So this past weekend myself and some trail running buddies headed out into the Fraser Valley and just past Chilliwack to the Cheam mountain range. The purpose of our trip was to go up and down a mountain of course.
Tom, one of the members of our quartet, has a truck thankfully and got us to the trailhead and back in one piece. The Mt. Cheam trail is accessed by an old logging/service road that is not for the faint hearted with dips, boulders, dirt and undulation. It would wreck a car and should only be attempted with a SUV, truck or jeep.
So this old service road was about 10-15km but due to the state of the road and oncoming vehicles and finding passing spots, it took around two hours for us to get to the parking lot and the start of the trailhead.
It was warm but not really hot, so we were dressed in running shirts and shorts with our hydration vests and after a brief stretch, we were off. So what is a rike? It’s basically a term, we trail runners have termed for a run that includes a fair portion of hiking due to the terrain or gradient you are travelling up. There comes a point where you have to power hike if the terrain or gradient gets to the point you cannot run.
Because we tend to do a lot of trails with elevation, we are all pretty good at power hiking. Put that together with the small amount of kit we travel with, we do end up passing hikers and familys out for a walk on the way up to Mt Cheam’s peak.
As I had run my 50 mile race the week before, I was planning to take it slow, but as it turned out, I was going slow but not slow enough. I kept stopping to take photos as it’s an amazing trail for views and yet I was still a little bit ahead of my trail buddies. We got near the top and the temperature had dropped significantly and the wind had picked up. We were glad that we had packed extra clothing with our ten essentials.
It’s funny as I started the way up to the peak wearing a sleeveless running top, and at the peak I was wearing a long sleeve smart wool top, woolen hat and gloves, just due to the temperature drop and the wind. So I cannot highlight enough the need to take the ten essentials. I did an earlier blog post on these essentials and would recommend reading it as having the ten essentials could save your or a friend's life.
Cara, who was with us on this rike had recently had an inReach, which is a two way communicator, given to her by her boyfriend, and it made me realize again that I really need to get one. Basically it’s a small device about the size of a walkie talkie and it connects by satellite to let friends and family track your route, and it allows you two way communication with help, should you get into trouble.
The trail to Cheam Peak is fine for the most part and not too technical. The only area I would highlight is the peak and about 100 meters down from the peak there are a lot of loose rocks. On one side is a sheer drop and so I would recommend you take it easy here and don’t go too fast. The views from the peak are breathtaking and you can see the Fraser valley, the rest of the Cheam mountain range and even as far as Mountain Baker in Washington State.
Once we did the obligatory peak selfie, we headed down and once we got past the loose rock, the trails is not very technical and I enjoy downhills. I just let gravity do its work and I had such fun running down the trail at full pelt.
It’s safe to say the rike at Cheam showed that the 50 mile race had not killed my legs, but it will take a little while for my legs and body to fully recover.