I got a call late on Tuesday night from my friend Helle,"Steve, we are going hiking tomorrow and I was wondering if you would be interested"?
The Chilliwack Fraser-Cheam area is next to some of the best hiking in the world, from lofty peaks, to valley trails the sights are unforgettable and uniquely west coast. I said "I'm in".
At 9:00 am the entire group was assembled at the Popkum roundabout to meet and carpool. There was a nice mixture of beginners, five of us including a couple visiting from Denmark and 3 experienced leaders including my friend Helle. I should mention the dog - Takoda a mixed breed with a wonderful attitude and terrific poser. After introductions we were off to a section of the Trans Canada Trail and former Kettle Valley rail line up the Coquihalia Highway.
|Takoda amongst the Hawk-weed|
One concern of mine when hiking is bears but I was reassured to learn that the group is quite chatty thereby advertising its presence in the forests so that no bears are surprised, they then have time to retreat. Sometimes hikers wear bells on their backpacks for the same purpose. Bear spray, bear bangers are also kept readily at hand.
|No Bells, Black Beat Scat|
We turned off the Coquihalla Highway 5 at the Portia intersection, parked, shouldered our packs, wiggled through a massive yellow gate and began walking, it was 9:45 am.
This hike, the Coquihalla Summit Trail, took us along in part down the former Kettle Valley Railway and in part along the Trans Canada Trail. The grades are not difficult. It soon became evident that along with mushrooms a riot of wildflowers were in bloom and the photographers in the group were given time to take some pictures of them.
Through a forest canopy we walked.
|Work Train Last Supper June 20, 1962|
After our break we continued on through a second train tunnel and then to the "Hole in the Wall". The “Hole in the Wall” is a circular hole approximately 4’ in diameter cut through a solid granite wall. It is open to the sky for about 8’ and then it falls into a lower opening and finally emerges as a waterfall. The following photograph does not do it justice.
|Hole in the Wall KVR|
A blister on my right heal began to form, fortunately these hikers are well prepared and a band aid solution materialized. A few miles further my left heel began to complain and a second a band aid was offered. About 5 pm my wife called to "ask where are you" in a hushed tone I said "we are still walking...that is hiking... I'm all in."
A day later, I am feeling fine and looking forward to another hike in the near future.
Imagine living here...
Interested in hiking in this spectacular part of the world? Here are some handy links:
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