It has been a number of years since I led our Scouts into a backpacking trip. I was afraid that I’d forget something or that I wouldn’t have them correctly prepared. I was pretty stressed getting ready for this trip. October trips in the Vancouver area usually mean tarps and rain – attempting to avoid a complete drenching. I was pretty leary about backpacking.
It turns out that I was over concerned. The weather turned out to be spectacular and most importantly DRY. Even the ones that didn’t quite have all their gear packed correctly, that would have spelled misery in bad weather, managed to keep it all together.
We were destined for “Alder Flats”, an area that is open and, unsurprisingly, full of alders. The campsite is along the trail to the peak for Golden Ears (a 12 hour round trip, big elevation gain, hike). The site was about 5.5 km in and about 250m elevation gain.
The beginning of the hike (about the first 3km) are quite smooth and easy as you hike along what was once an old logging road which is now overgrown to leave only a narrow trail in places and slightly wider one in others. After 3km things started to get more technical as you had to navigate rocks, hike up flowing creek beds and avoid slipping on the eternally wet tree roots. It was muddy in places and it was fun to watch the kids try to hop over and avoid puddles despite the fact that they had good waterproof boots. I kept telling them to just keep their stride and not to keep trying to hop and manoeuvre around everything all the time as it would only tire them out.
As we approached our destination the spirits of my hiking Scouts started to flag. They were wearing out. This was the first time that they had hiked, having to carry everything on their backs. Their hips and shoulders were tired. When we crossed the last creek, I knew our campsite would be close. We came across some flat openings in the fir trees near a creek and decided to settle there even though it wasn’t officially “Alder Flats”. It turns out that the actual location we had wanted was about 100m further up. The flats, themselves, didn’t have easy access to clean flowing water so I’m glad we camped where we did. We made it up to the site in about 2.5 hours. Our camping location was actually 49.36282N, 122.46951W
Upon arrival they all set up their tents and looked after all their necessities of camping. I won’t bore you with all the details but they had fun, learned a lot (like the fact that 1kg of pepperoni is more than enough for 3 people!) and that if you actually pack well all your belongings can fit in your backpack.
On Sunday we went up to the boulder field by Alder Flats and spent some time for Scouts’ Own and enjoyed the beautiful view of Edge Peak. We hiked back down after that – it only took 2 hours. I think they were motivated to get off the trail 🙂
Good Hiking Scouts! Here are a couple of pictures from Sunday Morning:
40th Marpole Scouts with Edge Peak in the Background: