This was the kind of day I envisioned when we moved back to the coast and pledged that we would live a more active life. We now live 2 minutes from the ocean and 30 minutes or so from the mountains and yesterday I took full advantage of this. My only regret is that I did not start the day with my family but a return trip with everyone is not far off.
I am not a fan of hiking in the back-country by myself so I have not spent nearly enough time in the mountains this year. We have done shorter hikes with the kids but longer hikes have been a challenge as they are pretty young. A few weeks back I read a story about free guided hikes from the Strathcona Wilderness Institute and I figured that this would be a great way to get out on those trails but even then it still took me a while to fit a mountain hike into our schedule. Yesterday was the day.
I left before the rest of the family woke up (it’s OK, they knew about it) and admired the early morning light over the ocean as I drove towards the mountains. I stopped for one geocache on the way before arriving at the Alpine Lodge at the Mount Washington Ski Hill. Not too many people were around this early so I did some caching around the village before meeting the group for the hike. As soon as the hike started I could not stop asking myself why I had not come up here before now. The scenery was stunning, the trails were excellent, and there were so many people on the trails that hiking solo would not have been an issue at all. The guided hike was fun and I learned a lot about other trails in the park, bird life, plant life, and what I would see here during different seasons. Surprisingly I was only one of four (including the guide) on the hike as I would have thought others would be keen to learn more about this beautiful area. I decided to be a hiker and photographer on this day and I forgot about finding all the geocaches on the trail. There were only three of them on our loop and I knew I would be back soon enough. There just happened to be a geocache near a lake where we stopped for a few minutes so I could not help sneaking off and making a find.
There were sections of the trail which would be perfect to take the whole family and I have promised to take them up here during the fall colours in a few weeks time. On this day, with the walking I did before the main hike plus some caching after the hike, I found 5 caches while walking almost 13km. This alone would be a fantastic day out but this was not going to be all for me. I returned home at around 3pm and prepared for a seaside geocaching event that evening. Cache #6 for that day was a very well done event with a lot of familiar faces. The event was set at a campground and included a GPS led scavenger hunt, a BBQ and potluck dinner, some raffle prizes, and S’mores (not for me). The kids are older now since the last event we attended and they seem to be more mature and I think we had more fun than we had in the past. All other events were a lot of fun but at this one the kids just seemed to be more relaxed and would go and play and allowed us adults to socialize.
Sea to Sky to Sea with some geocaching mixed in. In our world it does not get much better than that.