Explore BC // Mount Fromme x The North Shore
As my dear friend Eva put it, "Not all who wander are lost but we were definitely lost and we definitely started to wander." This statement alludes to our little adventure going up and down Mount Fromme in North Vancouver; a trail that is lesser known and popular for reasons that soon became evident to us.
Mount Fromme became our next destination after we decided that the drive to Chilliwack was too intense for a day hike; an intermediate-level North Shore hike appeared to be perfect way to indulge our hiking addiction. Located near to Grouse Mountain, the trail is a round-trip of 10 km, boasts an elevation of 880 m, and passes through at least three different trails. While the hike itself and the summit view were enjoyable and quite gorgeous, it is extremely easy to lose your way if you're not familiar with the area or aren't reading the directions closely enough.
We thought that we were forewarned about the confusing nature of the trail when we reading its description on Vancouver Trails. However, either over-confidence or mere incompetence at reading written instructions was our downfall. I take some comfort in knowing that the vast majority of the other hikers we saw that day seemed to be just as confused as us. As it was, we first got lost after we completed the first portion known as the St. Georges trail and were walking onto the Old Grouse Mountain Highway. After the ever astute Eva sensed our error, we backtracked for about 10-15 minutes before realizing that we had missed a tiny opening leading to the next trail, which was marked by a tiny black rope. To call us frustrated would be putting it lightly. Sadly, the worst was yet to come.
Following that first mishap, we were foolish enough to think that we would be free from any further setbacks. After finishing the easier sections of the hike, we started to ascend steeply until we reached the snowy summit. At this point, we were silly enough to hold off from using our microspike footwear as we assumed it wouldn't be long until we reached the top (more honestly, we just wanted to stay ahead of another pair of hikers who were tailing us). Consequently, we spent much of the last 500 metres slipping, sliding, and falling through potholes several feet deep. Next time, as soon as we spy a hint of snow, we are putting those babies on immediately!
We enjoyed our lovely alpine view in relative peace as many of the people who joined us at the summit did not stay for longer than 10-15 minutes. After we had taken our requisite photos and videos, we settled into our usual routine of eating our lunches. My favourite kind of picnic.
On the way down, we slipped on our microspikes and realized how much unnecessary pain we put ourselves through by not using them on the way up. The descent seemed to be going smoothly and we were most certainly making better time doing down than we had been going up. But then... disaster struck.
Okay, I'm being melodramatic but it certainly was a scary situation for us when we found ourselves on a strange trail that had few markers guiding our way. We tried to backtrack several times and even asked a few mountain bikers for directions (girls ain't never too proud)-- however, none of them were entirely sure of the way since their biking trails are different from the hiking paths.
Following Eva who was using Google Maps to pinpoint our location via satellite, we slowly navigated our way in the right direction towards the St. Georges trail. While passing through an unknown trail, the Executioner trail, and the Dreamweaver, we suffered through what felt like an eternity of uncertainty (which was most likely an hour or so). My thoughts often wandered towards what we would do if we were forceed to spend the night in the woods (build a fire, conserve water, etc,), Luckily, my wonderful Eva brought us back onto the right path and we quite literally started crying and hugging each other in joy!
Overall, this five hour hike took us about six hours to hike due to our wandering. Days later, I came across a deleted screenshot of the directions for the Mount Fromme trail. On the second paragraph, clear instructions detailed that we needed to keep on walking down the Old Grouse Mountain Highway until we passed a signpost labelling the St. Georges trail... Eva and I certainly learned our lesson in humility and will always remember this experience for future hikes!
You would think that a slightly traumatic experience like that would put us off hiking for a bit. On the contrary, I think the misadventure only made it more memorable for us. In fact, I think it's made me even more excited for my next few hikes coming up this weekend in Victoria!