Snowshoeing to Cheakamus Lake

“Boring Boring Chicken Boring” as the saying went throughout this hike. Cheakamus Lake had all the promise of a beautiful trip. There was the snow, the skies were blue and the promise of a beautifully frozen lake with views of Whistler Mountain. However reality was slightly different.

OK, we may not be fair about this trip so do take it with a pinch of salt but we just didn’t have that much fun. With it being winter, the access road that is easily taken in summer was out of use. This meant leaving the car parked at the bottom hiking up ourselves. It’s a 7k hike just to get to the trail head at the car park. It was this that kind of killed the hike.

The hike isn’t difficult, it’s a relatively steady trail and well maintained. The issue is that there’s nothing to look at. And because it’s pedestrian, there isn’t the challenge to keep us occupied. Either side of the path there are “newly” planted trees with various look outs on the way, although the views given are pretty minimal.

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All smiles to start with

It really didn’t take us too long to openly say that we were bored of this hike. We had the kilometre markers on the side, so after what alreqdy felt like an hour, it was disheartening to see we still had 5k to go. The best thing that we could do was keep our heads and plough on. There was the hope that it would be worth it in the end. It’s always worth it, right?

After maybe 2 hours we finally got to the trail head. Already quite drained (more mentally than physically), we took a breather and enjoyed the fact there was some open skies – something more to look at that a new growth forest harvest. Maelys had suggested that we camp here. It was flat, it was open, and it did have some views – however I was keen to push onto the lake.

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“Seriously, we should camp here”

The next part of the hike was supposed to be easy as it was mainly down hill, but with big snowshoes on and trees to climb over, as well as our packs, it wasn’t as easy as the hike up. At least it was more interesting.

“Stupid Cheakamus Lake Trail – should call this Cheakamus Forest trail” were some of the mutterings that could be heard on this trail. No sign of beautiful lake views that we had envisaged however I could still smile at being here. Sometimes Porcupette is adorable when grumpy. It was getting late and the light was fading. We were in the shadows of the forest as well, so any light that was peaking over the surrounding mountains we soon to be blocked out.

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And so we go on

We were finally at lake level, and close to where we planned to camp for the night. This couldn’t have come at a better time. Porcupette had stumbled a couple of times and twisted her ankle, which unleashed a flurry of swearwords and “I hate this ****ing place”. I wasn’t super stoked either.

It wasn’t quite as easy as that. Just like with Lightning Lakes in Manning Park, the Outhouse was taped off with a hand written sign hanging from it

“Danger – falling trees – Closed”

“FFS” is what I thought. This was supported by another sign that said something along the same lines plus “please go to the next camp ground”. That was 5k away and it was already dark. Parks Canada need to sort their shit out with sharing information BEFORE people get to the site. We were in no mood to hike for another 90 minutes in the dark so we opted to chance it and set-up camp where we were, just outside the “closed” area.

The tent was put up swiftly and we head inside, straight into our sleeping bags. We had the while to kill before we were rady to sleep so we mainly talked how “I don’t think we’ll be doing this hike again in a hurry”

The tent was put up swiftly and we head inside, straight into our sleeping bags (I didn’t take any photos of camp). We had the while to kill before we were ready to sleep so we mainly talked how “I don’t think we’ll be doing this hike again in a hurry”. Plus a classic game of Dots and Boxes.

The next morning I muster-up the energy to go for a morning pee. I use this as an opportunity to take some pictures of have a little explore. I head towards the lake and it’s beautiful. The mist is hanging over the lake and in the forest on the other side. I marvel at the beauty and take a couple of snaps. I was a little under-dressed so I didn’t hang around long until I head back into the tent, wrapping myself in my sleeping bang and snuggling next to Maelys for a while longer.

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We hadn’t really recovered from the disappointment of the trail from yesterday and we were still in the same frame of mind. Lets get this over with and get back to the car. We had breakfast in bed but as soon as we had finished we packed up and didn’t hang around. Looking back, it’s a bit of a shame as the lake was beautiful and the weather was great, but … we did what we needed to do at the time.

Maelys’ ankle was a little sore from the trip and twis yesterday but it was fine otherwise. We made quick progress as we marched back to the car. Morale was better than yesterday, knowing we were heading back to the car, and a likely visit to The Mongoli Grill. We sang on the way home. This helped pass the time and keep the smiles on our faces. I mainly sang about the “bag of poo, swinging from my pack” (I was tired and hungry – I go a little weird – I thought it was funny).

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Climbing rocks back at the Trailhead

We stopped at the car park. We had to de-layer. The sun was beating down and it was just a beaut. We agreed that this would have probably been a great place to camp still. We cooled off by placing our faces in the snow, marvelled at how deep it was and finished the trip back.

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Peek-a-boo

Before long we were back at the car, warming up and relieved that it was over. We have been on a lot of hikes together, and had some interesting experiences (heatstroke, midnight bear visits, unfavourable choppy waters) but of all these I think this was the worst. I think for us, it was the drudgery of it, and we just didn’t want to be there. At least the other trips, even if they were stressful, tested us in ways that made us better outdoors people. They challenged us and we were focussed. This one was just dull.

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A much needed refreshment

Upon reflection, not every trip is going to reach the highs that we seek. Some trips are going to be better than others and maybe sometimes we need these crappy ones to remind us of how awesome the other trips have been. They put into perspective past and future trips. We still camped in the backcountry during winter. We still hiked. We still escaped the world. We still experienced. We are still lucky to be able to do all of this. Maybe it wasn’t all so bad. Maybe we’ll just chose a different trip next time

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2 thoughts on “Snowshoeing to Cheakamus Lake

  1. You go out, you experience Nature; usually it’s great, sometimes it’s not. That’s certainly happened to us and probably to everyone at least willing to give it a go. Your last paragraph was a nice sum-up. You captured our feelings when an outing was less than stellar with: “We are still lucky to be able to do all of this.” 🙂

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