It may be a bit misleading looking at the title of this article, we didn't actually hike all the way to Mount MacFarlane, but it's probably the best way to let people "in the know" (Rob, Dave, Kim) know where we went.

Ok, so I may be exaggerating. Rob probably knows where we actually went if we say we went to MacFarlane

In fact, it was Rob who brought up the idea that this hike would be a good backpacking trip to help prepare us for the Chilkoot. In fact I remember Rob's exact words when I asked him for his suggestions on where we could go...

A good place to go would be Pierce Lake

It's in the hiking book as Mount MacFarlane.

You remember the hike, don't you Glen? You, Kim, and myself went backpacking there. It's the hike where you kept saying "I don't want to go down anymore!".

Ah yes, I do remember the infamous "I don't want to go down anymore". That's the phrase that has won me more ribbing over the years than I don't know what. It's a place where we had all gone backpacking about ten years previously. I don't particularly remember it as being a hard hike, I just remember that it had a constant grade to it and when you're coming down with a heavy pack on your pack, it's nice to occassionally have a break from walking down. Thing is, I don't think this hike had it.

Saturday morning, July 12th we headed off in Baby. We got to the trailhead at a few minutes after 12:00. Another lone hiker headed off just after we got there, a small day pack on his back. We then muscled in to our "it's better to be prepared than sorry" 30%-of-our-body-weight packs. In fact, we even purposely had a bit more than we suspected we'd ever need. A lantern? Not likely to need it. But it seemed like a good idea since it this was just one week before we were to start our five day Chilkoot extravaganza on which we knew we'd have to be carrying a whole lot more.

It looks like BC Hydro over the last few years has been working quite a bit in the area. Unlike how I remembered it, and unlike how the book described it, the first half kilometre of trail now along a rough road. As we were getting our packs on, we saw a Hydro truck come along and drive through the gate.

Soon though we joined up with the original trail, and walked along through the trees. About a half a kilometre in the real climb starts. The trail at this point was nice and reasonably wide, but it did have a good 15% grade on it. Since we had left Baby at just a little past noon, it was soon enough when we stopped for lunch. Knowing that we would have been the last group to start the hike that day, and it would probably be late afternoon before the early hikers would make it out, we just threw down our bags in the middle of the trail and ate trail-centre. Several kilometres in there's a stretch that goes around a rockslide where over the period of a few hundred metres the grade I swear must be close to %100.

We met the first of the early hikers coming out at about 3:00 just as we were crossing a beautiful creek (Pierce Creek according to the book).

Another hour and half and we were still going up. The path entered a heavy tree cover (still climbing) as it started to get dark. Suddenly we knew why it was so dark, it was raining. Fifteen minutes later it was pouring. It was pouring so hard that we stopped and put on our pack rain covers. It was useless to change into rain pants since our shorts were already soaked. We pushed on.

Honestly, I was quite concerned, here we are hiking in the dark in the pouring rain, who knows how much further we have to go. We came across the day hiker who had left a few minutes before us. His high spirits and wreckless abandon bouyed our spirits (certainly mine anyways).

A few minutes later we ran into another group of hikers, a guy and two girls. Again light gear. Certainly a long ways in for the weather conditions and time of day I thought. The guy was just wearing sandals! Again with their chat we felt bouyed by our conditions (nobody was outfitted better than us).

Half an hour later it started to lighten, and the rain let up a little. It also started to get r e a l l y   s t e e p! We pushed ourselves up and up. I hadn't remembered this hike being so hard. I'd honestly say it's not much easier than Wedgemount, and for that we just had day packs. We climbed over fallen trees. We skirted deep mud.

Finally we were there

Surprisingly the first thing we saw once we got there were some people canoeing on the lake!?!

What kind of idiot would carry a canoe up a hill like that?!?

There are two campgrounds at Lower Pierce Lake, we settled in at the first. Sharing the campground with us was a group of three, who we soon met as Leonard, Fiona, and Gail. Three work buddies out (for some of them) for their first backpacking trip. This as their first!?! Wow, we're impressed! While collecting water we noticed Leonard pull out his GPS and take a reading. Obviously somebody with common interests :-)

Comparing foods between what we had and the three of them had, I'm certain we were giving them much reason for gossip later. They had a good meal, brownies for dessert. We had boil in a bag turkey and rice, make in the bag pudding for dessert. They had pancakes for breakfast, we had boil in the bag porridge.

What kind of weirdo's have boil in the bag food?

I can hear it being said now... :-)

We of course did explain that we were preparing for our trip the next weekend on the Chilkoot.

The scenery is spectacular. As we ate dinner fog continuously moved off and on the lake.

We learned from our three camp buddies that the people in the canoe were staying in the other campground on the lake. The canoe had supposedly just been found hidden in the bushes, nobody currently at the lake had brought it up. Leonard, Fiona, and Gail's camp was also helped by having a tarp up to protect from the rain that was part of a set of gear that was just sitting in the campground we were in.

I think that's one of the nice things about backcountry camping. People are so trusting. Whoever the gear belonged to just trusted that it wouldn't be stolen by somebody else (but then when you're in as far as we were I guess nobody would want to take anything for the trouble of carrying more than you've already got).

The next morning when we left it again started to rain. As we ate our lunch by Pierce Creek it was just pouring down. We were too waterlogged and just accepted the weather. It certainly was good for testing our preparedness for anything on our coming trip.

At about 4:00 that afternoon we finally made it back to Baby, and jumping in the car we made it back to home in time for dinner.

Although at the time I think we were both cursing the challenges of the inclement weather, I do believe we both look back fondly on our accomplishments that weekend. We also met some good people. What more could one ask for?

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