Trip Report: Wedgemount Lake

This are photos from a backpacking trip to Wedgemont, a lake within Garibaldi park.DSC08126 DSC08204

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Made some new friends, was owned by the 1000+ elevation gain (3 hours up) + 5 more hours up and down Mt Cook (Scary, loose shale-y scrambling, made okay by one other student who was willing to admit he was a bit disheartened by the vastness of it). Shared a tent with a nice first year girl and we both froze to death, thanks to our tent (courtesy of my friend) and inappropriate layers (courtesy of our own stupidity). And by the way, it was beautiful. Wedgemont lake was hardly the star of the show. Being tired as a crazy squirrel who’s found a stash of nuts and waking up in a tent was.

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Pretrip Post: Wedgemount Lake

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This photo is actually from Joffre Lakes. Why did I choose this photo? Who knows. Should you care? Probably not. Should I care? I guess the choice of this photo shows that I thought this was scary as he**. 

I will be writing down my thoughts to my overnights because I’m just foraging into overnight hiking trips and because it’s always full of the most uncensored stuff! Wedgemont is a hike in the popular but somewhat difficult garibaldi area, known for its azure lakes and unbridled forests.

Warning, this post gets progressively crazier and has swearing.

How did I get into camping? Well…

It was a month ago; I’m not really sure if I can still recall how excited I was to finally be camping.  Pretty much everyone I talked to had already been camping before and wished me on my merry way. I couldn’t wait to finally experience the experience of a life time that everybody had already had. What could be better than meeting strangers and go hiking and then sleeping under the stars? I ended up being so tired that I never even saw the stars. And I didn’t get more than a few winks of sleep that night; I was freezing. Then I couldn’t believe that I could even hike up more and went close to a glacier and came back safely. My biggest pet peeve was I didn’t get to eat my tinned salmon because tinned salmon stinks to most ppl (but loved by me)

No, that’s not true. I can still remember how excited I was. But that was before I came home feeling pretty depressed. I was so tired! There was no way I could ever consider myself an outdoor kind of person. I was tired for 2 weeks. But guess what? After three days I yearned to be outside again. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to suffer through another cold sleepless night or trudge endlessly upward (boy, I was pretty pissed about that) but I did feel different. I felt as if a whole world could be opened up to me if I just tried again.

The next trip was with my school, after signing up with their outdoor club on suggestion of a friend. I didn’t enjoy it because I never got to the point where I was so tired I couldn’t think, didn’t click with the company, and I was still tired from my from my firs trip two weeks ago. You need that to enjoy this kind of thing. Course tomorrow I am scared because I’m not even sure if I can do it. In fact the #s say I can’t. Nah-get out! And with so little sleep I’m genuinely afraid of passing out into a dreamless sleep (done on the bus) Yet adrenaline has kept me up so many times snowboarding when I should have fallen down. Another dreamless sleep tonight and I could still be good to go.

The hike to the current camp, Wedgemont, is twice as high as the other two I’ve done. However, I’m quite determined to see something beautiful after two weeks of boringness. In fact, full knowing I might stay unsatisfied if I didn’t make weekend plans asap, I did the grouse grind tuesday (no, that wasn’t enough wilderness), then after signing up for the hike I got excited and I spazzed out that night, then I had to bike 1.5 hours to buy my camping backpack off somebody, and finally today was free week so I had to join in on a free ballet class (where else would you get to do that??) Really dumb because I am a couch potato all the time; I just need to get excited, but now I’m already fatigued as well; or you could say that I’m slightly more prepared.

And then I’m supposed to scramble like 1000m. WTF.

But I’ll be sharing my tent with another stranger soon to become friend; the lake looks beautiful (but I never gave a fuck about lakes because I was too tired); I have a real backpack that will distribute the 25 pounds into something managable for a lazyass like me; and I have delicious food!

I WIN THIS ROUND MOTHER NATURE (I HOPE).

