For many VOCers the Brew Hut is associated with snow storms, whiteouts, 17 hour journeys to find the hut, high winds and low visibility. This was my fourth trip to Brew Hut and in the previous times at least one, if not all, of the above was correct. But for last weekend the forecast showed only sun and blue skies and high temperatures for the season. So we thought we’d try our luck and for once we’d go to Brew when we can also see the views and enjoy the sunshine.
It was my first big trip in the outdoors since I got injured in February. After several conversations with my physiotherapist and a general feeling I decided it’s probably not the best idea to be skiing. So I came with snowshoes, or as Gili call’s them: “Slowshoes”. Also Gili carried most of my stuff as my shoulder is still sensitive, including a big mattress we brought from friends, which is more suitable for car camping than for hauling up a 15 km trek in the snow, but Gili is tough.
Our group included four Israelis, us and our friends Ron and Dana who returned recently from a 3.5 month trip in Central America, and Mary, a British friend from the VOC. We picked them up at 7:30am, a late start by all standards. We stopped to park when we reached the first snow patch on the logging road. Gili of course wanted to continue farther but from past experience I had to put my foot down and insist that we won’t spend the rest of the day trying to dig our car out of the snow. So we walked long bare stretches interspersed with snow patches, and we finally hit continuous snow from the bridge. It was really sunny and bright and we kept on applying sunscreen, but some of us got sunburned nonetheless. We also took many breaks to appreciate the sun and our snacks.
We reached the hut in the late afternoon. Rumors said that there was no more wood in the woodshed, but a few of us dug it out and discovered a few more pieces in there. Gili and Ron spent a long time chopping the wood, but the most ironic part was that we ended up not using the wood at all as it was so warm. We cooked dinner outside and enjoyed the views till sunset, which is late these days. Then got inside and discovered that we all brought different type of cookies, so it was a cookie potluck. It felt very luxurious to be only five in the hut, that is not very big, but we are used to sharing it with 17 other people. At least.
The night went by quickly and Mary, Ron and Dana got up early, I guess because of the sun, but Gili and I didn’t wake up till about 8:30am when Dana decided it was time to go back to sleep… We cooked breakfast outside and spent many hours just lazing in the sun. We put on so much sunscreen that it almost felt like we were sun bathing on the beach. Ron also pulled out the toboggan from the woodshed and we amused ourselves with it for awhile. Gili and Mary decided to get some spring turns and the slowshoers just hung out near the hut. Every now and then we had to go back inside to get relief from the sun, very different from the typical winter trip to Brew, when you are so grateful to be inside to have a shelter from the storm.
When lunch came around we made toasted cheese sandwiches on the stove and then it was time to start heading down. Sadly we said goodbye to Brew. On the way down I discovered the real disadvantage of slowshoes over skis, they are really slow! Going down is almost as hard as going up. On some steeper sections in the forest I felt really unstable with them, so I just took them off.
As we were nearing our car we came upon a jeep with two guys that was stuck in deep snow. Some of us tried to help out, but there wasn’t much we could do. I think they couldn’t get their jeep out that night. We were happy to reach our car and stopped for delicious Indian food in Squamish at Essence of India. It was a marvelous weekend up at Brew with great company and we all soaked up some much needed sunshine…