Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gambier Island Masochist Ubermensch - Done!

On the Water Taxi at 6am - on our way to Gambier Island.
The Water Taxi.

1st Peak of the Day - Mt. Artaban

Peaceful view from the top looking back to the mainland.

Running along the road on our way to Peak # 2

Neil and I at the waters edge - making Liddell a water bag too!

The trail going up Mt.Liddell.

Lost Lake.

The water stop - thank-you Craig!!

Coming Off Mt. Liddell - steep!

Lots of twigs everywhere!

Neil on Mt. Killam

The Water Taxi waiting for us - 10:15pm!

Thirsty in Horseshoe Bay!

Gambier Island is a small island off the coast of Vancouver that just happens to have 3 peaks on it that are included in the Bagger Challenge. There had been some discussion...could all 3 peaks be done in one day on foot? Neil and Craig started to up the discussion and curiosity so much that Craig actually did a reconnaissance visit to the island earlier in the week. While on the island Craig climbed one of the peaks (Artaban) and did a strategic water drop. At 6am on Saturday morning Neil, Craig, Dave, Wendy and myself boarded a water taxi at Horseshoe Bay which dropped us on Gambier Island. The first peak Artaban was interesting terrain of fallen trees, green mossy areas and that rock that is unique to the islands. I found myself wandering off the path a few times and noticed that I had to pay attention to the markers. On top of Artaban the view was so peaceful with the morning mist still over the water. I could have stayed longer to enjoy it but we had a mission to accomplish so off we went. We continued on a trail that crosses the island. Once off Artaban we went down to the water to officially claim the next peak a waterbag. We ran along a dirt road for a few km's and then found a trail that took us in the direction of Mt. Liddell. I was confused with my directions at this point and kept asking are we now going up Liddell? No...we are still crossing the island and will at some point come across the trail head. The day was warming up and we were all doing our best to not go through our fluid too quickly. Tough thing to do when all you really want to do is guzzle that bottle of fluid in your hand. Water was found at Lost Lake and Gambier Lake but I was paranoid to drink from it (had Giardia a few years ago!) The others used water treatments such as chlorine and iodine. Wendy very kindly gave me her remaining city water and she filled up with the lake water - nice friend! ;-) Dave lead the way and stopped when he saw some tape marking a trail to the left. He was asking this where we turn?... when all of a sudden Neil shouted RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!! We all took off like sprinters...I clued in very quickly that we had hit a wasp nest when Neil and Craig were swearing and ouching. What a freak out. Neil kept saying keep going...keep going...they were following us for a bit. Once we stopped we discovered Neil had been stung 3 times and Craig once. I always carry Benadryl tablets and an Epinephrine pen with me on these outings. I had a bad reaction last year from a combination of wasp and black fly bites. Both Craig and Neil took some Benadryl. What a freaky thing to happen in the middle of no where. We were hours away from the water and a taxi off the island. We now had to go back in the direction of the nest and make the left turn at the junction where the wasps were. We stayed high in the woods - all I could think about was that we were going to hit another nest. When you listened Wendy and I noticed you could hear a humming of wasps in this section. I was really freaked out but kept moving and tried to be brave like my fellow baggers! Not too long after this we found the water that Craig had dropped and a special treat of some taco chips! ;-) Nice salty ones! Once we started climbing Liddell it soon became obvious that we had to keep our eyes on the markers. There was plenty of decaying blowdown and scruff everywhere. It was a completely canopy covered forest climb where we were constantly going over/under logs and stumps. I put my foot through several rotten stumps and broke several branches that I thought were good hand holds. It was steep at times but the challenge was really trying to stay on the trail. There were a few cliffs near the top where we were completely off the trail but made the decision to keep going. Wendy smashed her ribs at one point. Ouch! Craig gave me a couple of good pushes to get up and over a few obstacles. Neil was pulling and Craig was pushing at one point. Once back on the trail it was a bit tamer. On the top we fueled up. Wendy packed a bag of Salt and Vinegar chips in her STORMY bag. Nice treat!! We made the decision to not go down the way we came up as we realized it was completely wrong. The way down was very steep at times. Dave lead the way and we never did find the trail until we were off the worst part. We just swung through trees and went down on our butts. Once off Liddell it sure felt good to get out into some open trails again. We followed a nice gradual trail for a few kms. Craig wanted to explore a potentail short cut over to Mt. Killam and we explored (I should say Dave explored first) while we re-fueled. At this point Craig pulled out a can of Red Bull. We had now been going for 12 hours - thankfully he shared it so we didn't have to take him down!
We couldn't find the trail we are looking for so there was team consensus to carry on with the route we knew. We found the trail head for Mt. Killam. Wendy and I were somewhat cautious with the night drawing near and of course one little glitch - I forgot my headlamp at home! We had 4 lights - 5 people - should be OK? Craig had mentioned that Mt. Killam would be a treat compared to Liddell. I guess I was expecting a flat sandy trail. I was a bit crabby that it seemed to really resemble Mt. Liddell. The terrain was very similar, just a bit less full of junky trees and stumps. A few steep bits with many stops for looking for the markers. We took turns looking for the markers throughout the day - oh the games we play to keep us going! Once on top there was a rumble in the skies - oh my here comes the Thunderstorm. Minimal time was spent on the top and we descended through the forests. It was getting was dark. Craig forgot his light down in his pack that he ditched at the bottom of the climb. Hmmmm...we now had 3 lights and 5 people and it is getting hard to see. Dave was being awfully quiet and he was falling back a bit. Wendy thought he needed fluid. I offered him a gel, thanks...I feel nauseated he said. I told him that sometimes the best thing to do is to puke and you will feel much better. Not long after this conversation I heard projectile puking behind me. We were all out of fluids but Craig ran ahead to his pack down below to get some fluid for Dave. Good team work Baggers!! We stayed close together to get us all off the mountain. Craig stopped to phone the water taxi and they promised to be there at 10pm for us. Nice! Once off the mountain we were able to run on the dirt road to the dock. Dave was feeling better and we were all relieved we would soon be able to get some fluids. Once on the water taxi the captain mentions he will reduce our fee if we do a side trip to Gibsons to pick up more people. An extra 20 minutes. What's 20 minutes now! Once in Horseshoe Bay we were heading to the car when we passed an empty Pub that was very welcoming to us dirty, smelly baggers. That pitcher of water was fantastic! We turned the lights out at 1:45am - we left home at 4:15am.
It's been a couple of days now, several baths and I still have dirt and sap that won't come off. My legs look like I have been in a fight with a big cat. I think it will be long pants to work this week. Well Done Fellow was a good team effort out there! (16 hours from water taxi to water taxi).
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson

1 comment:

  1. That's quite the adventure - you sure make me miss the trails!
    thanks for the awesome read Carolyn!