CHILLIWACK, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn. ~John Muir
Back in 2010 I decided to make some serious lifestyle changes. Amongst those was the choice to be active. It started off slow and required a bit of motivation. I purchased a walk/hike guide and each weekend tried out something from the book. Soon, a habit was formed and I learned to love and appreciate what the outdoors had to offer. It certainly wasn’t always easy but it got to a point where it became less hard and more enjoyable.
As time passed I began to add slightly more challenging walks and hikes to my list. Amongst them was Elk Mountain. It has been on my list for 3 years. For whatever reason something always came up. Thankfully this year I was finally able to do it in the late spring, early summer.
Elk Mountain is a decently steep uphill (but downhill on the way back) hike. It is lovely, wide trails for the most part. When we went it was quite muddy which made both up and down challenging at times without proper foot gear but overall, the hike was well worth it.
In total the hike itself was about 3 hours. However, it took closer to 4.5. I took a lot of photos and spent quite some time at the top. The hike started off clear and about 1/2 way to the top, mists settled along the forest floor. It created a mystical feel. It was one of my favourite parts. This hike is varied as far as scenery and climate. Near the top, the skies cleared, the sun came out, and it became quite warm. At certain times of the year the hike can be done with snow as well.
Moving through the forest you notice a lot of green. Everything is so lush at this time of year. The most amazing thing to me was the presence of a type of wild lily. Lillies are my favourite flowers so seeing them grow wild was amazing. It was the first time I had ever seen that.
The pleasant hike up was raised a notch when we reached an alpine meadow. This was the last stretch of the hike before reaching the top and wow! As you meander along the narrow path along the edge, you are surrounded by wild flowers in bloom.
On the right, the clouds began to part. By the time we reached the top there was a full view of the world below. It was so interesting to go from a forest walk to a meadow feel all within the same hike.
As if on command, the skies completely parted by the time we reached the top giving us a spectacular view and allowing us to reap the rewards of the hike.
If the view wasn’t enough, my heart melted when we were greeted by some very friendly chipmunks. We gave them some almonds and they stuffed their cheeks. There were also many young Whiskey Jacks. Normally, these are birds that will take food from your hands but it was a nice day that day. There were many large dogs on the trails and the birds were reluctant to approach. Understandable.
Finally, after enjoying some snacks, company, and views at the top, we headed up another 5 minutes to another ledge for one final view before heading back past the meadow. There is an option to hike for another 30 minutes or so to another point, Thurston, but we chose to head back. Carefully, we made our way down through trails and some muddy areas before the trails became nicer again. Part of the way down there was a viewpoint that we could enjoy now that the mists had lifted.
This is a gem of a trail and I am so thrilled that after 3 years I was finally able to do it. It was well worth the wait.