Day 20: Skagit Valley Provincial Park

2008-07-28

08h00 Hampton Camping (BC)
09h00 Skagit Valley Provincial Park (BC)

18h00 Vancouver (BC)
300km

During yesterday’s drive, I stopped at Manning Provincial Park, where several hiking trails begin. I was very impressed by the presence of old trees (500 to 600 years old!).

So I came back to climb Silverdaisy Mountain.

Very beautiful wild mountain. Difficult and fairly constant climb. At the beginning of the trail, there is a small sign, similar to that found along the highway, style “Adopt a highway”, except that in this case, you can read:Adopt a Trail and the name was: Sev Heiberg.
At first glance, I find this a bit crazy and bizarre but while walking alone, I surprise myself thinking that above all, I find this sing totally unnecessary. Who would want to adopt a hiking trail to see his name appears at the start of it!!!???

The trek is difficult because the climb is steep, the mountain is completely deserted, which increases the chances of coming across a bear or a grizzly, a risk very real in western Canada. I have Bear Spray and most importantly, a small bell that makes me crazy but that allows me to make noise and therefore not surprise the animal and provoke an attack.

After 3 hours of good climbing, I take a turn thru a relatively steep transition and then bang, the scare of the day! I come face to face with an old man in the middle of the mountain!

The encounter is surprising because you have to understand, I had walked for hours without any sign of recent human presence (no track, trail very limited in width, so no used a lot) and I am very focused not to get surprised by a bear and here I am, being scared to death by an 80 years man!

Even more surprising, the person in question is cutting the grass, branches right in the middle of the trail!

And you guessed it, I came across the guy who adopted the path! Sev Heiberg.Obviously, we talked for several minutes and I discovered a man who seemed to be an extraordinary person, and who made my thoughts about the motivations to adopt such a path completely wrong! He is exactly 82 years old and he’s there in the middle of a mountain, in a difficult spot, even for me, relatively young, experienced and carrying little provisions.

This meeting would give me much food for thought for my final push to the summit. A little later, I meet a man in his thirties with a young girl. They are also working at the maintenance of the trail. After a brief exchange, they tell me that they are with Mr. Heiberg to help. And they want to popularize this path because it’s not very well known in this region. We return to meet Mr. Heiberg because they want me to take photos with him. I accept of course, being more than happy to take the shot.Upon my return, Mr. Heiberg is cutting fallen trees across the trail. With a hand saw!

Of course, I offered to finish the job. ¾ of it is already done. Whew, I had to work hard to finish sawing the tree. Imagine, he had cut the trunk in 2 places already. I realized then that I was dealing with a very special individual.

In the evening, I will search the internet to discover that this man was one of the greatest explorers and mountaineers in western Canada and was the first to climb several peaks in British Columbia. I knew that this was not an ordinary man!

Speaking of the evenings, just after the adventure in the mountains, I went to Hope to find a small motel because I didn’t really want to camp (need a shower and a warm night!). Finally, I decided to contact a friend in Vancouver, Cameron, with whom I spend the evening out for a few drinks and who also offered me a room in his house.

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Day 21 à 26 – Vancouver


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