Camping has always been an important part of my life. Since I moved to the west coast in 2003, I camp almost every weekend from late spring to early autumn. In the winter, I camp in the cabins of the backcountry. I don’t mind cold temperatures and am not scared of the wild. In fact, I always put up my tent in the wilderness, places where no one goes, and probably no one’s been. Camping is for me a way of disconnecting from the hustling of my everyday life, reconnecting with myself and finding healing through nature. In fact, for me, there is nothing like the feeling of the mothering power from the earth under my bare feet, the cleansing of my lungs from the pure air, the soothing sound of nature in my ears, and the eye candy images of the natural beauty surrounding me.
I have done truck, boat, canoe, and snowmobile camping. However, I have never camped by foot. I have done a lot of day hikes. However, I have always come back at dusk thinking how great would it be to sleep here under the stars. When I called my outdoorsy friend Claudel and explained her my plan, she jumped aboard instantly.
Most of the hiking trails here in the Sea to Sky are part of Provincial Parks or are watershed areas. Both owners of active dogs, we had to find a trail that allowed our furry friends to happily run wild and free. After a long research, I found Rohr Lake.
Rohr Lake is situated in the Cayoosh Range, on an alpine bench north east of Mt Rohr. The trail is a 15km round trip, for beginner/advanced hikers. I had never heard of it, neither Claudel. There wasn’t much information on the Internet or in the trailmap book, only a few blogs from people that attempted the trail. Perfect, we thought, an unknown and uncrowded trail, exactly up our alley!
We each packed a travel backpack with warm and light clothes, hiking shoes and flip-flops. We had one tent, a chicken salad, a homemade guacamole and corn chips, 2 panini sandwiches, a bunch of grapes and a few energy bars. Claudel brought her sleeping bag and mattress. I went commando on that. I had to leave room for the wine (2 bottles of red, and a sparkling for the mimosas in the morning. Oh and a 6-pack of ciders). Water, dog food, flashlights, whistles, lighters, tissues, cups, cutlery… Our bags were probably half our weight.
It was the last day of spring, on a beautiful and sunny late morning in June. We drove north on Highway 99 to Mt Currie towards Lillooet, on the Duffy Rd. When we passed Joffre Lakes and crossed the first bridge, we turned left onto an unassigned logging road.
We drove as far as our car could go, and parked on the side of the trail. If you have a 4WD, you can probably access the trailhead.
We walked the rest of the road to the beginning of the trail. It wasn’t much later than 15 min of walking on an easy surface that I thought to myself: Maybe Claudel was right, we could have brought just one bottle of wine…
The first few km were quite lovely. It was a very easy hike through a well marked forest trail. At times we hopped on rocks to cross streams, at other times traversed stomps over creeks.
After a steep path, we arrived at the intersection of Aspen and Rohr Lake, where we stopped to catch our breath.
After a confusion in directions, having to drop our bags down on the ground and search for the trail, we found our way and got back on track. The soil was muddy and slippery, wet and snowy. Yet, we were still pretty clean. We made our way to the alpine meadow, where a blanket of moss appeared under the melting snow.
There was so much snow still that no trail was to be seen. On our right side, there was a rock facade where the stream came down. We knew there was going to be an abrupt 300m uphill, and there it had to be. We left the bags on the grass and climbed the rocks. Miraculously, I spotted a red little flag attached to a tree, flowing in the wind. We scrambled back down the rocks, and picked up our loads.
This wasn’t easy. As much as I could freely jump from rock to rock without my bag, now with 50 pounds glued to my back, I felt unbalanced with a lack of dexterity.
“So this is what it is to hike with an alcoholic!” mocked Claudel, with a winking smile, while climbing the wall with both hands and feet.
Indeed, the fermented juice we both carried made the hike most challenging. Yet, so rewarding!
After climbing the steep hill, reaching for rocks through the stream and our feet sinking in mud, we made our way on top. We turned around and caught a glimpse of the alpine.
We made it to Rohr Lake, pristine water surrounded by beautiful mountain. Plus, we had it all to ourselves!
Why bring a mattress when you can find natural cushiness? I made one from cedar. Even Lady used it for a rest.
The wine was definitely worth the effort and the sweat!
We celebrated the summer solstice that night up at Rohr Lake. We said farewell to spring as the sun hid behind the mountains. We watched the stars shimmer the sky at night. And when the sun rose up from a short night sleep, we listened to the birds chirping to a new and beautiful morning of summer.