With the inminent end of the Xtreme Picnic Team Group fearless leader's vacations, Hiroshi and I programmed a last hike before he goes back to do his traditional outings. I choose Mount McGuire just to find out the road was washed out. Then we had to go with plan B, Vedder Mountain.
To reach the trailhead, if coming east on Highway 1, take Exit 119, drive south and after the bridge over the river (Chilliwack River upstream of the bridge, Vedder River downstream) on the next traffic light turn left. Just before the large sign for Cultus Lake, go right at Parmenter Road. After 600 m go right again on Vedder Mouintain Forest Service Road and follow the road for 3.5 km. If you use "103 Hikes" for your hikes be aware that book is due for a major revision. This road is not longer 2WD. Very soon you will see the trailhead signpost.
Hiroshi: Yes honey, I won't forget the milk
Some hardcore rednecks drive on the rugged road to save about 15 minutes of walking. In our case we walked and took the first left to a clearing (the original parking lot). You may be able to see the remnants of an user box.
The Vedder Mountain multi-use trail system in Chilliwack has long been a favourite destination for ATVers, dirt-bikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, hikers, and other trail users. Its popularity isn't just with the locals; it brings visitors from all over the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley and beyond.
Left picture: Walk 15 minutes and turn left
Right Picture: Go left at the end of the clearing
We walked in a pleasant forest heading fairly gently uphill and turning gradually from north to west. After the 3.5 km sign, there is a viewpoint with limited views of the Chilliwack Valley and the peak of the Cheam Range.
Two years ago recreational users mobilized to stop a proposed logging operation on Vedder Mountain, which they said will irrevocably destroy the prized network of recreational trails they use. Af the time a provincial forestry spokesman said the well-used trails are in fact illegal, whereas the logging, once approved, was legal.
Vedder Mountain: The perfect hike during a hot day
The viewpoint is considered the "fake summit". To get to the real one we continued west on the trail. We dropped gradually to a little pond, surrounded by herbaceous plants and some marshy ground.
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland which is subject to almost continuous inundation.A marsh is different from a swamp, which has a greater proportion of open water surface, and is generally deeper than a marsh.
Before we start to regain height we reached the intersection with the old West Trail. Seems that the West Trail has a lot of recent maintenance, my guess is this has something to do with the dispute with BC Timber Sales (BCTS)
BCTS is an independent organization within the B.C. Ministry of Forests created to develop Crown timber for auction to establish market price and capture the value of the asset for the public.
Steep rock before popping out onto the summit
From the real summit we had some views shadowed by the cloudy day.
The Fraser Valley is the largest landform of the Lower Mainland ecoregion, with its delta considered to begin in the area of Agassiz and Chilliwack, although stretches of floodplain flank the mountainsides between there and Hope.
On a sunny day you can view the white summit of Mount Baker over International Ridge.
Vedder Mountain is the westernmost Cascade Mountain in BC. The whole ridge is called Vedder Mountain with the highest peak designated Vedder Peak. The Vedder Mtn. name is also applied to the second-highest peak adding more confusion to the unwary hiker.
Reading the Complaint Investigation Reports of the Forest Services Board I found this mountain is habitat of the phantom orchid. The phantom orchid is also known as snow orchid because the entire plant is white. Native to the western United States and Canada, it is the only species of genus Cephalanthera found outside of Europe, and the only one entirely dependent on symbiotic mycorrhizae (association between a fungus and the roots of a plant) for its nutrition.
Roundtrip length: 11.5 km (7.1 miles)
Time: 4.5 hours
Elevation gain: 575 m (1220 ft)
High point: 924 m (3031 ft)
Driving distance from Vancouver: 120 km (75 miles)