On the north shore in Vancouver, we have three mountains – Cypress, Grouse and Seymour. I’ve written past blogs about adventures with youth up to Seymour, but this time, there is no youth involved. Over Thanksgiving, Mark and I wanted to do a hike and enjoy the trails a bit more before the snow started and the area became a snowshoe only zone.
Mark picked going up to Mystery Lake on Mt Seymour. A gentle 150m elevation gain, 3km round trip, and a decently maintained path. We could go slowly, take in the views, and if needed turn around easily if the weather got dicey.
Up we went one step at a time. This is important to note.
In late September 2018, I sprained my right ankle. Two weeks later, I broke it. This was my first ‘big’ adventure since my ankle healed. In August I broke my left radial head in my arm. To say I was a little timid doing this hike is an understatement. The last thing I wanted was to cause another injury and need to call the North Shore Search and Rescue Association. While it would have been awesome to meet my fellow Searchers – this wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to do it (I’m a member of South Fraser Seach and Rescue). As an AdventureSmart presenter, I always talk about adventuring within your limits so you can get home safe – because what’s the fun of enjoying the outdoors if you can’t get home to talk about it?
Ever so slowly we went up. Taking breaks for hydration. There was a lot of having Mark give me a helping hand up and down a few spots for balance. But, I made it. I accomplished getting to Mystery Lake. We wanted to go forward to Brockton Point or even further up to the peak of Mt Seymour.
But, I worried. A lot. It’s normal for my right ankle to fatigue at the turn of a dime and I often roll my ankle (softly) as a warning sign. I wanted to keep going but decided to turn around. I put safety ahead of the adventure. There’s always next time.
When we got to the junction of going to Brockton Point or heading back down to our vehicle, we looked down the trail to Brockton Point, looked at each other, and agreed that it would be a ‘next time’.
I have a few minor regrets, but also feel satisfied. I did a solid hike. I made the right choice. I didn’t push my luck. I had fun. I got home safely.
I learned that I need to strengthen my right ankle more as it’s still super loose (despite lots of physio and doing semi-regular fitness at the gym). I learned that my current trail shoes don’t give me enough ankle support with my injury to do rigorous trails. I also learned some awesome things about my raincoat and new pants (ventilation, it’s a game-changer).
Currently, I’m hoping to get outside once more (this weekend maybe) before the snow hits. This time, with better shoes, and hopefully fewer roots to climb over.
I’m going to quickly plug AdventureSmart and it’s great programs available. Since becoming a presenter, I’ve had the pleasure of talking to youth as young as five and adults that are probably older than my grandparents about the importance of Trip Planning, Taking The Essentials, and Training. I get to talk about gear, resources and share my love for going outside.
Head over to AdventureSmart.ca and fill out the form for a FREE presentation (donations to the group presenting are always appreciated as it’s normally a Search and Rescue Society trying to prevent calls).
You can always message Kimberly Burge if you’re in the lower mainland to make arrangements for a Hug-A-Tree, Survive Outside, Winter Safety, or Paddle Smart (someone else does this one on the South Fraser Search and Rescue team). As Scouters (and Guiders), we want to share the magic of nature – and what better way to keep it safe than to have Search and Rescue talk about how not to get lost?