Monday, October 21, 2013

Mt. Dickens, my Final Peak to become a Compleatist in the Bagger Challenge.

On Saturday morning Neil, Dave and I converged at 7am in the dark of dawn at Cates Park Marina, North Vancouver to meet the Captains of the good ship Green Dog. Ken and Tom. We were joined by fellow passengers David and his son Harry. After successfully loading and launching the boat we headed out into the murky and very misty waters of Indian Arm and set course for the Wigwam Inn where we would moor the boat and head up the trail to summit Mt. Dickens.
It's going to be a good good day!
  It was perishingly cold on the boat, particularly for Dave and Neil who drew the short straws for the seats at the back of the boat. However, it was exciting for all as we really couldn't see very well and the navigational skills of the Captains and David became key to keeping us on track.
Captain Tom
Captain Ken
David and Harry keeping a watchful eye for land masses.
 We made it to the end of Indian Arm, and unloaded onto dry land at the creek bed that has become our entry to the steep east side of Mt. Dickens. Historically, Mt. Dickens seems to have enjoyed some popularity as a local peak frequented by guests of the Wigwam Inn in the early part of the 20th century.  Documented reports talk of Victorian ladies in summer dresses making their way to the top. This strikes me as somewhat questionable, particularly from the eastern approach, given the fact that the journey is essentially a steep bushwack from sea level to the summit at 4,225 feet!
Anyway, off we went following on what is now becoming somewhat of a recognizable trail up Mt. Dickens. There were a few dead salmon lying around (spawning season) that were a bit frightening, they camouflage well with the rocks - only the smell of dead fish gives them away!

 Certainly, we Baggers have done much to open this route up.  It is considerably shorter going the water route than coming in the traditional route on the other side of the mountain.
It was steep.
Typical West Coast forest
It was about 4 hours up.
 And so after a few hours we burst out onto the Indian Arm trail some short distance from the summit.  The Indian Arm trail runs south to north over the ridge summit of Mt. Dickens.  It is an infrequently hiked long distance route established some years ago by local outdoors enthusiast, Don McPherson.  So we gathered as a group there and made our way to the summit for a special celebration of Bagging success and trail camaraderie.
Dave and I celebrating Completing the Peaks in the Bagger Challenge with this climb of Dickens
Tom, Neil, Harry, myself and Dave.
The first female completest and the Baggermeister of the competition.
We had a great celebration on the top, a tea party! Ken made very good Chai Tea on his camp stove
Plenty of celebrating and good reminiscing.
David and Harry enjoying the views
More tea, biscuits and laughter.
On our descent, the fog remains below
Here comes the Green Dog to pick up the weary baggers
Bundled up on the boat - we enjoyed the views with the lights along the shore
Neil and Dave braving the return journey.

 This was the final peak for myself and Dave in the Bagger Challenge list of all peaks.  Neil completed a few weeks ago. This makes me the first female compleatist.  Quite an achievement for Team Dodgy!

We had fun at the top and enjoyed beautiful skies and warm temperatures while those at sea level were still in the fog.  After some toasting of achievements all round  - as well as peak success, Ken celebrated a landmark birthday recently, we made our way back down to greet the Green Dog.  Reaching the water just as dusk approached we loaded ourselves back onboard to a feast of salty chips, 7 layer dip and refreshments. The Green Dog does a great job of catering to it's guests.  It was a memorable journey back to Vancouver as darkness fell and the lights in homes along the coastline turned on to shine brightly along the waters edge.

 It was a great day out and many thanks to Ken and Tom for supplying the watercraft transport.  Thanks also to David for "inventing" the Bagger Challenge which has kept the last five years full of fantastic memories of adventures in the local mountains. Lastly, congratulations to Neil, Dave and myself on completion of all peaks.  Well done team and I hope you have enjoyed all the trail tails!  I look forward to some new adventures and challenges but a return to Mt. Dickens would certainly be entertained - it's a classic and an awesome way to finish the peaks in the Bagger Challenge. See you fellow Baggers at the upcoming banquet!


  1. A fantastic 5 years indeed. Congratulations and please take me to Dickens on the next journey!

  2. We missed you out there! Oh yes, we must do it again...