Hiking the Arrowsmith CPR Regional Trail, lookout and loop – in a dress!

LDSCN2056Oops. Well I did not mean to do this hike in a dress. I had dropped Dave and his daughter, Valerie at the Nanaimo ferry that morning (they were flying to Iceland for a week of hiking!) and figured I would hike the Arrowsmith CPR Trail loop on the way home, since I would be driving right past the trailhead. That would make for perfect training for my upcoming three-day ultramarathon, The Golden Ultra, which I would be running in less that two months – lots of mountain climbing expected on that route!

Over the previous four days, I had summited two mountains (Mt. Adder and Mt. Klitsa) and had done a 30 km ride on my bike. I firmly believe that running or hiking on tired legs is excellent ultramarathon training, and this would be my chance to pack in one more day, with a total elevation gain of around 1000 m.

LDSCN2052So I packed my running shorts and a T-shirt and running shoes to change into in the car… but once I arrived at the Cameron Lake parking lot (halfway between Nanaimo and Port Alberni), I realized that what I thought were my shorts was actually a black T-shirt. So I had two running shirts but no shorts. Well, at least I had running shoes and socks… so I set out in my dress.

I’ve hiked this trail up to the lookout before – the first time a few years ago, in winter, with friends Ryan, Kevin and April (I don’t think I did a blog post about that one?). So I knew my way to start, but I had never done the full loop before. There was a good map at the trailhead, though, and navigation turned out to be very easy, other than one short section at the back of the loop where the trail hits a logging road – but I just followed the road up and found the trail again pretty quickly.

Another beautiful day! The whole hike took me just under 5 hours, including a fairly relaxed lunch stop at the lookout. The part looping back – the section I hadn’t done before – was really pretty, with little ponds and open rocky areas in the forest, and then along a very pretty creek back down. And, like I said, great training, those back-to-back days… that made for a pretty big five days for me, and my legs were pretty trashed after this last one!

Up on the lookout.

Up on the lookout.

Cool plants along the way -

Cool plants along the way – like this tall “pinedrops” (Pterospora andromedea).

And back down to Cameron Lake, where I parked, for second lunch!

And back down to Cameron Lake, where I parked, for second lunch!

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