“So we’re really going to do this?”
“Yup. Pick you Saturday at 8:00am.,
And that’s how it started.
It was kind of drizzling a bit when we got dropped off just beside the highway at the Whyte Lake trail head. (Elevation 390 ft) There were a couple of cars in the gravel lot but apart from that it was pretty much deserted. We buckled up our Camelbacks and started off around the corner only to face the first hill. For the next two and a half hours we would make our way up the front of Black Mountain to Eagle Bluff. (Elevation 3550). Ya, that’s right. Just over 3000 feet. Up.
We ran though the forest for about an hour or so catching up on the last few weeks. Kids, school, work, stuff. Okay, so maybe we didn’t run the whole time but we kept up a pretty good pace despite talking non-stop. The Baden Powell trail is well marked with happy orange squares stapled to trees so finding our way was pretty easy. Eventually though, through the trees, we could see a rock face and we both knew what was coming next. If we had thought that we had been going up before we had a whole new kind of “up” ahead of us.
“Shit, don’t look down” was mentioned more than once. The notes on this portion of the trail mentioned to be sure and “lean in” to the side of the mountain. Believe it or not we were still having fun.
After the first steep climb through the trees we came out onto a boulder field. Seriously. A field of boulders. Only not a flat field. A field of boulders on a 75 degree angle. There were no more friendly orange markers on the trees. We were on our own. Crawling over boulders. We headed straight up but then realized that we didn’t know where the trail picked up again. I spotted a tiny inukshuk at the top right and headed for that. A few feet above it the trail started up again. We looked back down at what we had just covered and considered ourselves lucky to have made it.
Once that was done it didn’t seem that much farther up to Eagle Bluff. The final push was just trying to find a path up the bluff that had something to hold onto. By the time we got to the bluff it was raining and the clouds had closed in. Apparently there is a phenomenal view for the bluff but we will never saw it. Grey. Nothing but grey. Awesome, we climbed 3000 feet for this?
Back into the trees we went but if we thought we were done with going up, we were wrong. Maybe it wasn’t as steep, but it was definitely up. I may have muttered a few swear words at this point. The trail was muddy but we were back in the trees and a bit more sheltered. At some point a guy whizzed (and I do mean whizzed) past us. Wide wooden planks became the trail over marshy sections that ended our climb. For now. Our last half an hour was down a wide gravel path and ended at the Cypress Park Ski Lodge. The cozy fire, smell of grilled burgers and cold beer sign almost had us calling it a day. But no.
You see, The Best Thing in Life as that we were only half way done. Seriously. Stayed tuned for part two.