Saturday, May 16, 2009

British Columbia on My Mind - Howe Sound from Black Tusk

This picture is taken from the top of a volcanic core called The Black Tusk in British Columbia, looking almost slightly to the west of south toward Howe Sound, British Columbia. The trail head to The Tusk is about two hours north of Vancouver. You can see a picture of The Black Tusk from the trail here. And you can see a picture of formerly skinny me atop The Black Tusk here. And you can see a great view of Garibaldi Mountian here

The trail is nine miles each way, with a 6000 foot elevation change. The last couple of hundred feet elevation-wise goes straight up through a kind of vertical tunnel in the core called "the chimney." You have to sort of shimmy up using leg pressure on the walls. It's really fun. To be honest, the last mile or so of this trail was very very hard. I was not in great shape and was not used to oxygen levels at 8000 feet, especially after walking eight miles already along with a mile elevation change. In the final ascent to The Tusk I thought my heart to was going to blow out of my chest. I contemplated stopping, but then decided I'd rather die right there than turn around (OK, stupid, I know), so I kept going, slowly. 

Once I got to the top I took a nap. After that I was so full of energy and adrenaline I ran most of the way down - laughing. It was fun running down the large field of volcanic rock - kind of more like a controlled slide or fall! I did the hike with the brother of a friend of mine - he was in better shape then I was! Oh, one other thing. On the way up a black bear with two cubs crossed the trail about 75 feet in front of us. At first just the adult bear appeared, and stood there staring at us, us staring back, and then I saw the cubs. It was way cool, but then I thought, "Oh my..." Thankfully Mrs. Bear decided we weren't a threat or worth her trouble and the three of them moved along. Whew!

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