About five minutes from our cottage there is a trail in Cultus Lake Provincial Park called Teapot Hill. The name originated in the 1940s when a logger found a teapot there, and over the years since then hikers have been adding more teapots. There was a tempest in those teapots this year when the parks people decided they were a hazard, and cleared many of them out.
I have hiked the five kilometre trail multiple times already, and not just because of the name. There are a couple of fairly steep sections, and I am trying to get into better shape before Kath and I go walking in Wales this September.
Most of the trail is quite dark, winding through rather tall, mossy trees, with bits of light filtering through. I love being surrounded by so much green, and every time I hike the trail it looks a bit different. (I am hoping this is due to the changing light, and not me being lost and actually being on a different trail.)
When you get to the top you can catch a glimpse of the lake down below.
My favourite part of the hike however is spotting teapots. In defiance of the anti-tea brigade from the parks department, hikers have been repopulating the trail with teapots. Some are easy to find, and others are fairly well hidden. These are the ones I have spotted so far.
Now I want to tell you about my last walk on Teapot Hill, and my almost last walk there. On Monday I had to go return something at a store in a nearby city. The trail is very popular and gets quite busy later in the day, so I decided to leave early and walk before I went to the store. I got there at 8:00, and with the exception of one lone hiker had the whole mountain to myself. At least that is what I thought at the time.
Then Wednesday I had to go into Vancouver to IKEA. I decided to do a repeat of Monday morning and hike the trail in the very early morning, then go do my shopping. The thing is, when I got up Wednesday morning I realized it wasn't a good plan. I simply didn't have the energy to face driving an hour and a half into Vancouver, shopping, and hiking all in the same day. On my way home I was surprised to see the parking lot for the trail blocked, with signs saying the trail was closed hanging from the yellow caution tape.
When Jay got home later I asked him if he noticed the trail was closed, and he said yes. He had heard on the radio driving home that there was an aggressive cougar on the trail, and the RCMP and conservation officers were trapping it. This is the part where my spine went all weak and I thought I might pass out. Had I stuck with my original plan I could very easily have been the hiker the cougar went after! And maybe I wasn't as alone as I thought on Monday morning. That cougar could have been eyeing me as I walked along scanning the forest for more teapots.
I feel like I had a very close call. My walking stick is going to be my new best friend when I walk that trail, and all future early morning walks have been cancelled. And I must admit that as much as I love my tea, the whole thing has left me feeling in need of something a bit stronger in the way of drink. My spine is still tingling.