I swear to god that I am an idiot and I do this stuff so I can be more comfortable with nature because I am uncomfortable with the idea that I might one day like snowboarding so much that I will be heartbroken to find out that I am NOT comfortable enough with being outdoors. Then what will I do? I can’t let those images of beauty stay on my screen just because I wasn’t brave enough; to love is to sometimes do what you hate.

I just like beautiful nature too much.

How will the 2014/2015 season look?

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This is what the top of grouse looked like today. Simply spectacular. 10 degrees celcius apparently, which is my now favourite temperature. Not cold but with a chill. I hadn’t noticed the weather on the way to school simply because I had an assignment due at 12:30, after which, to reward for my hard work, I skipped the actual class in which the assignment was due (just creative writing mind you) and relished in the rain. So I can’t actually tell you if it was the rain that rocked or the top of grouse that did.

RAIN HARD VANCOUVER RAIN HARD.

* I never senseless condone in skipping but it’s okay if you are ahead/on top

*Also, it was totally the right choice and I worked hard all weekend

*Only suitable if you are an arts major

There was the other factor that I had stopped doing the grind after consistently hitting 15-20 min below my usual time. Other than being petulant, I wanted to battle my anxiety and I had to do this fight alone. It was already pretty astonishing that I actually had finished my work on time, which I haven’t been able to do in forever. For once I felt strong enough to try to beat this, and with a chance like this, I couldn’t let it pass. I tried to stay calm and achieved a few snatches of peace. 15 min below my normal, healthy time-but still an achievement because felt some peace where there was none before. Afterwards, I managed to do a short sprint from the bus to the seabus, running free. It felt so good. I was grateful for just those few seconds, the assurance that I could still return to normal.

But back to the setting. It wasn’t crowded. People said hi on the way up. “Tired of the rain yet?” I asked a lady coming down.  I mean, every time I had been there before I knew there to be crowds. Or I had been often enough to know that service had slowed down. Well I hadn’t been in a while-and everything had changed in my eyes. First the misty fog upstairs. The real die-summer-die chill. The RAIN. The AIR. I can’t decide which was better. THE RAIN AND THE AIR WAS GOOD OK? And the crappy view was good too. So, so good, how much I love greyness and fog. And maybe the few diehards mingling around were nice too.

Even though it was colder, I wanted it to be colder. So I considered either spending $3 on mystery crap at mcdonalds called a ‘smoothie’ which actually tasted really good, or the one here. The $6 “smoothie” I bought was actually a small slushie with raspberry syrup. No kidding. Grouse mountain is all “authentic” marketing and one area where they need to improve their stuff is food. At least Cypress food is real and for that price I could get 2 real yogurt+fruit parfaits which I could swirl around and pretend to be a smoothie. And I thought Cypress’ food was bad. I was also overturned with annoyance that my rain jacket was already leaky when I realized the wet was actually from the trapped sweat not decreased permeability. Well good, except why make a good jacket with no vents. Finally, I was overjoyed to see the UNPACKED skyride and we even slowed down to see the tram coming up, where the operator made a funny pose.

Then I went home and I didn’t see anyone on the bus or the skytrain but I thought I did and shithomework.

Which reminds me, I didn’t even get to my point. Right. These are from the 2012/2013 season. Heard it was actually really good with ridiculous pictures on the net but on that one day in march on my birthday (BDAY RIDES FREE), it was icy sh*t. Or so these pictures show. Because, to the pain of my former ski racer, “Any day on snow is a good day.”

No, now I know ice-rink like marks are never a good sign. Thanks for putting up with me, friend.

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Back when I had a functioning camera with nice wide angle-like lens. This picture makes me cry because it broke by itself and it was on a contract and I was too dumb to ask for a replacement. I had just pulled the pictures from it when it fizzled out by itself. I had not even used the phone for 2 weeks and in those 2 weeks I wasn’t touching it (“Hell no i don’t need another gizmo.”) Oh wait, yeah I did. Now I have one that shoots 1/15 of your field of view.

