A few weeks ago, my friend Pascale asked me if we wanted to join their first backcountry adventure with their kids to Cheakamus Lake. They have 15 month old twins, so I was of course stoked that they wanted to bring them into the backcountry, but I must say that I was a little hesitant about the location. We have never been to Cheakamus Lake, but it also wasn't on my list. It is not in the alpine and there is nothing to do there, I thought. No peaks to bag. Therefore I convinced Christian that we should carry a canoe into the lake. I am sure the trip would have been just as wonderful without the canoe, but it just added a bit more adventure and it was absolutely gorgeous to be on the lake in the canoe.
We ended up being three families: Pascale, Ignacio and their twins, Michelle with her friend, Monica, and almost 3 year old son, and us. We started of on the trail around noon. There was no doubt that we were the most ridiculous group there. Pascale with the twins, Ignacio with his enormous backpack, Christian and I with the canoe, Michelle and Monica running after the toddlers on the balance bikes. Pascale and Ignacio quickly left us behind; you need to hike fast as long as the kids are happy or sleeping in the carrier. The toddlers biked about half way to the lake then were carried the rest of the way. At the lake we put the boat in the water and installed all the gear and the toddlers inside. Michelle and Christian paddled everything to the singing creek campsite, while Monica and I got to do the hike.
At the campsite I found Pascale and Ignacio getting the twins ready for a swim. Apparently the canoe had pasted by a few minutes before they arrived. I ran further along the now more rugged trail to look for Christian and co. I found them at a lovely spot just 5 min. ahead. He had deemed the campsite full and instead found us a small private beach. Christian paddled back to let Pascale and Ignacio paddle their twins the rest of the way. We set up our tents on the moss covered forest floor before starting dinner. All the kids enjoyed playing on the beach and in the forest.
In the evening we took turns paddling the canoe around on calm lake, while enjoying the view of Mt. Davidson and the McBride range. It was cool to see the majestic mountains that seem so close, knowing that they are pretty hard to get to. The evening went very smooth, I heard the twins a few times, but there were no major crisis.
On Sunday we spend hours throwing rocks and sticks in the water, playing in the tree stumps and transferring water from the lake to other locations. Around noon Christian and Ignacio paddled back together with one of the twins, while Pascale hiked back with the other. After an hour and a half Christian came back for us. He decided that he had time for a swim before leaving and F wanted to join him. She quickly regretted this after discovering how cold the water was. In the afternoon our little camp also seem to get swarmed by butterflies - way better than the mosquitoes I had been expecting. We only really had any mosquitoes around dusk. We had a hard time leaving the beach because the kids has enjoying themselves so much, but eventually Christian and I paddled back with F while everyone else hiked. F fell asleep in the front of the canoe right away.
Back on the trail the toddlers got on their balance bikes and had a blast. The trail from the lake to the Helm campground turnoff is ideal for toddler-biking. Lots of fun little hills, but nothing too big. Eventually we had to convince them to get off the bikes and into the backpacks as it was getting late and they were getting tired. By the time we left the parking lot it was just before dark.
I wasn't sure if this trip was a going to be a disaster, but it was just awesome. I highly recommend Cheakamus Lake. It is so easy to get to, and that really opens up opportunities.
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