eating snacks, I sat down to do the same and realized with much panic that I had lost my snack bag – forget the food, I had lost my grandmother’s whistle that my mom specifically told me not to lose! Ben, my hero once again, hiked all the way back down and up again to look for my Great American Eagle blue fanny pack. Ketan’s back somehow didn’t break when he carried Ben’s pack in addition to his own, which he commented must’ve been 100lb alone.
I set up our tent with Yara, my kind tentmate who had carried it all the way up, in the snow hole that was as tall as me.
After having lost most of my food, Ben (hero three times now) lent me his pizza to eat for dinner – the half frozen combination pizza from Dominos was the best I had ever tasted after the hike up. We shared a true Canadian dinner on a snow-table sitting on snow-benches and eating all the junk food.
Camping is the only thing that fixes my sleeping schedule (for the one day); it’s the only time that lights out is 9pm for me instead of 2am.
After a whole day of fog and snow, we got some sunshine the morning after. While some clouds remained, some people pointed out Mt. Baker of Washington state in the distance. Ben gave me his remaining pizza for breakfast; I thanked him so many times as I don’t think he got a single slice to himself.
We took down the tents, filled up the snow holes and collapsed the quinzees, which required several people, including me, to stomp on them. Then we packed up and that was my first experiencing winter backpacking.