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Yes. Yes. This is what we want.

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I don’t think I’ve actually seen the ground covered with snow on the way up this season.Nope, nada. It looks beautiful even through a screened window.

Conclusion: 2012/2013 definitely rocked but I wasn’t around enough to realize it.

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These are from the 2013/2014 season. See nothing? That’s because there’s nothing to see. Any landscape-y pictures I have have already been posted on this site or prematurely deleted for being of crappy quality. (Taken with my “”””new”””” phone.)

Okay fine, here’s a few telltale pics.

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People being interviewed on Cypress about

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“Yeah we’re having a great time. We’ve finally got time to cut our toenails standing in this line.”fine

I don’t know these strangers and sorry for posting your butt on the internet.

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I just stared at this picture on my phone. I forgot there was actually 1 high pressure bluebird day. Or something. Maybe it was doctored and implanted on my phone by Cypress.

Conclusion: 2013/2014 was rocky but the mountain air does weird things to your brain, you know? “These lineups are the sh8t!” That’s what I would have screamed into the microphone if they had been interviewing me. What are you smoking?

So, what’s 2014/2015 got in store for us?

Hopefully just lots of days outside. No snow? Roll around in the grass in your backyard. No cold? Okay, you caught me there, cold and wet is essential as I just witnessed up on grouse today. Cold and wet and being dry does magical wonders. Except when you start swimming in a sea of your own cold trapped sweat. Because friends, I just wanted to jump into a shower.

Let’s inhale the mountain air and do crazy things like endure cold sweat.

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Hopefully it looks a little something like this. With a toupee of snow. Screw El ninos (the weather, not the person). Thanks in advance mother nature. Then again I’ll still respect you if it doesn’t work out because MOTHER OF GOD YOU INVENTED SNOW.

What Snowboarding Means to Me

I think a film like this describes exactly what snowboarding is for me. It’s a glimpse into an another world, it’s a glimpse into my world, if I choose to make it mine; I don’t have to be jumping off cliffs; I don’t have to be there everyday; but I have to be there enough and believe enough that it will still be there for me until I come back; so that when I sleep in my bed, I am sleeping among the stars and trees as much as I am sleeping in the same corner of my life as always. When I juxtapose the silhouette of my face, as so many others have done before me, with the silhouettes of trees, I am envisioning this: the total coexistence of something few can have with the feeling that I have everything. 

Brew Hut

(Also posted on the VOC website here: http://www.ubc-voc.com/2014/09/19/first-times-at-brew)

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It’s morning. The view around Brew Hut looks a lot like a rip off of a wraparound HD TV nature program. Or maybe it was the other way around-I can’t remember. On one hand, the view from the top floor window looks a lot like a little square of Technicolour mountains being beamed straight into my neurons. On the other, the heaviness in my legs feel pretty real. It’s a good time to take a breather from your busy life and taken in the pinky-violet skies without deeper thoughts-maybe not so much to realize you forgot to pack a breakfast for the hike back.

Brew Hut was my first glimpse into the VOC, UBC’s outdoor club, so for others who are unfamiliar and need convincing, here’s how it goes: we attend a pre trip meeting to confirm sign up, take out gear in exchange for a workhike, are emailed the finalized carpool plans, and promise to arrive on time at the chosen hour. Everything runs smoothly, and all you have to do is meet up with your car, probably in the early hours of the morning. Or in this case, the Jeep. Then the adventure starts.

I have never been in a Jeep, so when I first got into the middle back seat of Roland’s Jeep, I was unprepared for the bouncy ride that ultimately was scarier than the hike itself. “In the winter we ski here,” Roland starts with a mischievous glint in his eyes. Yeah, we can see the drop on our left with our own eyes-yet we are still somehow convinced this is a spot we must come back to come winter, despite the sharp turns and loose rocks. Climbing more elevation than a beginner would ever want to on foot, we arrived at the trailhead unscathed.

