Yak and Nak

Lindsay and I had been hoping to get out camping together for a few weeks, but the weather and schedules continued to be uncooperative until this past weekend. The weather was still not predicted to be the best, but we were determined to get out.

After having a bit of a lazy Saturday morning, we checked the webcams, and despite pouring rain in Vancouver, there were clear skies and even sun up the Coquihalla.

We packed up quickly for some car camping and headed out, leaving the city at the bright hour of 10AM. After a few mandatory stops for baked goods and gas, we reached the trailhead for Yak Peak around 12:30.

The start of the trail follows the highway for a kilometer, then drops into a swath of forest, that leads to the base of Yak Peak’s magnificent granite face. The trail then follows the base of the granite leading up and around to the right. This section of the trail is easy to navigate with clear flagging and a permanent trail bed, the challenges being presented with loose gravel on top of granite stone and few handholds as you make your way up, and the best footing being under low brush so we shimmied over the granite half under the brush. The most challenging section has rope anchored fairly securely which proved most helpful on the descent.

Ascending through the meadows en route to Yak Peak, in the back right of photo.

The trail opens up as you approach the pass, with wild blueberries a plenty in early September. This meadowy section leads to the col where we veered left to climb Yak. There is a saddle between two highpoints, and Lindsay suggested the summit may be the northern highpoint, but from our perspective it seemed obvious that the southern high point was the summit. We climbed it easily, and in a brief window in the fog we looked back to the north where it became very obvious that it was in fact the northern high point that was the summit. Again, we were able to easily navigate to the top, the true summit. As we arrived the fog moved in surrounding us so we piled on a few pieces of gear, had a quick snack, and set off for Nak.

Lindsay heads out to the false summit of Yak through the growing clouds.
Lindsay on the summit of Yak. Needle Peak and Markhor in the background.

The decent from Yak was simple and the rain continued to hold off. We followed a well beaten path down from the summit and over a minor bump between Yak and Nak. We rambled along the ridge in no great rush, enjoying the changing fall colours and granite walls swirling in the clouds around us. The trail meandered along the ridge, disappearing at times; but the route always remained obvious, even in the clouds. We reached the summit of Nak Peak. just under an hour after leaving the summit of Yak Peak.

Summit of Nak Peak. Yak behind.

We lingered on top, taking in great views of Yak and the peaks south of the highway. Anger clouds were coming in quickly from the south-west and rain looked imminent. We took our customary summit selfies and Lindsay did her short little jig to celebrate another summit.

Enjoying a break in the clouds on the descent from Nak Peak. The route from Yak follows the vegetated ridge on the left.

Making our way back towards Yak didn’t take much time at all. We lingered briefly in the meadows below the col to have our final fill of blueberries and put on our rain pants just as the skies opened. We hustled down into the forest, though it was a bit slow going on the few granite slabs we had to cross over on the decent. We both felt the lingering effects of Fall flu season and decided it best to return to the warmth of our bed and the possibility of sleeping in!

Making short work of the trail, we made it back to our truck, and we were hungry.  Disappointed to find that the Lunch Bucket, a rustic red food “trailer” which serves hot dogs, burgers, etc. to satisfy both truckers and hungry hikers alike, is indeed only a lunch bucket and we’d missed last call. A&W in Hope would suffice!

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