Distance: 8.5km (17km total)
Elevation: 820ft base -> 4500ft peak (3680ft gain)
We parked at Mike Lake and set out on “incline trail”, which is as described, a straight-line, steady-grade trail that serves as a good solid warmup. After a few kms of climbing, you get out on an old dirt fire access road that gives the climbing a break. There is an initial shortcut trail that is more engaging – we took that for some foresty single-track like trail with a decent incline. There is a second “short-cut” that doesn’t provide a short cut so much as provide you a narrower, more engaging and harder trail, while the way around is a boring, wide gradual/mild climb.
The map warns of a dead-end trail, but it’s hard to miss the “mt. Alouette” signage that shows the way back into a deep-woods trail. From here on the terrain is very challenging. Wi the late snow melt, and no defined trail aside from orange tape tied on branches and markers nailed to trees, the ascent is very bushy, with lots of small, young pine-trees to brush out of the way and plenty of fallen trees to get around or over. In addition, areas that have well-defined trail are plagued with lots of large mud-pits and much of the trail acts as a creek! Matt was awesome considering he was wearing a cast for the wrist he broke 2 days before! Tip: I would suggest full hiking boots as an advantage over even hardy trail runners.
The progress felt slow with a lot of repositioning to find the next marker, but the trail is adequately marked. You must have patience to navigate through this! Next up was the snow, which at this time of season was in some of the thicker trail. As e trees thinned out and exposed some snow-fields, the second-last climb was visible. Steeper and with lots of snow to cut/stomp into but much easier to navigate as it was all old growth with minimal ground foliage. We could see the skyline more and more as we ascended this relatively short ridge. 20 minutes later on top of this mini ridge-plateau, we could see the final ascent, steep and short. Matt and I looked at each other and confirmed that it was time for the final solid effort and ascent. To the summit.
The summit: Another 15 minutes of solid effort up bare and snowy steep incline got us to the top. As the peak crested and opened up to the sky, the horizon came into open view and finally the cities of Langley, Maple Ridge, Coquitlam appeared far below. In the far distance, a cluster of hazy-gray rectangles that was downtown Vancouver was barely visible. It was amazing to see from above and from the distance, the 2 million lives that buzzed below, each working their lives to rent or own one space, some going to expand their venture to owning a commercial or industrial property and making that their life’s financial success and acquisition. It was humbling to see that even this would only be a speck on the vast city-scape that is brought together by the aspiration of so many individuals, families and companies.
Matt cracked a can of Stella, which he shared along with some delicious home-baked trail snacks. We shared the expansive perspective and feeling of accomplishment before making a well-paced descent back to the trail-head – which was loads of fun and a great reward for the initial climb.
Conclusion: The greatest challenge of the trail is in time you spend going through deep and rugged and inclined woodlands, following markers to find your way through. The distance covered in this section is short, yet it took about 1/4 of our time on our way up the mountain. This would be made increasingly difficult in rainy conditions or earlier in the year where more of this section is covered in snow, which you can’t really trust as some of it is a thin cover that breaks loose to reveal dead-space beside a fallen tree, a tree well or a light layer of suspending foliage.
Not a beginner’s hike, but if you want to do a hike that requires more than simple walking up and down trail, the view make it very worth it. Lastly, with the new Golden Ears bridge, coming from south Langley or Surrey, the trip takes less than 45 minutes to the trail-head, making this hike, along with many others in Golden Ears Provincial Park very accessible… So what’s holding you back?!?
As founder of Ivanco Fitness, my promise is to ensure your journey in fitness is unlocked and uplifted. It was the summer of 2012 and I was burnt out - I had spent over 10,000 hours personally training clients through rehabilitation to health, and from health to strength. Young and old and in between, I worked with these individuals to help them create their best version of themselves. While this brought me much joy, I was stressed, tired, and knew I was limited to only a small group of people I could help in this way. I had worked with other coaches along the way, and realized it was time to build a team and create a system that would allow talented coaches to create meaningful connections with those who seek to uplift their lives through physical training. Having brought the right people on board, Ivanco now works as a team of trainers, kinesiologists, holistic nutritionists and administrative staff to provide a more streamlined and versatile experience than an independent trainer could offer. Yours in health, Ivan.