“Have any of you backpacked before?” asked Carla.

I suspected I was the only one who had backpacked only once before.

Not to worry. The hike up to Brew Hut, in the summer, is pretty easy at a relaxing clip. It’s also beautiful. “Aren’t their alpine meadows?” asked Andrew suspiciously. We were in some trees.

“You could say that.”

In fact, there was. The alpine meadow was probably the coolest thing I’d never seen on the way to Brew Hut. There are huge rocks, seemingly at odds with the cheerily green vegetation as if they were dropped there. But they weren’t. “It started as a rock garden,” says Roland after being consulted. “So before all the green stuff..it was rocks.” Pretty cool.

Over some trees, rocks, water and alpine meadows about 2.5-3 hours later (depending if you include our faffing), we arrived at Brew Hut.

As I stepped into Brew Hut the sheer amount of stuff struck me. Knickknacks, all hanging purposefully on table tops and ledges, filled the room. Multiple  volumes of VOC published anthologies sat respectfully on a bookshelf, just like a bookshelf at home. Lamps, safety equipment, leftover food…there was no shortage of useful stuff. And yet everything seemed to be in its place. The combination of the slightly battered looks and banquet-long table waiting for us to sit on it were a homage to the history of VOCers who had shaped its daily life.

The hut became a bustling metropolis as we filed in and dropped our tired butts on the bench. The addition of eight bodies transformed the empty space into a bustling kitchen.

We inducted a Coleman stove to the menagerie.

Dinner was an interesting affair. Goods included instant noodles, precooked foil wrapped gourmet food, candle-roasted marshmallows and freeze dried food (all courtesy of the stove.) Point of warning as a reward for reading thus far: BUCKETS THAT SCOOP ROTTEN MATTER MAKE FOR POOP WATER. As we were finishing off our food, slightly drowsy, we realized that someone had taken the poop scooping buckets for the outhouse and used them to carry water up from the small lake below the hut. Needless to say, there is now ample warning attached to the buckets for the next foragers up to Brew.

Night rolled around and those of us who chose to believe that there was going to be Northern Lights tonight stood outside waiting for the last light to creep away past the “alcoholic” mountains. Disappointed after nothing showed, we went back inside to stake our territories in the attic, where there was ample room with only four of us upstairs. There were already a few sleeping mats sitting in neat piles in far end. Instead of unrolling mine, I dragged one to my chosen corner and promptly fell asleep.

Yeah, I had no dreams-a pretty peaceful sleep-that night.

it’s all downhill/uphill from here

 

 

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PS None of these pictures have actually anything to do with the actual trail riding.Taking pictures while riding unfamiliar terrain for the first time is unadvisable unless you are super awesome and/or not afraid of losing a few teeth.

 

After dodging cars for the fifteen years since I learned to ride a bike, I was more than ready to ride off road. All I needed was a way to try off road. The key to that turned out to be one antsy road-biker who also needed some excitement in her life. 

The plan: meet with our guide at 9:30 am at Alice Lake. I easily got one of the two bus bike slots at 6:45 in the morning; it’s a different story if you have multiple transfers and opportunities to be turned back by a full bike rack. I was picked up after one bus, thus negating the nerve wracking journey of relying on chance to procure a bike rack spot and off we went. (The reason why I’ve never attempted to bike anywhere cool on transit) (I almost got turned back then because my bike didn’t fit on her rack. At that point I was so surprised it was going so well I was fully prepared to turn back. She put my dirty bike in her car reluctantly.) We would drive to Squamish, where we would meet up with the experienced dude. The experienced dude would kindly show us the trails despite probably preferring a diet of blues and blacks because he hadn’t been in the area before, either. None of us knew what to expect.

