Monday, 27 May 2013

Amazing kids and an amazing view!

The Stawamus Chief - our challenge
lay ahead!
This past Saturday, upon my suggestion, the Velo Family did something I've been meaning to do since we moved here in 2007. We booked a car and headed up to the Stawamus Chief to hike to the first peak. The weather had been calling for rain all week, but after a glimmer of hope on Friday, with the weather forecast saying it would be sunny, we decided to risk the chance of rain and just go. Along the trip up the Sea to Sky, we were met with rain at various turns, filling me with dread that the trail would be a big muddy and slippery mess, but when we reached the parking lot, the sun seemed to be trying to break through, so it seemed Mother Nature just might be on our side!

As we reached the trail entrance, we were met with this sign:

I wouldn't be lying if I said that I had a moment of sudden doubt about my kids ability to hike this trail, or even my own, but not being ones to give up easily, I kept my doubts to myself and we started up the 600m climb. 

If you've never hiked the Chief, it is essentially a mix of wooden and rocky stairs winding up the side of the mountain. At the start, you get to enjoy the roar of the adjacent waterfall, which was a marvel to our kids. My youngest kept asking if it was Niagara Falls, which we have told him we'll visit when we head to Ontario this summer. Won't his mind be blown when he sees the size of those falls! 
Our 6 year old making light work of the rocky steps
We also found out our 4 year is quite the hiker!
Not quite Niagara Falls, but still pretty spectacular
Up and up we kept climbing, every once and a while getting a glimpse of sun through the towering trees. Through that whole time, we never once heard our kids complain. In fact, they were the ones telling us to hurry up! As we took off from the main trail to take the trail that would lead us to the first peak, we were meant with something we had yet to encounter in our hikes to date...a ladder. No biggie, and pretty cool to our kids. And then came the chains. I had heard talk of chains needed for scrambling up the rocks, but had led myself to believe those were at the second and third peaks, the more difficult of the trails. My kids, once again, met this challenge with no trepidation, and once again, my husband and I were reminded of how resilient and determined kids can be, and that we should really give them more credit sometimes.
Feeling dwarfed amidst these majestic trees
The first of two ladders up the mountain
Using chains to scramble up a rock biggie!
That is one impressive view and definitely worth the climb
Finally, after a little over two hours, we reached the first peak. Towering 605m above sea level we enjoyed a spectacular view of Howe Sound while snacking on some refreshing watermelon, which my son now says is what gave him the energy to get down again. While our view was slightly obstructed by cloud cover, it was still pretty magical, and I am so proud of myself, and of our kids and their lack of fear and doubt. It was a great adventure, and I'm hopeful just the start of a summer of many more hikes to come!

Enjoying a quiet moment at the peak with my impressive children
Reflecting on a great adventure with my family

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