Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Rainy Camp Trip

A rainy camp trip was still beautiful
Last weekend we went back to the same place as last year for a camp trip: Fountain Lake

Last year she was still a puppy

This year fully grown

We had a different group, and different luck (or lack of) with the weather. This time, as we drove past Pemberton to the site, we enjoyed a thunder and lighting show as we safely avoided the remnants of small rockslides on the windy roads. By the time we arrived, it was pitch dark and rainy but thanks to an awesome tent, we got set up in minutes and could help everyone else. It's quite a different experience from last year when we were wearing t-shirts to this year with several layers and a rain jacket.

a very rainy drive
halfway through setting up a group shelter

A cloudy and chilly lake

Someone is not happy in the rain!
Still beautiful
Fountain Lake
It rained consistently until late afternoon the next day. Rain can be miserable but it's all about the right gear to enjoy even the worst weather. It's also about distracting your rain-shy Vizsla with games to keep her from complaining with lots of stick throwing and sniff games. This is where I'll go on to advertise merino wool as the best camping clothing. I was the only one toasty that morning clothed toe to head (socks, undies, shirt, hoodie and beanie) in merino. Whiskey had her new chillydog jacket and I was testing my new rain jacket (both worked great). A couple thermoses of hot tea and a well-rigged tarp ensured that we could happily play board games and nap until the sky cleared in the mid-afternoon.
Sleeping in the same bag
A couple strolls around the lake
Some low and high clouds
Working on balance
Lots to do even in bad weather
As we chowed down in the evening under a sky full of stars, we felt pretty lucky! Whiskey probably had the best sleep out of all of us. She absolutely loves sharing my sleeping bag and feels no guilt in waking me up in the middle of the night with a "punch" when she gets too hot. Somehow she is able to wiggle up and down my mummy sleeping bag and curl into a ball on my side (I don't let her crawl down to my toes). We've tried bringing blankets, even a dog bed before, but she's always ended up inside my sleeping bag. I've given into her now...

Really unsure about horses
Daddy...Is this safe?
Hold me!
Baby frog season
Getting sunnier!
Ariel view of Fountain Lake
The next day was beautiful, warm, and sunny. What a change! We took a walk around the lake where we met some little frogs. Whiskey "checked" them out with her mouth (all survived) but wasn't interested in making friends.  When we came across a couple friendly horses, I found Whiskey was more concerned for our own safety than curious about the gigantic creatures. She was clearly not comfortable with us petting them but I do want her to get used to horses in the future. Soon after, we had to pack up soon after lunch for a long drive home. The road back is fantastic and we made a couple stops for photos and drone pictures.

Outside Lillooet
Town of Lillooet

Fantastic views
Duffey Lake
Green Lake

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Elsay Lake Overnighter

20km (roundtrip), 8-10 hours starting from Seymour Mountain Parking lot
Link to hike OR this link 

Lake Elsay
This was a tough one as we didn't expect such technical terrain and had started later than planned. Carrying heavy backpacks we took about 5.5 hours each way with lots of breaks. While it was my first time on this trail, I found the trail pretty easy to follow even though there are loads of warnings about the "poorly marked trail". There were orange markers everywhere although I can see how it would be difficult to find the trail with fog or snow so make sure you are fit and experienced before attempting this one in less than ideal conditions. Also, there are a couple creek crossings which may be difficult in high water (we are currently in a drought so no issue there).

It would be so nice to sit down...
Well marked path in the summer
technical terrain
We parked at the 2nd Seymour parking lot (designated for overnighters) and started on the trail to Seymour peak's first pump. Right before first pump, there was a marker to veer off towards the Elsay Lake trail. From here there are about 8kms to get to the camp site and about 6kms of it is technical and tough terrain going down down down. Just a note of warning, we did see someone carrying their dog back the trail in a backpack because the poor pup had warn through their pads on the hot rocks, so make sure your dog is used to hiking on rocks and check their feet often.

starting out with Seymour's first pump ahead
my vizsla-goat
turn off to Elsay trail
From the turn off, we soon turned a corner to see an enormous panorama of the valley. We crossed about 4 rockslides and followed one more down. There are some streams along the way (about 2kms to the lake) and the lake itself was pretty large for swimming. For space in the emergency hut, make sure you get there early (houses 6). It was a long weekend and we were a bit surprised to find another 6 tents up and a group staying at the hut.

She loved the rocks
just wow!
my hiking buddies
Taking a well needed break
crossing a creek
The way back seemed so much easier although it took the same amount of time (this time going uphill). We had run out of water in the summer heat so we stopped by the creek to filter a couple liters while Whiskey rested on some mossy rocks. I was surprised since this is the first time I've seen her lay down on a hike! We made sure she had plenty of dehydrated food, water, hard boiled eggs, and she shared all our food. She even crawled into our sleeping bags at night taking turns with mommy and daddy.

setting up camp while Whiskey supervises
so hungry!! feed me
it was too hazy for stars
waking up with a Vizsla in the sleeping bag
swimming in the lake
heading back home
Overall the hike would be much faster without the packs, but it's still pretty long for a one day hike unless you are a trail runner. The payoff wasn't as amazing as many of the other trails we've done though I acknowledge we are spoiled for choice in BC. In the end I'm glad we did it but I won't be planning another hike or overnighter here for a couple years.

resting on the moss
so small in an epic landscape
my poor tired dog! only 2km left