The Start of the Adventure
Day One - What were we thinking!
Woke up to pouring rain, and instantly regretted giving up our home for six months. I took Quinn for his final walk in Coho Park, and gave him what seemed like this second shower of the last 24hours – yup, the faint skunk smell is still present.
During our walk, Jonny spent his time detailing the carpet and couches from what can only be described as a second dog in our soon to be former house.
We spent the next four-hours cleaning, and questioning how two humans can gather so many useless odds and ends in such a short time (it has only been just over a year and a bit since we first moved to Squamish with nothing more than what fit in the back of a Ford F150). Fitting the last of our things into Kenny Rogers (the 4Runner) was interesting… the rain didn’t help and in the end we hastily bought a Thule roof box from my now former colleague, Craig.
It was 4PM before we said goodbye to the newlyweds, our friends and former landlords, Ed and Carina and somehow managed enough determination to hit the road… and boy, did we hit it hard. We drove ourselves all the way to West Vancouver in a tough 45mins to our friends Darren and Michele’s. There was no way we were camping our first night in a torrential downpour, so we invited ourselves over.
We cooked some dinner, drank the left over booze we couldn’t store away and better yet, stayed dry. We even did something I have been waiting, four, maybe five years to do. We opened a bottle of Champagne that I’ve trekked across Canada more times than I could count. In fact, I did better than just open it- I sabered it in front of Kenny Rogers. It was monumental and made for a great start to the trip.
We did eventually decide to do something with our Saturday night and by the time the second or third cab had come to our house and not left without us, we were at the Commodore in downtown Vancouver sporting some bowling shoes straight out of the eighties. Turns out I was feeling lucky and blew everyone out of the water with my new found bowling career, which only lasted one game. Must have been the champagne! Thanks for the sick video Stacked Photography
Day Two – All the Rain
You guessed it, it’s still raining cats and dogs out there but instead of risking our friendship we departed anyways. Very tired from the late night, if it wasn’t for the lack of money coming in I would have suggested a hotel so we could continue napping – but instead, we drove to Ikea.
Considering our low motivation levels, I got a lot of work done. Thank you, Greyhound wifi. Jonny even organized the truck a bit more and took Quinn for a walk in the underground – we don’t need wet dog smell in our home on wheels on day two!
We had breakfast, cleaned ourselves up and set out to find a few last minute items, like: bins, a Nalgene lid (as my original had suffered a tragic death on the bottom row of our dishwasher a month before) and two blue enamel dinner plates. Simple items really, but instead we went to multiple stores and still couldn’t find them. In the end, Mountain Equipment Coop gouged me for an entire new water bottle and Cabela’s had the plates – but they’re green colour was almost a deal breaker. All of these errands were just to kill time really, to see if the rain would stop - - it hadn’t, in case you were curious.
Not sure what else to do, we headed towards Hope, literally ad figuratively.
Along the way however we noticed that today was the final day of the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival. I love a good Instagram photo just as much as the next girl, so we veered off the highway. That venture ended as quickly as it started due to the small fact that it required cash… cash we didn’t have. Thankfully as we were pulling a U-turn outta there, another sign presented itself, “Corn Maze, 2km ahead”. We both looked at each other, and Jonny practically sealed the deal when he revealed he had never done one before. Within two minutes we were there.
It was massive.
Nothing could have prepared us for it’s vast size. The lady handed us a map, which revealed it even had words written in it and a John Deere logo that were only visible from the sky, like something out of a horror film. Thank god there were clues along the way, and the promise of a freshly picked apple at the end of our, what had to be 10 hour journey ahead. We were just about to enter into this world of abyss when the other owner gave me the best advice of the entire trip; “I don’t think it’s finished raining yet,” he said, as he looked up at the clouds, and then me in my T-shirt.
Optimistic me wanted to just carry on going, but I’m not weatherman and I’m in no position to question a farmer who lives by the Amzac, so I grabbed my rain jacket.
Ten minutes deep into the maze and it rained so hard, even my boots were seeping through. But we couldn’t turn back now, even if we wanted too.
We came out the other end in a mere 45-minutes looking like drowned rats, had our apple under the cutest pavilion ever and made a tactical plan on how to get back to Kenny Rogers and dry Quinn off as quickly as humanly possible.
As we continued into Hope, we decided to revisit an old Forest Service Road (FSR) we’d camped at not long ago. Still pouring, we not so quickly set up the shelter (first time is always tricky with these things, you know) and started cooking dinner under our nice, flickering pot lights – stupid Amazon purchase.
Seasoned rice and this Indian tomato chickpea curry proved to be heavenly in the cold, and with nothing else to do, we went to bed… at 6:50PM This is living.
Day Three - A Glimmer of Hope
Worst sleep of my life. I was up at 2AM tossing and turning, sleeping on Quinns bed and then back around again. By 4:30AM I contemplated attempting the first ever solo back surgery on myself. Managed to push it out for another few hours somehow and was happy to never lie down again if it meant not being in pain anymore.
It had luckily stopped raining, but naturally everything around us was soaked. Decided not to make breakfast and head into town, after a very questionable hair washing in the icy river beside us.
After a few hours of work on my end, and some last minute supply purchases, we decided to take advantage of the sun and head back to E.C. Manning Provincial Park for round three of hiking.
On the North East side of the park from the Blackwell Parking Lot is the Heather Trail. It’s 34KM long and connects with the NW end of the park, which we hiked in July of this year. It’s a beautiful trail that starts off at 2000M elevation, so from the first step you have spectacular views.
The autumn colours are coming out, and the hill sides, which are perfectly named Painted Hills, are lit up in deep reds, yellows and orange. The first hour is spent hiking down, which can only mean one thing…
The first climb was small, in the scheme of what we’ve done, but provides views of hill sides dotted with trees and 360 views of the surrounding mountain ridges, including the North Cascades in Washington to the south. We made it to the 9KM mark and decided to wander off and set up camp.
At this point, nearly 5PM, we decided to make a cup of soup to go with our trail mix lunch, set up camp and stay warm out of the bone chilling winds. We watched the sun set as we re-hydrated our Mountain House meals in a bag, and sipped on hot chocolate and baileys from our oversized mugs.
Quinn was questionably running circle around the tree we tied him up too and vigorously digging up the mole homes around him – life was good for everyone, until the sun went down.
Wow, did it get cold… and quick.
Even Quinn was chilly, so I wrapped an extra blanket around him to help his problem, and was hopefully my new –9C sleeping bag would help mine. And it did, temporarily. Every time I tossed and turned from my aching back (I sound like I’m 80 years-old), a new set of cold air came in with it.
Keep watching this page, as more days are to follow.