Adventures always start early. So we got up at 4am to hit the road. We were headed up Vancouver Island to hike Mt Arrowsmith on Judges Route. I had my crampons, gaiters, an ice axe and poles to accompany me on the 6 hour hike. There would probably be snow near the summit, and I was going to be prepared.
So here's my confession, I'm a newb on the hiking scene. I lived in Saskatchewan for 15 years and on the Prairies, a rise in elevation of just a few feet is considered a hill. So since moving to the coast three years ago I've taken up hiking. Until recently, most of my hikes were just short, afternoon type hikes; no overnighters, no 'mountains', per se. But this fall, thanks to the help of some more experienced friends, I tackled some bigger trails - and now I'm hooked.
Mount Arrowsmith was the next biggie.
Spoiler alert! We didn't end up making the summit. Our misadventure took course at the very beginning of our day - we had taken the wrong trailhead. An easy enough mistake to make. We got eager when we found some flagging marking a trail and thought this had to be it. Nope, not Judges Route.
But a route nonetheless. We followed the flagging up the mountain, way above the ocean fog. We ate our lunch on a cliff overlooking a valley. A whiskey jack ate peanuts out of my hand. And I discovered how awesome using hiking poles was for my knees - yay, no more pain!
We decided to head back down the mountain after the terrain became more dodgy than we excepted. There was a lot of scrambling on narrow ridges and the hours of daylight were getting shorter. So that was that. We thought to take a GPS snapshot using Google Maps of our location (amazingly there was internet way up there), and we realized we were way off the path! In fact we were never on the Judge's Route to begin with. So we had a good laugh, look a nip from a flask and head back down.
Yes, we were a little disappointed we didn't get to the top...but a day spent exploring the woods and mountains with your friends, is a day well spent.