Come have fun spending a couple nights under the stars in the backcountry on the beautiful and historic HBC trail with a small group of like-minded beginner backpacking women!
This female-only program is an introduction to backpacking and is best suited to moderately experienced hikers who do not have much or any experience backpacking (backcountry camping). Learn through experience about topics ranging from trip planning, gear selection, setting up camp, backcountry food selection and preparation, first aid, Leave No Trace, the history of this incredible trail, and more. Group size is small with a maximum of 10 participants, plus minimum of 3 leaders.
This should not be your first hike this year! You will need to be able to carry a backpack containing gear described in the trip checklist for up to 3 km on the first and last day of the 3-day trip. The middle day will involve a moderate day hike. Pack weight should ideally not exceed ~14 kg (30 lbs) including food and water.
THIS PROGRAM IS NOT SUITABLE FOR BEGINNER HIKERS. Nor can this be your first challenging hike of the year! All participants must be able to carry a large backpack containing all their own gear described in the trip checklist up ~300 metres and 3km each day. Pack weight for first and last day will likely be around 25-40 lbs including food and water. Please contact us to discuss your hiking experience if you are unsure if this trip is suitable for you.
In addition to enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery and friendly company, you’ll experience the adventure of walking in the footsteps of history. You’ll be hiking and camping on the 170-year-old Hudson’s Bay Company “Brigade” Trail which played a key role in British Columbia’s early development. Trip leaders will share their knowledge of the people and events that reveal the vibrant life of this historic route.
The program will include the following two MANDATORY sessions in addition to the backpacking trip dates. For everyone’s safety and enjoyment during this program, both of these sessions must be attended by all program participants.
A gear talk event (Tuesday, April 26, 2022 – 6:30-9:30pm) at Valhalla Pure Outfitters – Abbotsford (1707 Salton Rd Unit #2). A fun get-to-know each other evening with some treats provided. We will discuss the plan for the backpacking trip, discuss the gear you have and suggest gear you may need to change or acquire, and talk about meal planning and other logistics.
A half-day test run hike (Saturday, July 9, 2022 – 9am-1pm) on the Dragon’s Back Trail in Hope with your weighted overnight backpack to practice before we enter the backcountry. Please ensure you wear the same hiking boots and backpack with gear you plan to use for the trip.
- Overnight in subalpine meadows at Conglomerate Flats Camp.
- See wildflower meadows in peak summer bloom.
- Hike to Mount Davis and visit an historic camp used by the Hudson’s Bay Company “Fur Brigades” during the 1850’s.
- See beautiful alpine lakes, including historic “Palmer’s Pond” and “Grant’s Pond.”
- Cross over the “Cascade Divide” where the Fraser and Columbia watersheds meet.
Completed in 1849, the HBC Trail was built to link the Fraser River at Fort Hope with Fort Kamloops and other important forts farther north to Stuart Lake. For more than a decade, the HBC’s fur empire in Western North America depended on this trail. Brigades of up to 400 horses and men annually pounded over the Cascades in summer and fall, bringing furs west to the coast and carrying food and equipment inland to re-supply the forts. The HBC Trail played a key role in the early history of British Columbia, and before that, was a hunting trail and east-west trade route for First Nations such as the Stó:lo, Nlaka’pamux and Upper Similkameen.
Since 2009, the Hope Mountain Centre has worked with many people and groups to restore the trail. Backpackers and horseback riders can now cross the Cascade Mountains between Hope and Tulameen on a continuous, 74-km wilderness trail. We’re excited to show you the improvements we’ve made and the overnight camps we’ve constructed!
Comments from previous Women’s Backpack programs:
“Amazing, knowledgeable, patient, inclusive… Leaders and volunteers. Beautiful people. Love their programs.”
“Thanks so much for all your encouragement & inspiration! You have many wonderful gifts. Thanks for sharing yourself & accepting each of us.”
“At first it feels like you’re the only one who’s ever gone through something painful. Then you discover you’re not alone. Each of us has a story. We just have to step out, grab onto a friend’s hand & jump! I have an army of friends, so proud of me for doing this trip. Expect a few more nurses signing up next year!”
“Amazing people! You will love the programs offered by these passionate leaders.”
$325 per adult
- Trail guide and historian
- Plant and animal biologist
- First aid backup and satellite phone
- Training regarding gear and backcountry camping techniques
- NOTE participants are required to provide all their own gear and food
All participants must be in good health and have average physical fitness. Daily distances and elevation gain will be moderate, enabling everyone to enjoy their first backpacking experience. See ITINERARY for a summary of distance and elevation gain/loss required each day.
This trip is not suitable for beginner hikers; just beginner backpackers (those without backcountry camping experience). This should not be your first hike this year! You will need to be able to carry a backpack containing gear described in the trip checklist. All participants must be able to carry a large backpack containing all their own gear described in the trip checklist up ~300 metres and 3km each day. Pack weight for first and last day will likely be around 25-40 lbs including food and water.
A gear talk event (Tues April 26, 2022 – 6:30-9:30pm) at Valhalla Pure Outfitters – Abbotsford (1707 Salton Rd Unit #2). A fun get-to-know each other evening with some treats provided. We will discuss the plan for the backpacking trip, discuss the gear you have and suggest gear you may need to change or acquire, and talk about meal planning and other logistics.
A half-day test-run hike (Sat July 9, 2022 – 9am-1pm) on the Dragon’s Back Trail in Hope with your weighted overnight backpack to practice before we enter the backcountry. Please ensure you wear the same hiking boots and backpack with gear you plan to use for the trip.
Please mark it on your calendar!
