Monday, July 27, 2009

Howe Sound Crest Trail, 2009

(First time doing HSCT, Gary, Tom, Jurgen, Peter, and I)

I remember the first time I crested those beautiful hills along the Howe Sound Crest Trail (HSCT). It was 3 years ago and it almost didn't happen. Jurgen Watts, Tom Skinner, Gary Robbins, Peter, and I, cuddled up at the Cypress Mountain parking lot. It was raining, cold, and oh so foggy. Not the type of day you want to do the HSCT as you would be missing out on all the spectacular views. Nonetheless, we all sucked it up and decided to get out there. It was such an amazing beginner experience. I lagged behind all the guys going uphill but seemed to come around once we got up higher. Jurgen and Tom ended up bailing out at the Lions Bay escape route, which left Peter, Gary and I to finish it alone. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I couldn't wait to come back and do it with better weather conditions.

This brings us to September 16th the next year. Peter and I were coming back from vacation and as soon as we crossed the border we called up Mark Grist and Tom Skinner. The plan was to go the following day, which so happened to be September 16th again. Peter and I have since deemed Sept 16th our anniversary day and have by fluke ran it every year on that same day since. A tradition that we will continue for a long time. The run was absolutely amazing. The views were breathtaking. We all stayed together and finished it about an hour and a bit faster than the previous year, although under pristine conditions.

This Sunday, 6 of us headed out do run the HSCT (Meredith Cale, Adam Way, Skinner, Peter, Glen Pace, and myself). Meredith and Adam had never run this trail before and I was excited for them to explore trails outside of North Vancouver. It was hotter than it has ever been before. I don't seem to mind the heat but you could just feel the rays coming down on the exposed climbs. This time around some of us decided to climb the West Lion. I had never done it and was all game to try out something new. I think all of the outdoor climbing I have been doing has really helped with my confidence in sketchy situations. I never once felt as if I was compromising my safety and I seemed to be able to ascend and descend with care and ease.

(A view of Pete, Tom, and I on the West Lion)

It was here that we ran into our good friends Gary Robbins, Tamsyn Anstey, and Ryne Melcher. We would see them a couple times throughout the rest of the day but it wasn't long before they were out of view.

After a few more climbs we were starting to run out of water, and the heat was intense. Adam, Peter and I worked hard getting to the top of the climb becuase we knew there was a water soure just around the corner. Here the trail split of right or left. Left took you to Mount Harvey but we needed to go right. I asked Pete if we should wait here for the others but he said Glen and Tom both knew which way to go. Tom Skinner has done this trail now over 4 times but how soon we must forget because he ended up turning left towards Harvey. We waited at the water source for a while and I finally went back to look for him. Yelling "skinner" repeatedly at the top of my lungs, my voice echoing in front of me, I heard a voice back. There I waited and watched Tom descend from Harvey. We both ran back to fill up our packs. It wasn't long before we reached the first lake, where we had all been dreaming of diving into.

(Adam Way taking a dive)

It wasn't long before we started our descent back into the parking lot. After about an hour and a half we were back at the truck, coolers full of beer, salt and vinegar chips, and endurox!!!! We relaxed, changed clothes, re-fueled and were on our way. I was feeling a bit nauseous from all the gels (as per usual) and didn't really take in much except for the endurox. We drove back to Cypress and dropped everyone back at their cars. At this point I was starting to bonk (good thing I wasn't running). It was the same feeling I had when my mom came and got me in Powell River. We quickly hit a corner store and I downed some Bark's root beer. I haven't had root beer in ages. It totally brought me back to life but I chugged it way to fast and got indigestion. It wasn't long before we got to Taylor's crossing for some pizza!

I'll leave you with a few more pics of the day. I will be back September 16th to do it all over again! I guess I should mention that I didn't feel an once of pain on the entire hike/run. I am back in action and it felt so good to be running again. However, I am pretty sore today. Mostly in my quads because I haven't done any downhill running for a month!


Oliver Brayshaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oliver Brayshaw said...

sheesh.. looks like my post didn't work out yesterday.


what i said was.. (for the third time) looks beautiful up there, especially the dip in the lake.

i was up in squamish climbing and trying to follow the shade around all day!

so humid right now..

good to hear your foot is better.

Steve said...

Looks like you had an amazing trip! I am going to from North to South on the HSCT at the end of this month. I am going to be doing the trail more leisurely and have been looking for a good lake to camp near. The lake you have pictures of diving into looks terrific, could you give me a little info about how I can find that lake? I have found the 3 lakes in the valley north of Brunswick Mountain but none of them seem as good for swimming as the one you visited. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!