There were lots of unknowns heading into this trip; we knew that. But sometimes even the “known unknowns” catch you by surprise. We guessed that it would be a warm summer, and we knew that it had been an unseasonably dry winter and spring. But still, it was a shocker when just days into our adventure we were dealing with temps approaching 100° F. No problem though; we would just get up at the crack of dawn and Kim would run when it was cool. Then, our magnificent views of Mt. Baker, just across the border from us and often visible for our first few days, were covered in haze. This quickly developed into a brown shroud of pungent smoke. We quickly figured out that BC’s wilderness was on fire in hundreds of places. According to the Vancouver Sun, the wildfire season was already so bad that the province’s entire annual firefighting budget had already been spent. An air quality health advisory had been issued for the whole Vancouver metro area, and we decided to play it safe and stay inside.
It was discouraging to have to take a day off, but this morning, we were bailed out by the weather. A merciful Pacific breeze began to push the smoke inland, and moisture carried with it kept the valley cloudy and cool in the morning. Relief for the run came in another way as well: Kim’s route had until this point been mostly urban, but after less than a mile from her starting point this morning in the town of Mission, the route turned rural and picturesque. Cornfields and berry farms lined the highway, but just beyond the fields, rugged, forested hills rose up, walling in the fertile Frasier River valley and confining it more and more to a narrow gorge as we head eastward. By the time we reach the town of Hope, 45 miles to the east and north of Kim’s stopping point today, the rich fields will have given way to the dramatic, mountainous image of BC that I tend to think of when picturing the province’s landscape.