As you might know, my friends and I have a major thing for the great outdoors. Since the summer hiking season ended last September, we had been wanting to embark on a winter hike to assuage our addiction to being out in nature. Sadly, weather, busy schedules, and short days threatened to postpone our plans indefinitely. Finally, we managed to book off a weekend on which we planned to hike up Elfin Lakes in Squamish and stay overnight in a heated cabin. As the weekend drew nearer, however, the weather forecast stubbornly predicted a torrential downpour (which would also spell avalanche hazards in the Garibaldi Provincial Park area).
In a last minute effort to keep our weekend getaway plans alive, we decided to go hiking and camping up an easier trail in Chilliwack since the Fraser Valley Region wasn't expecting nearly as much rain and we wouldn't be in danger of experiencing an avalanche. The trail up to Lindeman Lake was actually quite easy and very short (1.7 km); however, our heavy packs made the journey much more challenging and we reached the lake within about an hour and twenty minutes. Although the brief trail was forgettable and much less interesting than our usual hikes, it was our stay at the lake and explorations around the area that proved to be incredibly fun!
One member of our group, Tia, had been hiking and camping several times before; however, it was Eva's and my first time staying overnight in backcountry. Backcountry camping means:
- No washrooms (I think there was one hole-in-the-ground somewhere which I never bothered to visit)
- No hot showers
- No running water
- You have to store your food in a bear cache (unless you wanted to attract them to your tent at night)
- There is almost no one around you (we only had one friendly neighbour and his dog nearby)
- At night you are thrown in complete darkness
- You're going to be extremely cold, so you best bundle up as much as possible (since we had limited room in our packs, we had to wear about four layers of everything just to stay reasonably warm)
After arriving at the lake, we chose a favourable spot near the beautiful green lake (one of the platforms so helpfully provided on otherwise uneven ground), pitched our tent, learned how to use our "Hot Pocket" mini-stove (the best thing ever), and met our lovely and knowledgeable neighbour. Following that, we explored the beginning of the trail leading up to Green Drop, a much more difficult and treacherous hike that apparently was extremely slippery and covered in snow.
I also can't forget to mention that we were extremely fortunate with the weather-- the forecast predicted at least 15 mm of rain that day. However, we only encountered light sprinklings here and there, sunshine, blue sky, and some light flurries later in the evening (which added a very magical element to our stay). The next day was also sunny and dry until after we were well on our way back to Vancouver. Thank you Chilliwack was being so amazing!
After our little nature walk, which included traversing several boulder fields of slippery rocks (not too fun), we ate our dinner, cooked some hot chicken soup and tea, and chatted with our neighbour while he attempted to maintain a fire in our extremely wet climate (he hailed from the less rainy region of Alberta). When the day drew to a close at 6:30 pm, we headed into our tent and continued our chatting for a good three more hours before tucking ourselves into bed. T'was a good time indeed.
Since we are the biggest keeners, we started discussing our next hike and camping trip before we even made it back to our car. My next hike is set for this Thursday (which supposedly will be quite warm and sunny) and we hope to hike/stay overnight at Elfin Lakes in April. I just got back home but I'm still daydreaming about being outdoors-- I love being able to indulge so wonderfully in one of my passions with such great friends!
What did you get up to this weekend?