Monday, 30 September 2013

Welcome to Fall!

Well it's officially Fall. I have to say I am definitely sorry to say goodbye to our (glorious) summer. But as I have now been bit by the nordic ski bug, fall is good as it means winter and snowy trails are coming soon. The past two years my fall-time has been filled with many wonderful day hikes. This is not really anything different from my racing days - I always used to hike a lot at the end of the season. Those hikes, though, were much shorter than what I do now. Cyclist legs don't always enjoy doing a lot of walking!

As when I raced, I am always watching the weather and trying to maximize getting out in good conditions whenever possible. I was checking out the long term forecasts and the only nice days for at least a week looked like this past Wednesday and Thursday. With this in mind I dreamed up a little plan....

Two weeks previous I'd planned a quick overnight trip on the south end of the Howe Sound Crest Trail (HSCT) and now I wanted to do a quick overnight trip on the North end of the HSCT. I had discussed my plans with a friend, but she had some last minute work things come up and could not join us. On Wednesday I was involved with a video shoot with the folks from Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and I was not sure if I would be able to get away in time. Still I planned my little trip, and had everything packed and by the front door ready to go!

As it turned out I was done with the shoot by 2 pm and had enough time to have lunch and re pack my backpack (which is a habit, just like repacking my raceday bag), and get out the door and on my way down the sea to sky highway to the Porteau trailhead parking lot.

The trail up to Brunswick Lake climbs about 1200m and I was not feeling at my most energetic. I knew the trail though, and so I was not worried about having to rush to arrive well before sunset.

With the clear skies the temperatures dropped pretty quickly. Not being acclimatized to the cool weather, Daisy and I had a pretty chilly night.We awoke to find some icy puddles and crispy ground.

I was up early but I lingered over my morning coffee and oatmeal - watching the sun gradually light up the mountains in the valley was lovely.

Eventually we packed up and made our way to find the Hat Mtn. trail. It was getting warmer now as we climbed up the first small bump en route to the summit of Hat. Seems like this has been nick-named 'Fat Ass peak". I decided at the top here to leave my pack and hiking poles and head up Hat with just a small bag of essentials and camera.
Hat Mountain
When we got to the top the warm, still morning conditions invited us to linger. The 360 degree views of ocean, islands the surrounding peaks was amazing.

And so we started the long downhill back to the trailhead. The day was so warm and sunny, all the buzzing bugs were gone for the year and I was in no big rush. While sitting on the top of Hat I saw a man on Fat Ass Peak, who we passed by on our way down. He asked me about the trail up, so I described it. I commented on the glorious weather and he explain he'd had to call into the office and take "an emergency day". Yup, if it was in ones power to do so, today was the day to get out in the mountains.

After a great effort to get up Fat Ass Peak and Hat Mountain, Daisy found the day about 3k too long for her tastes. One of the benefits of having a 13 lb dog is that she is very easy to carry when she is tired.

We were back to the truck 24h and one minute after we'd left - appreciating so much how fortunate we were to enjoy these two warm sunny days to their very fullest.

Photo album from Brunswick Lk to Hat Mtn


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