On an early Sunday morning we found ourselves on the ferry to Vancouver Island again. This time no bikes, but rather backpacks, hiking poles and boots. We found an isolated corner on the ferry, rolled out our sleeping pads and slept so hard that one of the workers had to shout at us: “time to wake up!” when we were almost in Nanaimo.
Jan and Warrick picked us up and we still had a few more hours of driving till we reached the trailhead for Flower Ridge. By the time we finished lunch and were ready to start hiking it was around 2:30pm, not exactly an alpine start. The trail was mostly in the forest, about 1,200 meters to reach the ridge, and after a few hours it started raining. We all put on our rain gear too late (Gili and I didn’t even bother bringing rain pants again…), so by the time we reached the ridge we were all pretty wet. The first thing we did was put up the tarp and once that was set up everything was much better. We cooked dinner, warmed up and by the time we set up the tents it had stopped raining. We pitched our tents on the edge of the ridge overlooking the valley. Unfortunately at the bottom there is an ugly mine, so we tried not to look down, but rather straight or up in order to appreciate the nature around us.
There was a meteor shower that night, but it was too cloudy so we didn’t see any of it. Last year we spent a night on the summit of Frosty Mountain during the same meteor shower, but then the sky was clear, and it was warm. The morning brought more rain, so we didn’t get out of our tents too early. The plan for the day was to “walk along the ridge”, and it felt like a never ending ridge. The rain had stopped by the time we started hiking, but it was still cloudy so we didn’t see a lot of views. That was unfortunate because this area is stunning. A few years ago we crossed Strathcona Park on an eight day traverse, and the views were grand every single day.
We had a bit of excitement when Gili dropped one of his hiking poles down a cliff, scaring away a deer below. He insisted on trying to retrieve the pole, so we had some waiting around to do, but of course he arrived back with two poles in tow.
After several hours of hiking and still not reaching the end of the ridge we decided to turn around, just as it started raining again. On the way back we came across a family who went up that day and set up camp a little bit higher on the ridge than us. After conversing with them for a few minutes it turned out that we had all met before on a trip to Mt. Albert Edward, also in Strathcona Park, on Thanksgiving weekend of 2008! That was quite a coincidence. We were all happy to reach camp, and had a much appreciated dinner.
On the third day we headed down to the car. We met a few people coming up for a day trip as the weather seemed to be better on that day. Lately I’ve been getting blisters every time we descend, so going down was quite painful. Changing to my sandals once we got to the car was a relief. We had lunch by the car and started the drive back to the ferry terminal. Despite the somewhat gloomy weather it was still a fun trip, and maybe we’ll be back one day to explore this area more.