Interest: hiking, exploring, reading, random shiny things
McGuire - a 'wacky jewel
Jul 17, 2016
My friend Paul is far more eloquent than I, so what follows is an account of our day in his inimitable style:
The forecast in Chilliwack was for thunder and lightning by early-mid afternoon so my wise friend Guntis pushed for us to do a short hike today. I am less wise and agitated for a proper epic but he prevailed. THANK GOD.
A fine day ensued, starting with eerily empty streets reminiscent of apocalyptic scenes but relaxing into a typical drive out through the valley. Good cheer was to be had, and great tunes to pass the time. Otto sulked in the back since he'd been promised walkies.
Having passed through the tranquil luminescent fog of the valley we turned off and made a beeline for a quick 2nd breakfast (because…hobbits) and then entered the destination valley. It was idyllic at *this* time of day. Silent and lush, with a river dancing down its heart. The FSR was no problem as we avoided the lurking traps (particularly the collapsed section with a rather big drop off beneath it) and some fine lumberjacks had cut a couple of huge logs blocking the way. After a time, we arrived, as one does.
Stretching, we admired the super steep mossy rockfall we had to immediately ascend. A promising start. A promise which was kept as the hike proved lovely, rambling over various terrains with fine views all about. In the distance darker clouds loomed, gathering their thunder, but for the moment fluffy tendrils floated by overhead. Having clambered up the initial steep portion and rambled along the ridge overlooking the Fraser Valley, we cut across the mixed rock and snow slopes of McGuire to find an easy way up. And up we were.
A peal of thunder kicked us off the peak - it was due in 1-3 hours (that storm) - so we scurried down to have lunch in a less exposed 'come and get me' area, then headed off.
This is where things got a little interesting, with one little twist after another.
The idyllic valley we had passed through in the morning was no longer. In its stead a war zone, with volleys of rifle fire punctuated by what could only be a cannon. Should have worn more (some) red. We'd heard tales of hikers returning to their vehicles to find them shot up. Partway down the steep muddy slope with fragile shrubberies that proved useless as support, the thunder came in and along with it, rain. Only an outrider rain as it turned out, but rain enough to make everything more slippery and to start soaking us. Several falls occurred. Then as we made it to the steep mossy rockfall, the next level of rain arrived and made it all so much harder and wetter. So wet.
Then Otto started snapping his head towards the forest to our left and barking in a surprisingly deep bark I didn't know he had. Was this Doggie Tourettes, my comfort loving cowichan sweater wearing dog having finally lost it, each bark an angry WTF? Or a warning that we were being hunted by a deadly predator? We hurried as best we could, carrying him down the trickiest bits and keeping him close as he is morsel sized.
As we arrived at the truck, a great stroke of lightning smote the earth, lighting the dark clouds above us, and the heavens opened up. Truly it was worthy of Noah. With (manly) yelps we frantically changed out of our sodden clothes into dry and leaped into the car to sip our end of hike ciders.
Outside the wind thrashed the woods and drove the river strength rain against the side of the car like hammers. At this point I thanked Guntis for prevailing as my trip would have seen us 10-15 km out from the car and atop peak #2 or 3 at about this time.
We headed off, roaring down the craggy FSR along with a newly formed river.
Partway down we almost got into a head-on with another truck barreling up the trail. We reversed and found a place we could just barely squeeze past each other, each truck partly in the bushes. I was on the cliff side but trusted in my grippy tires and expert placement. Oddly the driver didn't turn his head to acknowledge my wave as he passed by inches away. Curious, I thought. When Guntis got back into the truck he said the driver told him he was 'going up to go and practice his chainsawing'. In a biblical deluge. With lightning tearing the sky into pieces and relentless gunfire filling the air. 20km up an obscure FSR, having passed by 20km of perfectly good practice trees.
This was quite obviously the excuse of a psychotic chainsaw murderer with a body in the back. Otto had probably been barking at newly dug graves. With no further word spoken, in a grim silence, 'Far From Any Road' playing, we drove on through these the end of times but at a terrifically increased pace, certain nonetheless that we would see his black hearse of a truck appear in the rear-view mirror, his hand wielding a chainsaw thrust out towards the lightning filled sky.
Somehow we made it out, and after a fine Burgoo meal with Kristen the hike conclusion seems a distant dream.
Road: 15.5km, 1360m gain
Hike: 8km return, 980m cumulative elevation gain