Winter at the top of Mt. Gardner

So, didn’t I say I’d no longer be writing to this blog? Well, I just wanted to talk about this somewhere.

My daughter (C) asked if I’d walk up the mountain on Bowen Island, Mt Gardner, with her today. It is a treat for me when anyone wants to go into the backcountry with me. We would go whatever the weather. We left home a little after 10 AM. Hardly an alpine start.

The sun had been shining earlier, but as we headed up there were a few drops blown by a gusty breeze. It is a short hike – about 2000 vertical feet from the trailhead to the summit. In good weather, when I am fit (I’m not fit now), I can make the top in under an hour. So I decided that I’d wear my hoody fleece, toque and gloves, but not bother to carry a pack with food, water, and extra clothes.

By the time we were at Viewpoint 1 (about 1/3 of the way up – and no view) it was raining. But we were warm from walking. We were taking the route up from Bowen Bay, which is relentlessly steep. By the 1/2 point the rain was mixed with snow. At Viewpoint 2 (about 2/3 of the way up – and no view) it was snowing. The ‘Valley of the Trolls’ (a gully leading to the shoulder of the mountain) was stunning with its glowing fronds and dark shadows. At the summit (actually a sub-summit, but the usual hikers’ destination because there are views – no view today) there was 1-1/2 inches of snow on the ground, and huge flakes falling in spite of the wind whipping past.

We were soaked, and didn’t stay to risk becoming cold. The trip down was speedy. We had to be careful because everything was slick and slippy. We saw no other people the whole day. As a result of the recent wicked weather there are many new blow-downs on the trail.

Why do people love only the bluebird days in the mountains? This was awesome, and we were both glad to experience it.

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