Packed up our day packs and drove to Chilliwack. At Vedder Crossing, we turned left and drove just under 22kms until we reached a small gravel parking lot. This was the trailhead for Mount Macfarlane.
The stats are 21kms roundtrip, elevation gain 1800 meters, and the average grade is 16.8% (steep!) It was flat for the first 200 meters, then we reached a big log that we crossed over onto Pierce Trail
Then the trail got super steep. It was definitely not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. I dragged myself up through the forest. There were two short boulder fields to cross.
We came across a stream we had to cross and I had to balance across a log. There was a rope to hold onto and the darn thing wasn’t taut enough and at one point, I thought I was going to fall into the stream.
After 3 hours and 20 minutes we finally reached Pierce Lake. We took a break here and Shawn chowed down on his sandwich, I ate part of a muffin and some grapes. I planned to save the majority of my lunch for our lunch break at the peak. Despite it being a nice day, noticed that a fog was rolling in.
Then we got to a meadow area, with no trees. Beautiful wildflowers everywhere!
Then we had to hike through mud, then through a scree next to a waterfall, up a steep narrow trail. The fog seemed to be getting thicker.
Finally we reached the upper lake, and could barely see it through the fog. We took a moment to think about whether to carry on, because of the fog. We knew the general direction of Mount Macfarlane Peak and there was a distinct trail, so we carried on.
On our way up it cleared up and we saw a view. Same shot, with fog, fog lifting a bit and then somewhat clear of fog. Could finally see the lake. The fog only lifted for a few minutes. So glad we saw it.
We got to see a pika on the way up. The trail became loose shale. I did not like it one bit and was slowing down quite a bit to navigate through this part. Also, at some points rocks would come loose and barrel down from where Shawn had just been towards me, so it was dodgy and we had to take care neither of us were directly below the other.
Just about 95 meters from the peak with more slippery shale to hike up and noticing that we were running out of time and knowing I was going to take awhile to get up there and then down, I made the decision to stay put. Could barely see much of anything cause we were pretty much socked in. Shawn is like a goat, and can scurry up anything very quickly, so he went ahead to get to the peak.
Shawn’s photos at the peak (I didn’t miss much)
It was slowing going, to get down that slippery shale
Got to Pierce Lake again. this time we could see a bit more. Also saw some cool fungi!
It was a long hike down. We came across a couple who had just reached Pierce Lake and were planning to camp. They were thinking about heading up to Mount Macfarlane in moonlight. Hopefully it was clear for them!
We never really had a chance to sit down and take a proper lunch break cause the hike was so long, and felt like we were on the move the entire time with a few short breaks in there. We’d started the hike at 9.39am and we were back at the car at 9.10pm, just when it got dark. I used my headlamp for the last 10 mins of the hike. So, basically we were hiking for 11 and 1/2 hours. This was a tough slog of a hike and it was really too bad we weren’t rewarded for all that hard work with the views.
I thought about the fact that I was pretty close to the peak and chose not to go that last bit. I think it was a wise decision cause if I had carried on to the peak, I’d have seen nothing view wise and we would have likely been hiking back in the dark another 1/2 hour or more which would have made it all that more dodgy. Despite it being a good decision, I still have that nagging feeling that I didn’t “make it” and wasn’t “successful” on this hike. I think success is how you define it. Getting to the very top isn’t necessarily success, perhaps in this case success might be defined by making a decision that allowed us to have a safer hike and not hike in the dark! As hard as this hike was, I loved every minute of it. Can’t wait until the next one.