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I last hiked Agassiz in September of 2017 and by April of last year I felt it was time to re-visit the summit. It isn’t a long hike and though steep, it can be done fairly quickly. So, in April of last year Ralph and I set off for the viewpoint at the summit. We made good time on the road though the clouds were looking a bit ominous and we did notice some white tinges on the mountains to the west of Agassiz. We arrived at the parking spot and geared up oblivious to any impending doom. As we started to enter the trees a light hail was starting but it seemed slight, so we continued in. Soon the hail and sleet was coming down fast enough to reach us through the trees and by the time we were a third of the way along, the ground was thick with ice and the hail was falling ever faster. We felt turning back would be wise, so we did and when back at the truck we saw an inch plus layer of hail on the road!
A few weeks later we returned to try again only to be stopped by a gate blocking access to the last few kilometers of road before the trail head. So, it seemed the summit was saying go away. Earlier this year I decided to try again, hoping that the gate would be open, it was, but the rain was coming down in torrents and hiking in it was not my idea of a fun hike so I diverted to Mount Woodside which would be much drier!
This brings us to today when the weather was better, but it was now more into logging season and I was again concerned that the gate may be locked again. We drove up the FSR and soon came by a truck with a group of guys looking for Campbell lake, they missed it but did tell us that the gate was open! I felt encouraged and after a few minutes chatting we continued on past the gate, past the road the other two had missed to the lake and then up to the trailhead. Nick and I got our gear on and we set off for the summit. Nick was having trouble with the steepness today and so our pace was much slower than normal. We made our way up the slope to the ridge and then along it to the summit area. Following my prior gps tracks does make it so much easier to pick the way through the trees. Last time with Ralph I had started to mark a few trees and today I saw the markers but I forgot to bring more tape, so trail marking will need to be completed next time. We finally reached the summit area and pushed through the trees above a clearing where one has a lovely view of the valley, it sure felt good being here again.
Today’s challenge was that it was mid-week when fewer hams were listening to the VHF calling frequency and with this summit being far up the Fraser Valley and the view being on the east side of the summit, I knew it would be tough getting the contacts. After a short rest at the top I got out my radio and soon was making calls into the wilderness. Fortunately, I soon had a contact from a Ham down below us in the town of Agassiz. The next contacts took a lot of patience, but I eventually had the four needed. As the numbers were so low, I decided to try some HF contacts and I set up the 20m wire antenna and spotted myself on the list. Soon I had a contact from Colorado – a high-achiever SOTA chaser. Then after calling awhile with nothing I searched for some stations who were looking for contacts and worked a station in South Dakota. By now Nick was rested and wanted to move. I packed up the gear and we started back down the slope.
I was having some trouble with the orientation of my GPS and at one point we had wandered off the intended route and were down slope of where we needed to be, but I switched display modes on the gps and soon we were following the path more accurately. The truck finally came into view and after a few more minutes we were dropping our packs and boots and getting some rest. Nick wanted to go find the lake mentioned earlier and so we set off for the fork to the lake. Once along side of it, Nick took a few minutes to cool his feet in the refreshing water. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and I was enjoying taking photos with my new camera – a Nikon Z6. It was such a treat using a camera 14 years newer than my old one. Once cooled off we turned the truck around and set off back along the road. We decided to take a brief visit to Stacey lake when the two chaps from the morning had decided to go. They were gone and we had this lake to ourselves as well. After gathering some photos we returned to the truck where met a couple coming in who were to spend the night camping at Stacey lake. The drive down went OK though I did feel that the road was rougher than normal, some of the cross-ditches were particularly deep. It ended up being a perfect day for the hike and I am now happy to have activated Agassiz again.