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As a small child I lived on the lower slopes of Hollyburn Mountain. Over the years I have driven past Cypress Bowl countless times on my way to other adventures, never giving it more then a passing thought and so it went for 50 years! It seems that we often miss the things right in front of us, and so it was with Hollyburn Mountain. In driving past the entrance to the park I would regularly comment that one day I will need to see what was up there. Well that day finally came – though it ended up being a challenging day to visit. Being mid-summer it just so happened that today quickly became one of the hottest of the season – not the best hiking weather!
The drive to the park and parking area went without incident as 95% of the drive was my normal route to so many of my regular points of interest. Things got a bit confusing when we reached to top as our hiking book didn’t make it clear where we were to park and start the hike. So this left us a bit uncertain. Once parked our next task was to setup the cross-band repeater for some further testing. This caused me some severe grief as we were not able to make a good connection to the White Rock Repeater through the setup. In reviewing the equipment later, I discovered that the coax had a defective end which was causing serious signal loss. As this was a longer hike then Ford Mountain I was hoping it would confirm if the 2m Yagi would work well enough for 440Mhz.
So once the radio was operational we set out up the trails. It took us a little while and one wrong turn to get properly synced between the guide book and the actual trail. But once that was figured out the rest of the hike went without confusion. We climbed along the power lines to the first of the lakes – fourth Lake! And then up the Baden-Powell trail towards the peak. We hiked past a number of ponds along the way and a fair amount of muddy areas as we made our way up the trail to where our hike left the Baden-Powell. By this time the day was getting quite hot and the heat was giving us more of a work out than the actual hike.
We continued up the slope, through some forested areas and then along the edge of a group of small alpine ponds. The Hollyburn area has a large number of small ponds from the parking area all the way up to the peak itself. Of the peaks I have climbed none come close to having the number that grace the slope of Hollyburn. We continued our way up the trail taking many rests due the growing heat. Finally at the top we took a break for lunch though in the heat we weren’t all that hungry. Ethan found a shaded branch of an old tree to lay down in and caught a short nap in the heat.
During the hike I was trying the handheld radio but the initial problems we had setting it up seemed to follow us and we had only spotty access to the truck. I was not able to confirm whether the main problem was the poor performance of the Yagi on the 440 band or whether it was just it not having a good path to the White Rock Repeater. But this did raise some serious concerns about how effective the setup is.
Once we had rested on the peak, we set off back down to the truck. We made good time compared to the way up even though by now the temperatures were in the 30’s. I was glad we had some extra fluids along though I saw several others doing the hike with only very small quantities of water. When we finally reached the power line trail we were in full sun and getting very heated as we made our way the final kilometer in that exposed area.
Once we got to the car we quickly set about breaking down the antenna radio equipment so that we could get moving. When I grabbed the actual radio I burned by fingers as it had been in the sun and was extremely hot! I am sure that that was not very healthy for the radio, but it seems to have survived the oven. We finished packing up and quickly made our way down the hill, as we were quite wiped and over heated we skipped past the view points I had spotted on the way up. We will just need to come again to explore them. We were in desperate need of a drink and something cool and so we found a small convenience store and picked up some cold drinks. That got us feeling better and the drive home went easily from that point on.
It was definitely worth the time exploring Hollyburn after all those years. I do think I need to revisit it on a cooler day and also explore the other trails along the ridge and the other peaks in that area.