Apologies it has been a few weeks since I have posted but sometimes life gets in the way and unfortunately my blog was one of the things that gathered dust and mothballs.
If you’re a trail runner then you really need to tip your hat to Baden Powell and be prepared. Any run, no matter how simple, needs thought and planning as there can be so many variables such as wildlife, changing weather conditions and remote location if it’s a back country trail.
In the past few weeks I have been to Manning Park which is heading out towards the interior of BC and Golden Ears Park which is heading further out into the Lower Mainland of BC. Manning Park is quite far from civilization and Golden Ears is closer to civilization but still the trails I took would be considered backcountry or wilderness and not easily accessible by search and rescue; should something go wrong.
So turning to Manning Park, I went to the park with trail running buddies Terry and Scott and would be running part of the Frosty Mountain 50k. Frosty Mountain is an apt name as when myself, Terry and Scott got to the top ridge just below the peak snow storm blew in maybe 5-10 minutes afterwards. We were prepared as we all carried the ten essentials but as you can imagine the temperature dropped dramatically and so did visibility. It was an amazing sight to behold and it makes you realize how quickly things can change, and why being prepared and carrying the ten essentials and suitable clothing for weather change is important when up in the alpines.
Another thing that I saw on the route to Frosty was elks and I heard some grunts and branches moving which may well could have been a bear, so you have to be wildlife aware when you’re out on the trails. When we headed down from Frosty, the snow cleared and the sun made an appearance, so it really brings home how quickly things can change.
The latest outing to Golden Ears was with Marc, Scott, Lara, Johnny and Ali and the route we decided on was to head up to Evans Peak, and if things went well then head up to Allouette Peak. Trail running as its name might suggest would indicate running, but it’s not always possible to run every trail and every part of a trail, so sometimes power hiking is involved. So we ran the runnable sections and hiked the other sections and eventually made it up to Evans peak.
The trail was well marked and when we reached the peak ,we had some views however mist kept rolling in and out. This highlighted the fact without knowledge of the route you’re taking and lack of maps, compasses, trail markings etc you could easily become lost. This brings me to the fact that Evans Peak was named after a local family, who unfortunately went missing many years ago and the peak has a plaque dedicated to the family’s loss. After Evans we headed up Allouette peak which required some bouldering and scrambling, and with drizzle we took care not to slip. The reward at the peak was even more mist than Evans, but we still had a great time getting to the peak and the way back down was fun and challenging.
It was no surprise that we got back to the parking lot and the sun broke out, but that’s the chance you take and it’s always better to set off early and miss the views, than hit the trail too late and risk having a challenging route back down in the dark or fading light.
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.