Colleen C. at Harrison Hut/Meager Hot Springs:
“Thanks to our two capable 4WD drivers we made it all the way to the trailhead. There is active logging in this area and the road was being improved in preparation of more. I always feel torn by this. On the one hand it can be hard to see the results of that industry, but on the other hand I use paper products and without these roads I wouldn’t be able to access the mountains that I love to be in.
We made it up to the hut the first day (which we had all to ourselves!) but it was a long slog and just the first of three long days. We went in and out of snow the whole way up. Three made it to the hut without using snowshoes, but two of us put them on after the Barr Creek crossing. The snow will be gone soon which will likely make the crossings more challenging.
The next day we split into two groups. Three summitted Frozen Boot Peak, a steep hike up then a reportedly enjoyable ridgewalk. Fred and I made a loop up to Two Doctors Peak / Mt Andropov with a side goal of seeing the Meager Obelisk. We found it as we were coming down from the summit, tucked in a small cirque. We admired it from the top of the cliffs, then continued over to the col by Pine Peak and back down to the hut. Sometime while we were gone, a bear walked over our tracks near the hut, but we didn’t see one then.
Each group had a walkie talkie so we were able to communicate throughout the day, still we were pleased that everyone got back by the appointed time. We packed up and headed down to the hot springs, getting there just after dark. The hot springs are lovely but popular, at least 30 people were already there. If you choose to visit this site, please not only practice leave no trace but also do your part to maintain the pools – there is no one else to do it for you!
The last day, we hiked out and started the long drive back to Vancouver. A black bear was seen from the trail and another on the logging road driving out. Plus we saw many frogs!
Huge thanks to the UBC Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC). We all paid the hut fee and didn’t use any wood, but that feels insufficient compared to the work involved in maintaining an outhouse, hut and trail. A particular thanks to one of our group who has helped out with one of the work parties. Whenever you clamber over a log with a chainsaw cut in it to make it easier and guide your steps, you’ll appreciate his handiwork!”
Tu-Loan at Brew Hut:
“Another great trip into the backcountry with some good Wanderungers! An easy hike in, a great night to camp on the snow (with a hut for socializing, especially if there’s a bachelor party on the go!), and plenty of options for side trips were the highlights of this trip. If you haven’t seen the pictures yet, click here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/76047188@N06/sets/72157648661841903
The information that most of you are looking for though is the directions to the trailhead! We almost didn’t do this trip! When we arrived at the trailhead as per the VOC directions, we were disheartened by the prospect of bushwhacking through an ugly mess of shrubs and pricklies. Fortunately, we bumped into a group of hikers who led us to the right trailhead, not too far from the original winter trailhead. At 8.6 km from the highway on the Roe FSR, take the right branch OR park there if one does not have a high clearance vehicle (this trip can be done with a 2wd, unless there is snow on the road). About 1 km from the junction (stay straight on the road and don’t mind the branches), you will see flagging tape on your right that will lead you through a clearcut. Markers on stumps are visible from the road. The trail is well marked (thank you VOC!), taking you through forest and a boulder field before it opens into some sweet territory. The hike to the cabin is about 4kms and not a whole lot of elevation to contend with.
Thank you Matt and Gary M for a great weekend. I’m looking forward to going back!”
Ben at the Brian Waddington Hut:
“Despite the dramatic disappearance of the sun this weekend, our group of five met up and headed north with hopes of finding clearer skies. The road to Birkenhead Lake was clear and in good shape all the way to the lake. We turned off at the branch immediately before the gate to the campground and parked nearby, facing 6.6 km of logging road to walk to the trailhead. Along the way we passed up a VOC group heading up with skis on their backs. At the end of the road we had lunch and let the skiers take the lead. The trail was short and very well marked as it winds up the forest along Phelix Creek. It was however challenging in the soft melting snow with heavy packs. Eventually we crested a small rise to see Long Lake and the hut awaiting us at the far side. The weather had been grey all day and it didn’t look like the situation was any more promising up here. The hut deserves its good reputation. The evening was a relaxing mix of cooking, reading selections from the library, and enjoying the skiers’ renditions of old Bob Dylan songs on the guitar.
The next morning the snow was falling and we left the hut to stretch our legs. We had no real expectation of reaching any summits, but we decided to make for Gandalf-Peregrine col and see what things looked like. After a couple of hours we found ourselves at the col having the turn around time discussion. We had plenty of extra time so we decided to invest another hour and take it a step at a time. We began to switch back up the end of the ridge leading to Mount Gandalf. We couldn’t see much but we knew that up there somewhere the white wizard was waiting. Progress was steady thanks to Brad’s trail breaking effort, and before we knew it we found ourselves standing below huge boulders. With less than 100m to gain, we knew we must be close. From here Pavel lead us on a true showshoe scramble as we moved up bare slabs, boulders, and the snow that filled the gaps between, not bothering to stop and remove the snowshoes. One final block split the group into three as we picked our preferred routes over or around the rock. After converging and counting heads, we moved on. Then out of the mist appeared the great unmistakable flake standing like the final stone on some great summit cairn. We were there! Congratulations all around! A huge thanks to Brad, Pavel, Rob, and Darcy for their contributions to this very memorable trip.”