We're pleased to report that the Vineyards remain as spectacular as ever. Six club members participated in the two-night trip over the B.C. Day long weekend. Due to concerns about road closures, we took the Bowron-Beaver FSR rather than the Hungary Creek FSR to reach the Tumuch, because it is in better shape. What's more, we were able to more or less negotiate our vehicles - a Subaru Crosstrek and a Toyota Rav 4, both of which have good clearance - through the cross ditching and to the trailhead. (More on this later).
The hike up to the campsite was a brief two kilometres or so. Once there, we set up and ventured up into the alpine, taking the short westward option on Vineyard Ridge where we enjoyed a sneak peek of what was to come the next day.
Early risers that we are, the last of us were on the trail by 7:20 a.m. the next day. In slightly staggered fashion, all of us headed east along the ridge. Be rest assured, the alpine flowers are in full bloom and well worth the climb, as is the view of the lake to the south and the Fraser River and peaks beyond all around. We ran into a bit of drama when, off in the distance, we spotted a young grizzly bear standing in a snow patch along the ridge above the east end of the lake. It skedaddled back into the next valley at the sight and sound of us excited hikers.
While four of us ambled back upon reaching the foot of the last peak on Vineyard Ridge two of us continued on and into the next valley, topping an additional peak in the process. We were awarded with spectacular views and a bit of satisfaction in going beyond where many have gone before.
On the way back, we traversed a side slope rather than deal with yet another peak. We heard a fair number of warning whistles from marmots or pikas - we're not sure which - as we made our way across. It was definitely bear country although we saw no further sign of our host which, judging by the tracks we saw in the snow, was probably about three years old. Perhaps our bigger foe was the bugs. Mosquitoes, black flies and horse flies converged on us, particularly at the campsite. Plenty of bug dope was sprayed and mosquito mesh hats were the fashion.
However, up on the ridge, their numbers were reasonable, thanks in part to an occasional stiff breeze. The weather was generally good and surprisingly cool, given the heat that's graced the area for the last week or so. There were a few raindrops and, off in the distance, a show of thunder and lightning that woke a few of us very early on Monday morning.
On Monday, we broke camp early and were back at the cars by about 9 a.m. On the way up, one of the vehicles suffered a ripped cowling due to a misadventure while passing through one of the cross ditches. Concerned it could fall off on the highway, we resorted to duct tape (!) to keep it in place and inspired perhaps the best line of the trip when Greg Watson quipped something to the effect that "you know you put your car through something when you come back with duct tape on the side."
Thanks Greg for leading a great and memorable trip!