After summer school ended, I was super-de-duper eager to get out of the city and spend some time in the mountains. I had a group together, and we were going to go up past Whistler to backpack, but, as you may recall, there was a mountain on the road. We quickly did some last minute research (thanks, Jon, for your tip!) and went up to the Coquihalla canyon instead, about a 2.5 hour drive east of Vancouver...
I'm only half heartedly apologizing here for the mass quantity of photos in this post (heaven help you if you're on dial-up, sorry!), but whatever, it was AMAZING, and between the nine of us, six cameras, and three days, there were over 1200 photos taken (I may or may not have been responsible for over half of those... shut up!). These represent only a mere smattering of the awesomeness that was the August long weekend! Click any photo to see a larger version, or, if you're a sucker for punishment, click here to see the full photo set on flickr.
* Hiked in to a wilderness campsite on the shore of Falls Lake, set up, chilled out, and tootled around. Ken decided to forego the first aid kit for a hammock and water guns, so we had some fun with those, too. (Yes, we DID have other first aid kits! :P )
* Hiked up an ATV trail to find a long pipeline path covered in fields and fields and fields of wildflowers. We hiked up quite a ways, enjoyed the views, the flowers, and the company.
* Came back down and got our little camping kitchen set up for dinner and Jiffy Pop. Mmmmm! SO delicious!
* Did some fun night photography that mostly ended up with hysterical laughing and frivolity and sat around our non-campfire campfire and told stories and chatted late into the night. And yes, way to many "ands" in that last sentence. Oh well.
* Got up for a somewhat lazy morning of enjoying the spectacular surroundings before heading off for our hike: Needle Peak!
* We hiked all day - massive swarms of mosquitoes couldn't dampen our spirits as we hiked through forest and into the high alpine with spectacular views of mountain peaks as far as the eye could see.
* After lunch, we split off - some went to an alpine lake, and some went to try to get to the needle, which involved some fairly crazy scampering up steep bouldery cliffs. There was one peak we had to climb up and over before we got the needle itself that took long enough (and was scary enough!) that we decided to stop there and just enjoy the views - which were FANTASTIC! - from there.
(Gee, I wonder why it's called the "Needle?")
* On our way back to camp, there were some bets made and some money laid out, and Ken (of the hammock and waterguns) made some coin by doing something nobody else was willing to do...
* The evening held swimming (OY VEY that was a c-c-c-c-cooooooooold lake! It burns! It buuuurns!,) dinner (sweet! Pour boiling water into foil bags, let sit for 15 mins to rehydrate: "We're cooooking!"), and stargazing. In the middle of nowhere, the stars were intense and multitudinous, and we enjoyed lying against a log and watching the early August meteor shower fling stars across the sky right, left, and center (can you spot the big dipper in the photo that looks all black?). SO beautiful, SO peaceful. I couldn't help but think over and over, "The heavens declare the works of your hands..." (Psalm 19:1)
* We packed up the next morning and drove to Camp Kawkawa for a swim in the (much warmer) lake and some chill time on the beach. We were treated to the most spectacular display of synchronized swimming (can it be synchronized if it's only one person? Water dancing?) to Enrique Iglesia's "Hero", had some more shenanigans with the Weapons of Mass Wetness, and revelled in a weekend well spent - just what summer is supposed to be.
It was only three days, but it felt like a week, and was the perfect way to kick off my summer vacation.