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Back on the 27th of April we had set out to hike Agassiz but part way along the route we turned back due to white-out conditions. So here we are on a lovely sunny morning and we were ready to tackle the slope once again. All was going to plan as we left the house and arrived at the start of the logging road. As I started up the road I noticed a new ‘No Shooting’ sign. I guess too many were causing some close encounters of the wrong kind. We made fast time up the road, the traffic since our last trip had cleared some of the rock off the road which had accumulated over the winter season. So it was a bit smoother and we were soon up to the turn-off for the para-gliders.
Continuing past, we drove up the road, past the fork to the Woodside summit, next came the viewpoint of our coming ‘Field Day’ site in late June. Then it was along the ridge to Mount Aggasiz. The road is a bit less travelled here but still in good form. Finally at the 10km point we encountered the backcountry driver’s worse fear, a locked gate! It hadn’t been there three weeks ago but it was sure there today. After looking it over a bit we reluctantly cancelled our planned adventure on Mount Agassiz. Ralph suggested we try another close-by summit, I offered Dewdney or Sumas Peak. As he had never been on Dewdney, that became our new destination.
So with a locked gate before us, we backed down a bit to a wide section of road and there I reluctantly turned the truck around. Back down the 10km of road we went with few spoken words. Back along Lougheed Highway and then a turn to head for the Norrish Creek FSR. Soon we were driving up the logging road past a number of cars parked along the side near where the Dewdney Grind trail begins. As we neared the 3km point the fork for Dewdney came into view and the gate was open. I got the truck ready for 4x4 mode and we started up the steep initial section of this road.
The road was very rough in places with deep trenches dug into the road by water. Fortunately the gouges weren’t severe enough to block us on this trip, but if they continue getting worse we may be stopped next time. The road to the ridge is quite steep in a number of spots and we had to take it slow but soon we were on the top where the road is quite easy to travel. I turned onto the south fork and made for the spur that crosses the top part of the Dewdney Grind Trail. This part of the drive went quite nicely and soon I was turning on to the final short stub of road where we would park at the end. As we made our way up and almost to the end we met a couple wandering along the road.
I stopped to talk with them and learned that they had hiked the whole trail but were wondering if there was a viewpoint anywhere. I said that I understood that the trail continues a short way past the road and at the end there was indeed a view. So they located the continuation of the trail and continued the short distance down the south slope to the view. Meanwhile Ralph and I parked the truck and got our gear organized. Then we walked back along the road to where the trail crosses and we started up. This first bit of trail is a bit steep and one needs to place ones foot carefully. We only had about 500m to go so we soon were past the initial steep section and enjoying a nice walk amongst the trees. This section of trail passed a pond as it makes its way to the summit.
Once on the peak, we found a soft spot to spread out on and Ralph began setting up his Buddipole for 20m work. I tied my walking pole to a small stump and assembled my Yagi on it. Soon I was putting out calls.
My first call was with Mike on Empress Mountain, a sought-after summit-to-summit. It was scratchy and he was just pulling out, so we just made it. I continued calling and managed 6 contacts but they were spread-out and a bit of a challenge. Meanwhile Ralph had started with a rush of three Morse contacts but then nothing. He never did make a fourth CW contact. It seems that the bands were very quiet that afternoon. Ralph did make a fourth contact on my radio while I tried some low power 20m SSB calls, I heard a few stations but none heard me.
We had successfully activated the summit so it was time to head back. Tear-down went quickly and the walk back to the truck went without incident. We quickly loaded into the truck and began the bumpy ride back down. About a half way we came across a group of three hikers. They were doing the grind, or so they thought. I stopped to help them with directions, showing them on my maps that they had left the trail quite a ways back. They gave up on reaching the summit but still wanted to find some view. I encouraged them to get a copy of the Gaia map app so that they could track their trails better. Then we were off and on our way to home The final section of road was easy and before long we were on pavement headed for home.
So not the summit we wanted but we still got some points to log. Agassiz will need another try if we are to get it in the log this year.