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It had been over two years since my last hike to the summit of Sumas. Though I try to get up there annually last year didn’t work out as my truck was no longer up to the challenge and I hadn’t found a driver willing to go. Fortunately, this year fellow radio amateur Bruce, was looking for a hike we could do together. We had been trying to do one for many months but schedules kept getting in the way. At last, we were able to organize a trip and Sumas was our target.
I arrived at Bruce’s house by 10:10, we loaded my gear into his SUV and we set off for the summit. Our first stop was to get some fresh farm eggs at a local farm, we then set out for the summit. Things progressed well until we got to Sumas Mountain Road. The big pipeline construction project had the road closed and we were unable to continue north. We had to back track and decided to approach the park from the north side. It was an area I had never been to so the sights along there were new. I didn’t realize that the road was still unpaved!
After the detour and altered approach, we finally arrived at Batt Road and made our way up it to the start of the resource road. It was in good shape and Bruce though cautious in his SUV made decent time along it. There were a few groups of cyclists heading up as well but not the numbers one often sees. We were soon parked at the end of the road and getting into our gear. Bruce had never been here before so it was all new to him. We walked past the gate and started along the final 2.5km of the road on foot. It being a cool day – ideal for hiking – we made excellent time up the road to the place where we leave the road for the trail.
The trail section wasn’t too muddy today which was nice. Bruce asked about the cell towers and I pointed them out as we passed them. They are somewhat hidden from view while on the trail. We arrived at the eastern viewpoint to find a thin layer of snow on the ground. It was a reminder that winter is coming. After a short visit to the viewing area to enjoy the view of the Cheam Range we each selected a spot to set up our gear in. I soon had my 2m Yagi assembled. I showed Bruce the easy way of attaching it to my walking pole. He found that very informative. I soon was making contacts while Bruce finished pulling up his HF antenna.
I made a number of quick contacts including a few with fellow club members back in White Rock. They had good signals up there. I got to 9 contacts quite quickly but then things just stopped. After a number of silent minutes, I had a response from Ken, a fellow club member. I now had enough contacts for the Summits and the Parks programs. There rest would be fun extras. Meanwhile Bruce was busy making CW contacts on the 10m band. By the time he shut down he 15 contacts and I had managed 14. We were both satisfied and packed away our gear and finished our lunches.
That last few trips I made an additional walk to a second viewpoint. It is only about 200m further along but the view is unobstructed unlike the first one. The eastern view is truly glorious. Bruce felt it was an amazing view and it reminded both of us about what the real reason for coming all this way is about. The radio is fun but these views are truly the real joy for coming. After enjoying the valley view with the low sun angle and mists across the valley dancing in the sun, we decided to start back for the car. Bruce looked over the area to see how it would work for an overnight camping stay. He found a couple of nice spots for a future visit.
The walk back to the car went smoothly, we encountered a few people but the place was very quiet compared to a summer week-end. Once back at the car we stowed our gear and started off for home. A few meters along we smelled a strong whiff of gasoline! Not a good sign. We didn’t think we had done anything aggressive that could damage the tank, but I guess one never knows. We decided to stop at the western viewpoint just a short way down the road. We pulled in and parked to check the car. Nothing could be seen wrong and the odour had dissipated. I guess it was one of the other two vehicles parked at the road-end. We made our way along the resource road and onto pavement. Once there we decided we would drive back towards the construction area and see if the side road just before the site was reachable. It would be a short time gamble if it wasn’t but would save us a fair distance if we could use it. Fortunately, Dawson Road was reachable and we drove it heading home. The rest of the trip went without excitement.
It was a lovely day in the hills despite the initial detour. The views reminded me of how much I miss getting into the hills and driving the back-country. I will need to get out here more often.