My knowledge of this local phenom prior to this little excursion was nil. Thanks to Google, it is now a solid slim to none. Apparently, it is the third largest Douglas Fir in BC (read: really big, really old, really magnificent tree). Goal for 2014: be less of a tourist in my own town.
My research and planning of this trek took all of three minutes on my phone, during which time I discovered that a.) most directions featured GPS co-ordinates, b.) many people reported that they’d been turned around by impenetrable snow and ice and c.) even fewer still had managed to actually find said tree.
GPS co-ordinates. I don’t even know where to begin with that one. We are novice explorers…more, enthusiasts of just driving in any particular direction until we happen upon something interesting (most often food). It’s on the list. Instead, I made note of really helpful directions like, “130m past the 47 mile marker you will hit a culvert. Take the trail marked by the pink flag three trees in from that culvert and make a hard 90 degree turn, etc.” With my impeccable sense of direction, no problem. Literally a needle in a haystack, but no problem. We guffawed heartily at the potential of being turned around by ‘snow and ice’. The possibility during our 12 degree and cloudless January afternoon actually didn’t even once seem a legitimate concern. We clearly neglected to take into account the very important logistical certainty that we were climbing a mountain. . .in January.
In hot pursuit of this stationary tree and completely undeterred by the failures of the many more prepared travellers that came before us, we pressed onwards into relatively uncharted territory. There is no better way of being reminded of your utter insignificance in the grand scheme of things than getting yourself reeeeal deep into the mountains. I am certain there were some things going on in ‘dem hills. It was beautiful and peaceful and serene and gorgeous, which goes hand-in-hand with super creepy and strange for some reason in my book.
We drove for about three hours up a logging road, rubber necking at the scenery, getting the van deliriously dirty and trying to avoid getting lost in potholes that wanted to swallow us whole. In the end, we were indeed turned around by snow and ice (shocking). We will return to find the tree another day, I’m sure it will still be there. Maybe we will come more prepared, but probably not.