the monkman trail hike // SPRING HOLIDAYS

last wednesday danny and i decided to hike the monkman trail just south of tumbler ridge and spend a couple nights in the woods. we were lucky enough to have my mother in law available to watch sawyer the thursday night and then we arranged a sleepover friday night at nikky and matt's (danny's cousin) and sawyer got to play with his little second cousin eli all day - thank you guys! so we had three days and two nights to make use of and we wanted to see as much of the hike as possible and maximize our total relaxation time as well. so we meticulously packed our bags and gear keeping them as light as was possible, rationed our food, grabbed the dogs and set off thursday morning at about 6:00am. the weather had been calling for rain in tumbler ridge for the last few days but we didn't care, we were prepped for wetness and pumped nonetheless.

in tumbler ridge we stopped and asked a local which road would take us to the monkman park and she had mentioned they'd had a few bear sightings this past weekend and encouraged us to bring some bear protection like a bear bell, to which we replied, oh yes we've brought our bear bell - and it's a doozy, loudest bear bell you can buy! so as we were driving into the park, lo and behold, we spot a black bear in the ditch, and not gonna lie, that made me feel a wee bit uneasy. especially once we got on the trail and saw plenty of bear droppings and dug up mossy earth. but seriously, what's a wild mountain adventure without a little risk of animal encounter?

our first stop was the murray river camp at about km 7, just after the cable bridge. dex was definitely not crazy about crossing the river. the mesh metal walkway was a bit tough on her ol' paws, but she slowly but surely made it across the water. we stopped just long enough to have a snack and then got back on the trail. up to this point we'd been walking along the murray river through a thick forest and a rooty trail, hopping over plenty of fallen trees (this killed us on our way out, hooey). after km 7 the trail began to incline up the mountain and the scenery turned rocky and rugged. it was really cool to see how the longer we walked the more our surroundings changed, and every half dozen kms we would see new plants, new rocks and different colours, and we'd be in a totally different scene than we'd been in the previous hour or so.

we'd started hiking at about 10:00am and by 4:00pm we'd reached camp trot at about km 14 and where we would enjoy our first coffee and baileys of the trip.. sooooooo good. at this point we were at a bit of a crossroads: do we stop and make camp, or do we head on to camp cascade at km 22.5? being as there wasn't much to see at camp trot and that we still felt like we had some more walking in us, we decided to commit to making it to cascade and we got back on the trail once more. we trekked full steam ahead hiking up and down, up and down through the mossy or rocky woods, and finally arrived at cascade after a steep descent down a jagged rocky staircase pathway at about 7:00pm. here is where we would set up camp right across from a two-tiered waterfall and stay for the next two nights. we got a few tarps strung up just in time over top of our tent and then we enjoyed watching a thunder and lightening show from the warmth and dryness of our tent.

in the morning we enjoyed our breakfast of mr. noodles and eggs and walked up the river a ways to try some fishing from the shore - no luck. there was another waterfall directly across from us here and a third one down to the right of camp that we later walked to see. the rest of the day was spent recovering and relaxing, dan napping, me yoga-ing, stoking the fire and sipping on southern comfort, stringing up tarps and widdling my walking stick. it was a relaxing and restful day! we knew we'd need it for the big day hiking out the next morning.

we were packed up and on the trail by 6:00am and began the long walk down the mountain and back to the jeep. when we were packing up our bags and gear at home we rationed our food very carefully (stingily) to keep them as light as possible but still keep us fed properly. well we both agreed we probably could have brought a few more protein bars along, because by the time we were halfway out we were feeling malnourished, and we had the only fast food restaurant in tumbler ridge on the mind: subway. the whole walk out i was day dreaming of warm chicken noodle soup and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, mmmm. so we slam the 23 kms out in seven hours flat, only taking short mini breaks along the way, feet aching and achilles killing. we get to the jeep, stinky and sweaty, and start the drive back to town.

you know when you're so hungry that you get a little irritated? little upset? or in other words, hangry? well we got to subway and were officially grumpy bastards and it just so happen our customer service experience left a lot to be desired. we're talking soup in a bag, not in the bowl, splooges of mayo and a less than clean and tidy worker on the sandwich line wiping her nose all over arm. so not an experience that would normally get to me, but on this occasion, patience was running low, haha. but lets not rehash old news, we got our food, still tasted like heaven, and we got back on the road and headed home. after picking up some booster juices and epsom salts, we grabbed our little munchkin from grandmas and spent the rest of the evening limping around the house and enjoying being clean and dry and triumphant! it was an awesome time and would definitely do it again!

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  1. Awesome trip....I have been wanting to do this trail for a looong time.

    Thanks for this :)

    1. It was such a blast! We plan on doing it again this Summer with friends, but going all the way to Monkman Falls