Thru-Hike the Baden Powell

Last weekend I needed a little thinking time.

On Saturday night, the idea came, and I started to get giddy with excitement. What could be better than an all-day, epic journey, from one side of Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains, to the other?

The Baden Powell (BP) trail was there, waiting.

My friend and fellow trail junkie, Sarah Carter, was able to explain a bit of the Baden Powell’s magic:

How can you not love the variety of sections this trail has to offer– up from Black Mountain, all the way down into Capilano Dam, up to Grouse Mountain, then you just get lost in the flowyness of the trail until you come into Deep Cove. So thankful to have this in our own backyard and to be able to share this dirt with several thousand others and their footsteps!

This trail is so beloved to me. When I started out trail running, the BP was the only thing I knew– and I somehow managed to get lost. The trail’s 48 technical kilometers have been the inspiration for some of my first epic running journeys, including one misguided traverse in winter, when the western part of the trail disappears to become a snowy, trail-less slope. The trail has known me from the very beginning, when I would head out with racing flats, and not much else. I’ve had many hilarious days on it, getting lost with friends or bonking and doing far less than planned. Since then, (I like to think) I’ve really grown up with the trail.

A view from the westernmost climb on the BP: Eagle Bluffs!

A view from the westernmost climb on the BP: Eagle Bluffs!

Before last weekend, I never experienced an urge to hike the trail, as opposed to running. But for once, I needed the extra time that hiking would allow, and I felt super patient. And with my dear friend Angel taking off to hike the PCT all summer, I started to enamour with the idea of pure long distance hiking. I realized that the BP would be a perfect thru-hike! And with the weird winter we’re having, it’s doable… now!

And so, I spent Sunday with the BP. Just as I expected, the trail delivered exactly what I needed. The epic day of traversing the North Shore was almost meditative, and by the end of my journey, I felt fully recharged. I even got to have friends along the way! My roommate Frank and his pup, Benji spontaneously joined for over the first half– way longer than planned– and Julien joined for the last third to the finish at Deep Cove, where we enjoyed some A&W burgers and beer.

Frank & I, and Benji! Both Frank and pup Benji joined me all the way from horseshoe bay to mosquito creek, which is past grouse!

Frank & I, and Benji! Both Frank and pup Benji joined me all the way from horseshoe bay to mosquito creek, which is past grouse! Yes, that is a Thai Girls Guides shirt. I was in Thai Girl Guides at age 7, that’s why I’m special.

 

The BP as a thru-hike: definitely worth doing once, even if you’re a runner and you typically run the BP– hiking it is a totally different experience! And if you can have friends join up along the journey, even better!

PS… some stats about the hike!
At a fast hiking speed, it took me 10.5 hours, which wasn’t too much longer than the running version, either.
I never got lost in the hiking version!
I never bonked in the hiking version!
I had no craving to devour gatorade at the end… just felt pretty good the whole time!
Tara, who was running the BP behind me trying to catch me, never made it.

Frank & Benji on the BP.

Frank & Benji with the BP.

Eagle Bluffs, the highest climb on the BP.

Eagle Bluffs, the highest climb on the BP. Think my camera lens was a bit sweaty here!

 

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