After a long hiatus due to a broken ankle, I finally embarked on my first proper hike of the year – the Sumas Mountain Trail Via Chadsey Lake. Eager but cautious, I set forth with hopes that my ankle would withstand the challenge. Much to my delight, it did.
The journey started from the moment I hit the unpaved road and as I navigated through the uneven path, I couldn’t help but appreciate my Subaru Crosstrek. The road was riddled with potholes and rugged terrain, demanding a vehicle with a robust suspension system.
The well-marked paths and a fortuitous pre-hike video (https://youtu.be/dRS9liL6-qw) that I watched the night before proved to be a lifesaver. This video led me to a spectacular viewpoint that could have been easily overlooked. As I ascended, a couple I had passed on the trail earlier missed out on the breathtaking vistas and only got to see a fraction of what I experienced. As we would say in French, ‘les boules’ lol!
The hike was fairly easy for me but not without its challenge. Not your typical hiking struggles like the steepness of the mountain, wildlife, the forest etc. and instead my challenges came from the dogs we encountered. We saw a total of six dogs in the few hours that we were there, five of which exhibited aggressive behavior. It was disheartening to see the lack of proper training and control, and this experience makes me even prouder to be involved in an organization like PADS and to have taking the time to learn more about dog training and dog behavior. Anyway, I always upheld by asking fellow trail users if they wanted my dog leashed as I often leave my dog off leash while hiking. Surprisingly, this time, more people said yes which indicated the severity of the issue. Unfortunately, one aggressive dog incident led me astray. In my bid to avoid a potentially harmful situation, I swerved off course and found myself dangerously lost amidst orange-marked trees in the midst of the forest. I am using the word ‘danger’ because the hazards were real as we ended up in the middle of brushes being scratched, climbing fallen tree trunks, sinking into mud, and I eventually lightly injured myself. I was prepared though and my first aid kit became handy but this was the straw to go back and even give up on seeing the viewpoint if it had to be. Lucky for me, I had just missed a sign when feeling threatened by bad pet ownership and even though it felt like we wasted 45 min, my determination and stamina propelled me forward. I knew that the view was going to be worth it – and it was even better than expected that Buddy (the dog with me) and I stayed there for almost an hour. I just couldn’t get enough.
The hike reaffirmed my love for the trails and the exhilaration they bring. Though I wanted to tackle the Lions next Saturday, last weekend adventure made me realize the limits of my healing ankle, so instead, I set my sights on the St. Marks Summit. Another hike of a few hours and not an entire day!
In the end, my triumphant return to hiking taught me the value of preparation, resilience, and the undeniable joy that nature brings – but it also made me recognize that my love for hiking mostly comes with the love for its ‘price’. Whatever it may be and, in most cases, it’s the view from the top or a lake to swim in 😉 What is your favorite part of a hike?