Sunday, September 23, 2007

Crown Mountain 22 Sept 07

I did the unthinkable today climbing both Grouse and Crown. My muscles are feeling it now at 12.02 am. Is that really the time as I swig on Nelson Old Brewery beer and boil pasta noodles. I am eating dinner at this hour! Mad! But I am super hungry having lounged in the bath reading 24 Hours and drinking tea. The tea, that's why I am so awake. It could be some post hike shit too. I think strenuous hikes have that effect on me in the sense that I am invigorated.

I didn't do the Grind. Instead after waking later than I really should have done to do the hike in a proper fashion. However it wasn't that kind of day. It wasn't orderly. It was random and I am thankful for that. A second beer? It's Saturday night. Why not? No work till Monday. I am listening to francais radio, Espace Musique. How are those noodles doing?

They're done and now with the odds and ends sauce I made last night, zuccini, brocolli and spinach not forgetting recycled mung beans, tin of tomato paste, ginger, red onion and yellow pepper. Good feed. Seconds tonight. I got up late and tune into to 102.7fm Co-op Radio to hear the end of the Polish radio show, the name of which escapes me right now. The jingle for Redeye on same frequency starting sooner than i expected. Can't be 9am already? It was. I listened to one interview and the start of a second as i made porridge with grapes de Okanagan.

Quidk w5ir of the sacue o u know what i mean. I thoguht the grapes were blueberries when I picked them up in Santa Barbara. Nevermind. The sacue olso contains some potatoes and at least one carrot.

As I walk into the kitchen kicking over the Vim, what ever happened to Jif?, I look for the mystery pisser but realize it's my fridge defrosting. Damn this dinner is good. So after a pit stop at Blakes coffee shop to pick up a chicken wrap, a vegan breakfast bar and a cookie I walked to the Waterfront where I boarded a sea bus to Lonsdale Quay, chatting with a returnee to Vancouver and his partner. They were grateful for the tourist info I gave them. I boarded a 236 bus to find conversation with two English blokes of Bournemouth and Axminster origins. My parents age group we talked politics in Britain, the price of gas, painting, and generally passed the journey.

Fall is most definitely here. I can feel the chill in my place. Where's that fleece? I soon found the Baden Powell trail a wee way up the Grouse Grind. I followed for a while passing the BCMC trail and about thirty minutes in found the Larsen trail, my chosen route for the day to climb Grouse. I had the opportunity to climb this trail a few week ago in a Meet Up hike. That day after following the Larsen trail to the chalet I went on to do Thunderbird Ridge with a fellow Meet Upper. Today somehow after following the Larsen trail and almost losing the trail at least once I ended up on the BCMC within earshot of the chalet, and then bizarrely I lost that trail and found myself heading towards the Cut (the ski slope). I eventually surfaced at the ski rental building.

Shortly after I perused the Grouse Mtn map and found conversation with a guy who wanted to get to Goat but didn't know the way. I said I would show the way. I did and he hiked with me until I guess he found his way, no goodbye, no thanks. He just sped ahead. A larger group of hikers also headed to Goat were a little distance behind me but never caught up with me. I made the turn off to the Hanes Valley/Crown and discovered a chained descent and mud. Probably the hardest bit of the whole day. Not long after this I crossed paths with two hikers who had come along the Hanes Valley trail and they informed me a group of six were ahead of me en route to Crown. Excellent. It took me an hour to catch them up. They were lunching at the Hanes Valley/Crown junction. I said hello and continued towards Crown, now climbing. This part of the route some four hours later in reverse was also difficult. The time now was close to 2pm. About half an hour later two of the six passed me. It was only later I found out from them, Cang and Mark that the others in their group were struggling and turned back. Not long after they passed me I heard a great whooping from them and then a distant hello further back. Cang and Mark had seen their friends on the trail back to Grouse.

I only caught up with Cang and Mark at the peak of Crown. I lunched about ten minutes from the peak staring at a slim piece of rock that stretched eastwards in the direction of Goat for about 20 metres. However the end was hidden by the gently moving clouds. The spot was so peaceful. I only discovered after eating that on the opposite side of the ridge from where I sat was an amazing view of a valley and sunshine. The clouds were caught in pockets. Very different on the way down when the clouds were everywhere apart from a few respites offering glimpses of Vancouver, Tsawwassen and beyond.

I passed a German hiker at this time and I sensed his concern for my late arrival and large pack but he didn't say anything more. I could by this time hear Cang and Mark but could not see them. I continued to climb, the route getting ever more perilous. Then I saw them sitting atop the peak. Oh my god! So narrow. Mark straddled the rock while Cang leaped around with confidence. I put down my pack and climbed to where they were. I took some pics for them and they returned the favour. We then assisted each other in getting off the peak. Camel was threatening to make an appearance through the clouds but never quite did. Goat was also absent as was everything else. Helping each other we introduced ourselves in order to ease our descent. I lagged behind the whole way back to Grouse, but my new found friends were curteous and waited for me. It took us more than an hour to get away from the peak of Crown back to the uphill for Grouse. From there we made better time and even better time once we got back to the ridge linking Goat to Grouse. We got back to the info kiosk at 7.30pm, 18mins shy of my predicted time of 7.48pm. I had simply added seven hours to the 12.48pm check in time.

Back at the chalet we exchanged contact info and I grabbed a coffee and a Nanaimo bar resting briefly before heading for the gondola where I got chatting to a young couple. At the bus stop chatting with two Brits, the couple walked by and offered me a lift which I gladly accepted and we had a laugh driving back over the Lions Gate Bridge and through Stanley Park. I felt comfortable with them and so we exchanged contact numbers and talked of beers in the future. Not ten minutes later I passewd, oops the glacier that is my defrosting fridge, snagged. The cops siren by at 1.05am. Cheers VPD. I am sure the roads are really busy right now, not. I passed a work buddy. Then walking east on West Georgia I look down and see my boots cracked and looking very much set for retirement. They lasted the summer. That I had hoped.

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