15 enthusiastic hikers arrived on July 31st for 3 full days of hiking in Cathedral Provincial Park near Keremeos. Two of the participants stayed in the lodge while the others camped at Quiniscoe Lake. The sites were first come first serve, so we were lucky to get an area together.
The group was shuttled in and could bring 2 items each. This ranged from massive hockey bags filled with outdoor gear, to coolers of food/drink and containers of car camp cook wear to make gourmet meals. There were small solo tents that fit 2 per pad and some larger 3-person tents that filled the entire pad. We also had the RVers who really wanted to participate in this event and subjected themselves to 3 nights in a tent! What a trooper Ron! He may never tent again, but he sure enjoyed the hikes.
On the first day, we did a bit of an orientation walk around the lake, locating everything needed for our stay. The next 3 days were filled with 7-8 hours of hiking in the alpine.
Our hikes included Lakeview Mountain, the full Rim Loop, and the Boxcar. With the current forest fires, south of us in Washington and north in Clinton, the area was hazy at times, but the day we did the rim hike we had clear skies in the morning with great views. We felt the heat on the exposed ridges and the smoke was hard on the lungs for some people, making the uphill sections a bit more challenging than normal. Our longest day was the 21 km rim hike which was draining after a full day in the sun.
While the heat and smoke were a factor, the biggest annoyance were the flies and mosquitoes. Almost everyone had fly bites on their legs, regardless of bug spray. Speaking of bug spray, we had a small boy run from his camp toward our group with a $20 bill his mom gave him to try and buy some bug spray off us. They were desperate for relief! We told him to keep the money and Susan parted with her spray to give the suffering family.
We also had some unexpected wildlife viewing. Each morning we woke to the stomping of hooves as a small herd of goats made their way through the campground looking for signs of salt (AKA night time pee spots). They graced our presence off and on throughout the day adding to our outdoor experience.
Around camp we also saw a few deer with their fawns, a lovely young buck with velvet antlers, a rabbit who came by in the morning, the mouse that lived under Alexis's tent pad, and a variety of squirrels/chipmunks and Clark's nut crackers all looking for that opportune moment to snatch some food or tear open a bag.
In the evening Alexis hosted a round of "Bones" (dice game) resulting in Susan winning the final round on the final night. Congrats to Susan!
On the last day, the smoke was quite bad so we were glad to have spent our time under better conditions. Everyone packed up and shuttled out, but Dave and I decided to save some money and get a bit more exercise by backpacking out. It was a nice 4.5 hour walk on an enjoyable route that was mostly downhill !
Thanks to everyone who participated this event. Other than tending to a few blisters, there were no injuries, problems or concerns during our stay, making this trip a pleasure for me, as an organizer.
Happy Trails, Dianne