24 05 2007

It might seem like nothing to the average person but when you are trying to find your way through a trail that has not been opened yet because it is buried under a couple meters of snow this number is a painful one. (it should also be said that the markers were under the snow!)This number is how long we hiked looking for Coliseum Mountain (outskirts of Vancouver, BC). It stands at 1440 meters above the sea level and it is rated for expert hikers. According to the leaflets at the park there are a few precautions that should be taken when on this trail: have a topographical map of the area, only trail during the summer and make sure to be ready for an intense 10 hour hike!So… let revise what we had. We had a leaflet that told us what things we need to make sure to have, food and gear. I should add at this point that our gear for hiking is at the same stage as the gear for our gym. It is rudimentary at best. To illustrate my point, as part of my gear I was carrying a poncho!According to our calculations we were short on the requirements but given that we only red the leaflet when we were 4 hours into the hike, there was little to do about it.It was hands down one of the most demanding physical activities I have ever been involved in. Apart from the temperatures which ranged from a 16 c to close to zero at the top and the lack of proper gear, the terrain was quite demanding and traitorous. There were a couple of times where we were climbing straight up the side of the mountain and one of those was in snow!I should clarify that I LOVED this hike. It might seem that I was in constant pain* or that I was cold the whole time** or that we were lost,*** but I have a great experience.One of the main reasons I was able to do this was the workouts. Over the last 5 weeks we have done a lot of good things that have prepared me physically for this hike. This is every exciting for me since I am 31 now and I am doing some of the most physically/mentally demanding activities of my life and I thought that I would slowly become a couch potato :).Back to the story. The first hour and 20 min was a slow incline through Lynn Valley. From there you hit the mountain straight on. It is like climbing a wall for 30 min. After that you have about 30 min of steady incline and then you meat the snow. This is where things changed… there was fog everywhere and our visibility was about 25 meters. This is normally not bad but if you don’t know where the peak is and the markers are under a meter of snow you depend on the visibility to find you way.We reached a point were we found foot prints in the snow, which had most likely been there for less than a week, so we followed them for about 30 min until we reached a river. At this point the markers were on the other side of the river so we climbed down about 2 meters of snow to the bedrock of the river. Crossed the river by hopping rocks and then climbed another wall of snow on the other side! (I loved this part!)I was exhausted by now but we had decided to make it up to the top of the mountain and we were not going to give up because we were tired! We followed a few more markers and then there was nothing. No foot prints. No markers. I guess this is the part of the story where I tell you that I have a compass in my watch and that if got lost we could follow our own foot prints through the snow (just in case you were worried).The next logical step was to gain altitude. Although we did not know the path, we did know that our goal was to get to the highest place around, so we started climbing the side of the mountain again. This time through the snow. Actually, we used the snow to climb. We would punch wholes in the snow with our feet and gained on the mountain side one step at the time. THIS WAS VERY PAINFUL. Both me and Shane were stopping every few steps to let the muscles have a rest and then we would continue on.After about an hour and 20 min we reached a point where we would have lunch. There was a patch of trees that we stopped in to eat. While we were eating the fog cleared up a little. Just enough to let us see a big rock about 20 meter higher from where we were. We just about immediately packed our lunch and started digging our way up again (This was even more painful after stopping for a break).At this point we were reaching the turn around point. We needed to be at the parking lot by 9 (to make sure that we did not accidentally start a search party) and had to make back the way we came from! Sadly, we decided to turn around and start heading back. The truth is that we both felt that we had done our job at this point. We have fought the whole way up and were happy with what we had done.The first step of getting back was to slide down the mountain side. Then we would have to walk through the trails again. When we got down to the river again we were able to see the top of the mountains in the area since the clouds had moved a little. When it happened we got an idea of what we had done. It was fairly high up and we had climbed most of it.The rest of the journey was exhausting as well but pace was the same. We were able to move thought the trails quite fast and we still had spring in our step. This was an awesome realization since this is directly as a result of the workouts.Over all this trip was awesome and both Shane and I are looking forward to getting to the top of Coliseum and figuring out where we got to before. I am sure it will be a funny story when we find out. Both of us think that we walked passed the mountain and scaled one behind it. I guess the moral of the story is that we are still not expert hikers since we did not make it to the top… and because I wear ponchos!ae* YEP** MOSTLY*** Men NEVER Get Lots




One response

30 05 2007

I finally read it (even though you still didn’t put up the photos for me yet) and it was great. I didn’t hear about the sliding down the snow part. Sounds like a lot of fun. You guys are so brave!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: