Hudson’s Bay Company Brigade Trail
Location: Somewhere in the forest between Hope & Tulameen ♦ Distance: 63km ♦ Elevation: 2500m
Despite being way behind on blogging about this adventure, it was by far one of my favorites to date! I don’t even know where to start in describing how this adventure came to be, but basically Jeremy was hooked on this plan. He had somehow heard about this HBC trail, a historic trail that was recently restored and open for use. From that, he researched every detail that is likely available considering the seemingly few people who have traveled this path in the last 150 years. I had never heard about it, until as usual, we were out for a run and he shared his idea and extended an invite of an overnight fast pack or one day adventure from Hope to Tulameen. Yes please!
So a few months later, with 5 trail-runners on board, and Jeremy’s dad stationed in Tulameen awaiting our arrival we made our way up the Forest Service Road and found our adventure.
As with any good adventure things can’t go exactly as planned. We were a few kilometers up the logging road and 8km before the trail head we found this:
A work truck and huge piece of machinery, with an operator who thankfully recognized how determined we were to get to the trail. So we parked on the FSR and added 8km to our day.
We reached the trail and saw what was likely, and in my opinion noticeably the 1st switch backs ever built in Canada. We covered very few kilometers in that first hour on the trail, but we had made it and were learning what the trail was like when being used by the First Nations and HBC traders in 1849!
Learning history through the soles of our feet- I can’t lie I totally nerded out on reading all about this trail before getting there (and you can too: http://hopemountain.org/trails/hbc-heritage-trail/ ).
This trail is rugged and epic. It definitely takes some coordinating as Jeremy had planned our starting point (roughly 20km in on the full trail due to bogs through the first part) and our pick up across the river in Tulameen. He also knew in advance that we might not have cell reception for the entire trail, there was only 1 guaranteed clean water source (depending on rain fall) and that there were no close vehicle access points for in case of emergency or injury. So we packed accordingly, each having our 10 essentials and family with our ETA. But, as I said this trail is rugged…and we were about 4 hours behind our ETA.
Over 100 trees had been cleared, but this trail is still newly restored and has had limited use. It required very careful footing through many sections and we ran/hiked according to downed trees and the 2500m gained (however we were lucky to have a net loss of elevation!). We saw beautiful, undisturbed forests and crossed the most amazing finish line I have seen in my life after a warm 12 hours on the trail, the Tulameen River!