For the third year in a row I picked a challenge, grabbed a school girl dress, and brought along a few others to join me in some Do It in a Dress fun. For this year, five of us headed to Top of the World Park in beautiful British Columbia, all of whom are seasoned backcountry hikers. This made my job pretty easy to be honest. Even the dog "Rosco" carried his own backpack.
Top of the World park is located in south-eastern British Columbia, and is accessible only by foot (or to a limited degree, horse). There are no roads into the park, and the road that leads to the "park entrance" is forestry trunk road which has actually feasted on one of my car tires in the past. The last time I was in the park, my friend and I lost the trail on a day hike and we feared we would have to stay the night in the forest. Needless to say, this park and I have history.
So after a ~12 hour drive, we pulled up to the trailhead and headed into the park for three nights. Everything we needed we had to pack in, and everything we didn't eat, we had to pack out. Not only that, but the weather is unpredictable, and most times, you can only see above you, what with all of the mountain peaks in the way. It may be blue skies and sunshine now, and a wicked thunderstorm 20 minutes later. You need to be prepared for anything.
Between these extremes, it makes you think long and hard about what you really need, and one of those "needs" for this particular trip, was a school dress. For the second year in a row, I rocked red.
I get a lot of compliments.
The way it works is pretty simple:
1) Pick a challenge
2) Do that challenge in a school girl dress
3) Raise $300 to put a girl in school for a year
The WHY is pretty simple. To put it bluntly, it sucks being born a girl in Sierra Leone, where only 1 in 6 girls are able to attend high school, and 28% will be married before they're 15. In fact, a girl is more likely to be a sexually assaulted than she is to attend high school.
But when a girl is educated, everything changes. An educated girl will marry later, and have a smaller, healthier family. She'll make more money (10% more per year of school) and she'll invest 90% of that back into her family.
That's why we do it.
For 4 days, we hiked in and around Top of the World park, setting up our little base camp at Fish Lake and heading out from there. I slept in a bivy sack, which is essentially a tent for one, and not much bigger than my tiny sleeping bag I jammed inside. This is an excellent way to keep weight down, and comes with the added feature of having a rain sensor built in.
By rain sensor, I mean that when it rains, it rains directly on my face. This awakens the sensor (me) and reminds me to zip up the bivy for the balance of the storm so I don't drown. The rain on my legs also acts as a cold massage through the bivy.
From there, we hiked, fished, played card games, and caught up in a way that you only can when there are no beeping mobile phones around. Meals were mostly of the dehydrated or freeze-dried variety. They're easy to prepare (just add boiling water), and taste pretty good after you've been hiking around all day. Honest. We had to filter all of our water right from the lake, which was nice and cool. So cool that no one went for a swim, besides Rosco at least.
Sketchy weather meant that our longer day hike was along the somewhat sheltered path to "Summer Pass." Mid July, and there were snowballs tossed. And some poses for the camera. Mosquitoes were out in full force on the trail, but no bears. Phew.
On the fourth day, it was time to head back out to the truck. Another Hikers Without Pants event was in the bag, and in keeping with tradition, we made our way for a celebratory shower and soak at Radium Hot Springs.
These are the showers, after days of hiking in the backcountry, that feel the best.
You can check out my Do It in a Dress fundraising page here, and stay tuned for another event we're putting together for September.
Read out my other Do It in a Dress adventures:
2013 - Climbers Without Pants
If you're feeling inspired, I encourage you to Do It in a Dress too :)