A few years ago I was getting into hiking. After completing the hike up Sugar Bowl with my family we discussed the next adventure; Fang Mountain. Since it was already September and I was living in Fort St John it was going to have to wait until the next year. Fast forward 6 years (where does the time go?!) and I was hiking Raven Lake with my family and friend for my bachelorette party. All I wanted was a hike for my bachelorette party so they agreed to trudge up the mountain with me. Fernando and I had done an overnight trip up there the year before and I was in love with it. I actually want to do a couples photo session up there....
Anyway! We were talking about hikes we had done, hikes we wanted to do, and what our favourites are. Fang Mountain is Chelsea's (one of my best friends) favourite hikes and I decided it was time to just do it!
I did the minimum research. Some image searches, hiking blogs and the Caledonia Rambler's website. I knew it would be tough, but you know how when you know too much about something you come up with all the reasons not to do it? That was this situation. Knowing the little I knew, I convinced Fernando that we can do it and that we can do it as a backpacking trip! Last year we had done a couple of overnight trips; we had stayed in cabins and it was awesome, so we could do this one....it just included bringing a tent this time (more or less).I also made sure to include a ton of survival gear in case something went wrong. I researched gear way more than I researched the trail. “Expect the best, prepare for the worst.”- words to live by (Muhammad Ali Jinnah)
After two hours of driving and about half an hour making sure our gear was all packed and ready to go, we were off! The hike starts off with a stream crossing. There were two options for crossing; the more travelled one which included a really deep puddle we were sure we would step in, and the log crossing. I only knew about the log crossing from my limited research but it helped us avoid getting a soaked foot right off the bat. Definitely worth doing some research before you go.
We came up on the old logging road that is the start of the trail, and it was a nice, gentle up. Perfect! As we went on the trail got more and more steep, but it was fun. Surrounded by lush greenery and tall trees it was the perfect area to unwind and destress. Ryley sniffed around for squirrels and rabbits as we made our way up to the boulder fields. After the boulder fields there is another stream crossing. And then it is up, up, up!!!
The up feels like it goes on forever when you're carrying a 40+ pound pack. We're not in the best shape so it might have felt like that even if we just had day packs, but I think the packs had a substantial impact on our speed. Chelsea had hiked up earlier than us that morning and we met her on the trail just after the second boulder field as they headed back down. After a brief chat we continued our hike. Honestly I'm not convinced that it is anything more than a goat trail that people decided to use since animals take the path of least resistance, but it was a trail none the less. The trail passes by a large rock face where it is only about a two feet wide, crossing loose rock with a drop to the downhill. I think Fernando was pretty much done with me and the hike at this point since he hadn't done any research and thought it would be like Raven Lake. But still he trekked on, determined to make it to the top so that I would be happy. Honestly, I figured the up would be the hardest part, but we had to cross a section where people had installed guide lines. We've never used guide lines on a hike before; luckily they are super self explanatory but we also had Ryley and we weren't sure how he would do with the crossing. Knowing other dogs had made it, we continued, with a fair bit of anxiety. We took a break at the mouth of one of the small caves and then finished the last 50 meters of the uphill trudge.
There was a creek flowing into the caves and we made our way along the sometimes slippery rocks to the next stream crossing. We weren't sure where we wanted to cross so I went to go across and decided we should pick a better spot. As I was talking to Fernando about this, I fell on my back against the stream edge. I couldn't get my footing under me to flip myself over so Fernando had to come and grab my pack to get me onto my stomach so I could get up. I was only really upset because my foot had gotten soaked! Damn...almost made it.
We passed beautiful subalpine fields as the creek meandered beside us. We heard Marmots whistling (which we thought was someone whistling for help at first). We took our time, enjoyed the view and said hi to the hikers heading back down. As we started the final ascent to the first lake we were told that the tent pad at the second lake was full, but the first lake was open (score!), so we decided we were going to set up there. Maybe 200 meters from the tent pad it started to lightly rain so we set up the tent as quickly as we could. Wouldn't you know it, it only rained for a few minutes. I took Ryley for a wander around the first lake and was in awe of the beauty, even on a rainy day. The little wetland lake with a waterfall flowing into it was the perfect backdrop for the night.
The end...for now!
We didn't go to the second lake or the summit. With the exception of about half an hour after we set up camp, it rained non-stop. It was a cycle of heavy rain then light rain, mixed in with some thunder and lightening for good fun. We packed up the next morning and headed back down the mountain, not having seen the second lake or the summit.
The second lake and summit will be conquered! My family is talking about joining us for a day trip for that one and I am really excited.