The weekend of August 25, 2012, was Carolyn's big big five-oh birthday celebration. She did it up in style and made lots of time for Team Dodgy plus Wendy to take her on a Bagging expedition to Capilano Mountain. For those not yet familiar, Capilano is one of the most northern peaks in the Bagger Challenge and also provides an excellent overview from the back side of mostly all the other peaks on the mainland. It's not super difficult to get to and is definitely recommended as a friendly Bag (go with others 'cause you're way out there).
We started from Furry Creek golf course and made our way up the gravel road in Neil's 4x4. It's about 5 km of narrowing and winding road that eventually consumes your vehicle in alder growth. If the gate isn't locked you will need to add about 1 hour of hiking/running time in each direction to do the 5 km road stretch.
We started on the trail around 10:00 am and were taking Neil's word for it that he new the way as the only member of the group that had been previously to Capilano. We had great weather and the temperature was perfect.
After a couple of hours climbing to Beth Lake and the occassional break to catch our breath we were ready to make our way onto the more rocky parts of the route. Neil had also been quizzing us along the way aboout important 50 year trivia on Carolyn with a points system to be sure the competitive spirit was alive and well.
The trail was relatively easy to find with markers in place and there was some blowdown to contend with. Eventually we made it onto the large-boulder scree slope and up and over the saddle to the next section of trail and amazing views of Brunswick, Windsor and, one of my favourites, Deeks, among others in that range.
Once on the other side of the saddle there was a mixture of forested trails and rolling granite slabs dotted with tarns of chilly water. Most of the tarns still had snow at their edges but we did keep in mind a snow-free one for cooling off on the return trip. Most of us went in ultimately.
We eventually made it to the top of the Capilano dome and proceeded to celebrate in style. In awe of the 360 degree views, cameras were clicking amongst the pouring of vino that Neil had packed in and the lighting of birthday candles on the brownies that Dave had prepared the night prior. With our birthday hats on and a chorus of happy birthday we did it up right good.
The notable views included the north side of Cathedral where Dave and I had been recently as well as Mount Baker far off in the distance. Not to mention the other direction giving us close up views of Sky Pilot and other peaks towards Squamish and Whistler. Since the sky was clear we could see forever in all directions.
After about an hour on top, the trip back down was typical: searching for the route endlessly and pretending it wouldn't take as long as we figured. But after a total of 10 hours we got back to the truck and were done with another successful Bag. Dave's wife Helen was at the golf course to meet us for a cold one but unfortunately the restaurant was closing so we headed off to Squamish to finish off the birthday Bag with a good meal.
This was also Liza's last Bagging adventure with Team Dodgy as she has now moved to Calgary. The Team won't be the same without her steady pace and Geoligical wit and extensive knowledge of all things rocky.
Way to go Team!
If you're interested, there's a more thorough birthday story by Carolyn on her blog at: