Diez Vistas and the Cruel Parking Lot

1.24.2010 | Hikes, The Team

Yesterday my friend Ali and I went to Buntzen Lake to hike the Diez Vistas trail. It was a great day, as it was a little bit cool, but not raining, and also not scorching hot… which, well, I guess would be rather unexpected in January, anyway.

Speaking of January, apparently December is a special time on the Diez Vistas trail, as the fuzzy woodland creatures all get together and share cocoa while decorating a random tree in the forest. I had lovely Disney-esque visions of bluebirds looping garland on the limbs of a smiling tree, while chipmunks chattered to each other about where best to hang the bulbs…
So, there are (obviously) ten views on this trail. To get to the first one, you need to slog up a series of mean, cranky switchbacks, after walking for an hour through the lovely forest. The weird thing about this trail is the lack of sufficient trail markers, but more on that later… So, after about 1.5 hours we reached Vista Uno… we think. Whatever number it was, you can see just how excited I am to have arrived at such a wonderful destination.
A few minutes later, at Vista Dos, Ali struck a smart hikery pose, after she triumphantly wove her way through the trails that may have been trails, but might not have been trails, or they quite possibly could have been trails. Or not. Those tiny pink markers can be hard to see! Especially when the park ranger decides it would be much more entertaining (for the bored-when-not-decorating-trees woodland creatures) to watch us dopey humans stop in our tracks to search futilely for a marker that isn’t there. What a nice ranger. Always thinking of the animals.
At one of the next Vistas (possibly #3, or #9, I’m not quite sure), I stopped to contemplate the beauty of this magnificent city and how easily one can find themselves in such a wondrous natural environment after a short(ish) drive from home. Ahhh, just look at me contemplate…
As Ali and I descended from the top of the world (Mount Everest is in Port Moody, right?), we marveled at the scene before us: the quiet forest, the stately trees, the babbling brooks, the complete lack of trail markers… Thankfully we had printed off some information about this climb before we left. It was about as useful as round laces. However, we were grateful for it, as we knew that when we got lost and had to spend the night in the forest, we would at least have some paper for starting a fire.

Finally we made our way down, down, down, down, down, down… to a beautiful gravel road. We consulted our kindling and it said that we should go along this road until we get to a bridge. And ta-dah! We found a bridge! Kind of hard to miss it, really.

We took great care to obey the rules and regulations, and crossed this bridge without swinging it back and forth, or running on it, or jumping up and d… ALISON!!

I can’t take that girl anywhere!

Finally, at the end of the bridge we found ourselves on a lovely beach, and at the end of the trail. Wonderful! What a spectacular hike, and what a fabulous day! Ali and I share the same sense of humour, and so we tend to laugh ourselves nutty when we’re together. She’s a great hiking partner, and I feel so lucky to have been able to rope her in to hiking with me. Anyway, we looked at the map to see where we needed to go, and…wait, what? Does that map say what I think it does?

Why yes, yes it does. The end of the trail is pretty much on the OPPOSITE SIDE of the lake where the car is parked. You know, after about 5 hours of hiking, I have to admit that I was pretty much ready to get in the car, put on my flip-flops and go to 7-11 for a Slurpee. However, today that would not be the case. We were pretty sure we knew the right way to go, so off we went for our trek to the car.

5 minutes later, after we turned around and headed in the opposite direction, we were certain that we were on the right path. Kind of. Wait, which way do we need to… hold on, get the kindling out and see what it says… “after you cross the bridge, it’s just a short 40-minute walk to the parking lot” Forty minutes?! Are you kidding me!? Do you have any idea how long we’ve just hiked, and how tired we are, and now you tell us that we need to walk 40 more minutes!? And the best part was, the kindling didn’t actually tell us which direction we needed to go in to get to the parking lot. So, we used our common sense… and headed in the opposite direction of what we thought would be the right way.

As we walked along, we began to have a small sense of doubt, and wondered why no one was on the trail with us. We had seen many other parties on the Diez Vistas trail, but now there was no one around. But, like the brave troopers that we are, Ali and I carried on. It was now about 3:30, and since the park gate closes at 4:30, we knew we’d have to hustle to make it back in time. Huh… still no one on the trail…

Ah, hah! Here are some people… that are… headed in the… opposite direction… oh man. This can’t be good. What if we chose the wrong way and are heading out to some viewpoint at the opposite end of where the parking lot is? Then we’d have to turn around and RUN back the other direction to get to the car before the gate closed. 3:45 – Oh dude, this is not good.

I’d like to offer up a small tip: if any of you are planning to build a mountain, and would like to put some nice trails on it, might I suggest that a few “THIS WAY TO PARKING LOT” signs be placed along the trails at regular intervals? It would be a fab idea.

Ali and I had no idea if we were going the right way, or where we were on the trail, or if this was the right trail at all. We kept going. 4:00 – ohhhhh, this is bad.

Suddenly, Ali saw a glimmer in the distance! We were sure this was the metal on a car, so the parking lot was just up… wait, that was water? I don’t hear any traffic, do you? Nope.

4:05 – do we turn around and run back? Do we keep forging on ahead? Do we jam ourselves into the nearest hollow tree and cry ourselves to sleep? NO! Kilimanjaro trekkers are a strong breed! WE CAN DO THIS! On we forge!


4:18 – In the distance, we hear a car door slam! Eureka and hallelujah! It’s a parking lot! Right about this time I had a thought that I decided not to share with Ali: what if there were two parking lots, and we had found the one that we WEREN’T parked at? Don’t say a word, don’t say a word, don’t say a word…

However, after five and a half hours of hiking (the last 30 minutes spent in oscillating moods of fear, stress, anger, and denial), we had finally reached our goal – ASPHALT! There was a moment of brief hysteria when I relayed my fear of the double-lot to Ali, and as we laughed mightily together, we soon realized that the lot we were in looked NOTHING like the lot where we parked. Oh please, no.

And so, I did what any good, prepared girl would do in this situation. I took out my car keys and I pressed the panic button. Never have I been so happy to hear a car alarm.

After we stopped hugging the car, we changed out of our boots, grabbed our Gatorade, put ABBA on the iPod, and headed for home triumphant. We conquered the Diez Vistas trail!






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