There are few better ways to spend a Friday night than hiking up a mountain with friends, reaching the peak at dusk with just enough time to set up camp before basking in glow of the campfire… or the pocket rocket gas flame. In Summer 2016, I was fortunate enough to head up to Mount Seymour First Peak not once, but twice, with two great groups of women.

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My first time up was with my friends Danielle and Sarah. Right from the onset of our trek, I was grateful for Sarah’s familiarity of the trail, as I surely would have found myself lost at a couple forks in the road.

The first half hour of our hike was in reasonable weather, however, the fog set in for the remainder of our time on the trail. As we hiked, I pretended that we were climbing Everest, engulfed in fog and surrounded by snow.

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It is incredible how quickly trust can be established when in the backcountry. We set up camp where Sarah told us we had reached the First Peak. The fog was so heavy that it was impossible to tell. We set up our tents in a neat row, and I set to work cooking my dinner. Knorr’s Sidekicks is my go-to camping meal, and this first backcountry meal of the summer tasted of pure freedom.

I woke up sometime in the middle of the night, and unzipped the tent door. The fog had lifted and we had a panoramic view of the entire city of Vancouver.

Come morning, the fog had rolled back in and once again we were in my very own version of Everest.

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My second trip up was entirely different in terms of weather, but nonetheless one filled with fantastic company and fun. Friends Emily, Alyssa and Heather joined for an evening hike in August, and this time the mosquitos were more of a bother than the fog. We had beautiful weather, and timed the trek just right – while we had time to set up camp in the daylight, we did end up cooking our supper by headlight.

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The city lights below impressed, but it was the 5:20AM sunrise that captivated us the next morning. There is something to be said about friends who don’t question setting an alarm this early in order to catch the sunrise from the peak of the mountain.

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Almost as much as I enjoy hiking up for an overnight camp on a Friday night, I enjoy the early Saturday morning wake up and pack up. I’ll happily scarf down a granola bar for breakfast while rolling up my sleeping bag, mat and tent and hitting the trailhead as the sun rises. The hike down flies by, and I feel like I’ve just woken up by the time we reach the car, throw on clean socks, and head for a proper breakfast somewhere like Honey’s Doughnuts in Deep Cove.

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