Being Outdoors, November 2022

Time passes all too quickly and November is here. The rains have returned to Vancouver with a vengeance and the fine weather of only a few weeks ago already feels like a distant memory. October was still a good month for hiking which I’ll tell you all about below.

If we were being outdoors today, we’d be sheltering from the rain but with a hot drink in hand we could chat about the glorious day hike we did at the beginning of the month to Zupjok, Llama, and Alpaca peaks, three summits along a spectacular granite ridge with views in all directions. Sure, it was a steep climb to get up there but it was so worth the effort, and the alpine fall colours were absolutely mind-blowing with intense reds, yellows, and oranges glowing in the autumn sunshine. Highly recommended!

If we were being outdoors today, I’d express surprise that we got out on two more backpacking trips to bring our total to 9 this year. We enjoyed a supremely peaceful Thanksgiving long weekend near a peak called Silent Hub, where we had an entire valley to ourselves for three days. Well, except for the wolf. Though we never saw it, we found its paw prints in the mud and we heard it howling, somewhat mournfully, both day and night. What an incredible experience that was – our first howling wolf! Oh and it was a full moon that weekend too! Perhaps naturally, we were a little spooked when we first heard it but it quickly became a sound we loved hearing, and I kinda missed it once we left the area. I hope that wolf found what it was looking for. The view from the summit of Silent Hub was pretty nice too. And yes, that’s deliberate understatement. It was absolutely stunning!

If we were being outdoors today, I’d admit that we learned some valuable lessons about camping in cold weather. Our second backpacking trip of October was an overnighter at the Helm Creek campground not far from Black Tusk, a well-known landmark in the Sea to Sky corridor between Squamish and Whistler. That night the temperature must have dropped to somewhere near -10 C (about 14 F) as almost all our water froze solid, the exception being one of our 3-litre water bladders that was full. That only half-froze. Thankfully, we had erred on the side of caution with our gear and we were plenty warm enough wrapped up inside our sleeping bags against the colder-than-forecast temperatures. I’m not sure I’d voluntarily go camping in those temperatures again, but it was reassuring to find out that we could handle that cold. The sunshine the following morning definitely helped thaw us out!

If we were being outdoors today, I’d say out with the old and in with the new: we finally replaced our aging snowshoes from 2006. We were so happy with our MSR Evo Ascents that we just bought the same model again. Remarkably, they were about the same price too. Now we can look forward to getting out in the snow and not having to worry about our snowshoes falling apart on us!

If we were being outdoors today I’d want to tell you about some of my urban nature sightings. Jericho Beach and Pond are great places for urban wildlife and I saw two beavers swimming in the pond, a trumpeter swan minding its own business, and had a mallard walk right up close to me. Down by the sea, a harbour seal swam in the shallows, barely 3 metres off shore, surfacing occasionally to keep an eye on the curious upright animals on the beach. I also had a brief sighting of a (Cooper’s?) hawk from my office window, which I unfortunately startled into flight when I stood up to check out the movement that had caught my eye.

So that was October. Let’s see what November brings, and hope we can get to try out our new snowshoes! Wishing you all an adventurous November, and I’ll see you in a month or so.

4 thoughts on “Being Outdoors, November 2022

  1. Eep for the water freezing solid while you camped… I am not sure I’d want to stay out when it is that cold. Unless it was car camping and we bring a whole duvet to go over the sleeping bags!

    1. It was much colder than the forecast suggested it would be which makes me doubly glad we overpacked for warmth. I don’t know if we could’ve managed a second night though – one was enough!

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