At first I thought I’d be pretty screwed since my companion liked to talk about nothing but bike jargon. She gave my bike the evil eye. But once we got there, we got riding and saw the differences immediately. Her knobby-tired-but-still-road bike didn’t fare so well; my cast off faux-suspension bike gave me a taste of what cross country/slight downhill was like. I was surprised my bike could handle the terrain; it was the second time I had ridden it. I usually rode my no-suspension but decided against it for this trip, even though I didn’t know what it would entail. Despite being nervous I wouldn’t know how to handle the bounce, I was instead surprised by how well it handled the rocks. I fully confronted a moment of terror thinking of how close I had come to bringing that piece of junk along. It probably would have fallen apart. 

Faux-suspension or not, it got me down more comfortably than my companion. We started off on a dusty single track, which I loved and my companion hated. It would have been way more awesome if we hadn’t been so cautious and gone down faster. (Rob’s corners at Alice Lake http://mountainbikingbc.ca/trail/cliffs-corners)  The un-awesome part was having to walk up. After that our guide encouraged us to come with him on a blue run with ladder bridges. Again it was accessible to the beginner, given a bit of gusto. After falling off though and seeing it was ten metres long, with mud on either side, we walked our bikes the rest of the way. From there we finally entered forest. Unlike the single track, the double track through the forest was more gently sloping and full of roots and rocks. Down that, moments later, we reached another logging road (we had to walk up a logging road to get to the first run) and found our way to the next run. I was itching for some more downhill with switch backs but that’s only because I was lazy. Luckily the next one also went down. More forest, with a rocky section that we had to walk. Blah blah blah lots more gentle downhill ending with the realization that a) our poor brakes b) we have to walk back up all of that. After three hours I realized I was incredibly unfit and shoot, we still had to walk all the way back up. 

Notable moments: 

From the woman who knew all about berms, single tracks, and granny gears: “How do you put a chain back on that’s fallen off?” 

“Countries always go through a cycle of being progressive, and then traditional. It’s like “Traditional isn’t good enough!” and then they go progressive. And then once they’re progressive they realize what they had before was better, so they go back to being traditional!” “You can’t win.”

“Is that suspension on your bike real?” “No.” 

“Cross country is like downhill, except you have to walk your way back up!”
(Scream) “I just killed a squirrel!” (this sucked, we were going down quickly down an actual road to reach the next run and a poor squirrel got in the way…
“I just killed a slug. Wait, I hate slugs.” 

“You like downhill because you’re young. Wait till you’re forty and start doing your first mountain biking.”

Anyways, the pictures have absolutely nothing to do with the ride. Most of them are pictures of the logging roads. But Alice Lake is a nice place. It’s worth going for a first timer. Don’t take a road bike. Bring more than one bottle of water, especially if you’re lazy like me. I confronted the realization that I liked downhill because it was a) exciting b) fast c) I’m unfit. If I had to hike back up every hill I went snowboarding down, I’d be pretty pissed. But I guess I’d still do it. 🙂 Four hours totally pushed my limits, which was good, although it was pretty nerve wracking/turned into a hike by the end. (“Why is my bike going so slow?”) I was drafting several “Sorry I’m unfit, wait for me at the top” speeches in my head but that was too tiring so I just slogged up and thought about the relaxing single track and its thrilling switchbacks and the coolness of running water. Amazingly, we made it back shortly after our guide had returned.

Thanks to the people who brought me along.

 

 

Wordapus through the Blender

I desperately lack computer knowledge. It’s something I’ve slowly realized with dawning horror in the wake of having so many computer whiz friends. I didn’t know how to add tabs to the page, so I switched themes. It’s just a short term solution though. If I want to enjoy graphics/media/pretend I’ll one day make nice things, I need to keep up to date. And in the process of remaking the randomized headers, wordpress asked me for a logo. So I did. I went crazy. wriderlogowordapuswordapus4

Literally just a silhouette until I went haywire on it.

Here’s to being really bad at the computer despite spending way too much time admiring really nice graphics but nearly as much time as I should be.