I could call my hike today an epic fail, but I prefer to call it a lesson in acknowledging limits. I had mentioned previously that the weather had turned. I can say that we have gone from yucky rain to heat wave within 24 hours. It was a terribly hot day and night yesterday. The portable fans were going on all night. The windows were open. I took a Reactine just so I could breathe because of the horrible allergies. I still woke up with puffy eyes. The only reason I had a blanket was because the fan made exposed skin cold but where the fan did not hit, sweat poured. It was a yucky sticky hot night. And I woke up to a gloriously hot morning. It was already 21 degrees Celsius at 8 am. I was already sweating before I got out of bed. Not a good sign when you are planning a 6 hour hike for the morning. But I made it to the start of my hike in good time. My goal was to get there by 9am. I got there by 930am. I had no mishaps with my new water bag. Platypus. Lovely bag! Simple to use. Gosh there were a lot of people in the parking lot. Most were headed straight to the lake. I was not. Though I wished I was. I was actually looking for a map of the park to tell me where the start of the trail was. I had done my research on vancouvertrails.com but I wanted to be sure and find the location map. It was 10am when I found the start of the trail. As I crossed the floating bridge, I was thinking how nice the breeze was in the marsh and I really hoped it would continue in the forest as I hiked. However as I crossed the gravel path and entered the forest, I was disappointed to find no breeze, but at least it was shady. You can always count on shade in the forest. So I was relatively protected from the sun, but not from the bugs. I think the heat brings out the bugs, which was extra annoying. I did have bug spray on, but just seeing the swarms, made me want to spray again. I didn’t. The first hour was pretty good. I had to stop a few times because right away, there was an incline. Thank goodness for my water bag and thank goodness I listened to Sister C and I brought extra water. It was really very hot. The trail continued going up and up and then opened up for just a little bit as I walked under some power lines, and then it was back into the forest. And that’s when it got worse. The switchbacks. I don’t know how many there were, but it was tough. By then, I had either slowed down so much that the groups behind me were catching up or the groups behind me were in fantastic shape and made superb time and caught up with me. I’m gonna say I slowed down and the groups caught up. The only thing that made me feel a little better was that I noticed the groups that passed me also were struggling with the switchbacks. As I got higher and higher, I started tripping on rocks and roots, so it was time for another water break. I know my body. When I start to trip, I’m getting tired. I’m beginning to drag my feet. I was also beginning to stop at each switch back, which didn’t bother me so much. It was a pretty tough incline. But then I got dizzy. So time for an extra long water break. Now, I don’t know if this is a mistake, but I sat down on a log. It was the perfect spot, just at the corner of another switch back. And from the looks of it, other people have used this as a rest stop as well, since the log was free from moss. So I sat and sat and drank water and waited for the dizzy spell to go away. Several more groups passed by. The one thing I’ve noticed about hikers, is that they are a friendly bunch. Everyone says “Hi. How are you?” You don’t get that from people you pass on the city street, but you get a greeting from almost all the people who pass you by in the forest. I like that. Anyway, as I sat there watching the people struggling up, I also started to see the people who had passed me, head back down. And there was one couple who was headed up, the guy, I would say that he was trying to encourage his wife, but he wasn’t too inspiring. If I was the wife, the only reason I’d keep going was to tell him to shut up, that the things he was saying and doing was not encouraging at all, but rather infuriating. I think it’s a husband-wife team, only because the things he said, I don’t think a guy would say to a girlfriend. Well, as the wife struggled up, and she was struggling, an older gentlemen was coming down. And he was encouraging. He told them that it was only twenty minutes to the top. And for whatever reason, that was enough for me to decide that I had to turn back. I was still a bit dizzy and I was drinking a lot of water. And it was getting hotter as I sat there. If I was stopping at each switchback, then it would take me way more than twenty minutes to get to the top. So I turned back. Thank goodness it wasn’t the Grouse Grind or I would’ve wrecked my knees. But even after deciding to head back, I knew there would still be a while before I returned to the start of the trail.
In total, I hiked for three hours in the heat. And I drank over a litre of water in that time period. I brought 2.5 litres. If I had attempted to complete the trail, I would not have had enough water with me. But as I sat in the car, I wasn’t really thinking about that. I was just thinking that I could not finish the trail in this weather. What will happen in New Zealand when I attempt the Tongariro Alpine Crossing? I know I’ll be there in the summer, but what are their summers like? Is it heat wave weather? I am also making the assumption that the weather will be nice on the day of the walk. But I was definitely disappointed that I could not even make it to the first view point. But after visiting Sister C and playing with Big Z and Little Z, I realize that I could’ve gotten really sick if I tried to keep going in the heat. It’s not an easy decision to quit and turn back. I hate to be beaten. But that just means another attempt later on. I will complete this hike eventually. I will make sure it happens.