Itinerary of Backpacking Trip
Friday, July 22
9:00 AM – Meet at Hope Recreation Centre, organize into carpools if you wish. Participants may leave personal vehicles parked at Hope Recreation Centre. Vehicles drive 50 km via Highway-5 and then 30 km on the Tulameen Forest Service Road.
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM – 1 km hike into Tulameen Falls for a lunch break and swim.
2:00 PM – Arrive at parking area at 45.8 km Tulameen FSR (Jacobson Lake) and park vehicles.
Begin hiking the HBC Trail.
Hiking distance: 3 km
Elevation gain: 180 m
Camp overnight at Conglomerate Flats Campground
Saturday, July 23
After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll put on light day packs and hike to Mount Davis and enjoy spectacular views of the North Cascades. Along the way, we’ll see historic “Palmer’s Pond,” visit historic “Deer Camp,” and walk through carpets of blooming wildflowers.
Hiking distance (1-way): 2.7 km
Elevation gain: 320 m
Returning for dinner, we’ll spend a second night at Conglomerate Flats Camp.
Sunday, July 24
After breakfast, an easy day hike takes us to Grant’s Pond, another pretty subalpine lake near camp.
Hiking distance to Grant’s Pond: 1.7 km
Elevation gain: minimal
After returning from Grant’s Pond, we’ll pack up camp and hike the 3 km (downhill) back to vehicles at Jacobson Lake.
3:30 PM – Depart Jacobson Lake and drive back to Hope.
For a detailed map of the HBC Trail, click HERE.
Participants will need their own vehicles to get to Hope and some will need to drive the 100 km from Hope to Jacobson Lake. The last 50 km are graded gravel road, accessible with any 2-wheel-drive vehicle. Trucks or SUVs are recommended, as potholes, washboard, and road dust can be expected. Carpooling is allowed as long as participants are comfortable with it.
Participants will need the following items. Gear is available for rent at Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors in Chilliwack (604-846-1984) and Valhalla Pure in Abbotsford (604-850-5523) if you need it. Book ASAP if you need to rent gear.
* Sturdy waterproof hiking boots. Should provide ankle support and be sealed against moisture. Must also be broken in so they don’t blister you. If you plan on buying new footwear for this trip, it is HIGHLY recommended you purchase them and hike in them at least 8 times prior to this trip.
Socks — A thin synthetic (not cotton) inner sock and a thick outer sock (preferably wool). Bring at least 1 extra pair of back-up socks
* Long pants and shorts or zip-off pants (no jeans)
* Waterproof rain pants
* 2 tank tops or T-shirts (merino wool or polyester – NOT COTTON)
* 1 long sleeve shirt (merino wool or polyester – NOT COTTON)
* 1 mid layer (fleece, wool, or puffy jacket)
* Rain-proof jacket
* 1 pair gloves
* 1 toque
* non- cotton undergarments
* Sleeping bag — rated to -10 celsius minimum
* Sleeping mat — ie inflatable Thermarest with minimum R value of 2 (4+ ideal) or a closed-cell foam mat
* 3-season tent
* Stove, fuel, pots
* Method to purify drinking water
* Cup, plate, cutlery
* Sun glasses
* Toilet paper, bags to place used tp in to pack out with you, and hand sanitizer
* Head lamp
* Multi tool
* Basic first aid and moleskin for blisters
* 10 ft. of light cord or rope
* Hiking poles (highly recommended)
* Day pack for light hiking (you can also just use your overnight pack if you prefer)
* Bug repellent/mosquito face net
* water reservoir or bottle(s) with 2 litres of water
* Hi-energy snack food (ie power bars/balls, trailmix)
* 3 lunches on the trail
* 2 dinners in camp
* 2 breakfasts in camp
* any drinks you wish to have
Everyone age 19 & over must sign a liability waiver form in order to participate in this program. Please take the time to read this form because you must understand and agree to it when you sign it. By signing it you are waiving certain rights, including the right to sue. These forms will be available to sign when you check in. Please seek legal counsel if you have any questions.
Everyone age 18 & under must have an informed consent form signed by their parent or legal guardian in order to participate. Please contact us if you need this form prior to arrival at this program.
Space is limited and there may be a waiting list, so please let us know immediately if you must cancel. If a registration is cancelled at least 24 hours before the gear talk on April 26, 2022, HMCOL will refund the program fee minus an administrative cost of $25 per person. No refund will be issued after April 25, 2022.
With consideration of COVID-19 global pandemic, registration will be fully refunded for cancellations with proof of a positive COVID 19 test. We ask every participant to please avoid contact with others if you are feeling unwell. You must call 604-869-1274 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be eligible for a refund.
A program may be cancelled at the discretion of HMCOL. If a program is cancelled by HMCOL, participants will receive a full refund of program fees.
Please be aware that our programs run regardless of weather conditions, unless HMCOL determines that it will affect the safety of participants.
A NOTE ABOUT LIABILITY
Hope Mountain Centre carries liability insurance and maintains excellent safety records. Due to the nature of outdoor programs, these trips do involve some personal risk. Hope Mountain Centre assumes no responsibility for personal injury or damage to personal property and we will require each participant to sign a liability release and assumption of risk form before participating in this program.
Please be aware that activities typical of this program involve many risks, dangers and hazards including, but not limited to: accidents which occur during transportation or travel to and from events; slips and falls; loss of balance; impact, cold water immersion; repetitive strain injuries; dislocated shoulders; hypothermia, frostbite, sunburn; changing and inclement weather conditions including storms, blizzards, whiteouts and high wind; steepness of terrain, tree wells, crevasses; avalanches, cornices, landslides and falling ice, snow and objects; encounters with domestic or wild animals; negligence on the part of releasees and other participants.
While we love animals of all kinds, we ask that you please leave pets at home.