Backpacking has become one of my greatest passions, but it wasn't always so. There was a large gap of two years between my first backpacking trip and the next because of how difficult that first hike was. However, now looking back, I can see that hiking Mount Fosthall was a defining moment in my life. It has played a huge role in leading me to where I am today, especially in regards to my love of landscape photography, fitness, and simply working hard to accomplish my goals in life. It was a grueling hike. I almost gave up multiple times, was close to tears more than once, but I made it to the top. And after that hike, I felt so much strength in the accomplishment that I felt like I could do anything. It was the start of a new obsession.
That was four years ago. It wasn't until 2018 that I backpacked again. The struggle was still there, but now each consecutive hike gets easier and I feel stronger and more accomplished. And even though backpacking is still a challenge (it's just what it is) it is always worth it.
I am privileged enough to have traveled a lot so far in my life. I try to get out there as much as possible. This world is an amazing place and there is so much to see. BUT, no place has ever beat Mount Fosthall for beauty.
For those interested in hiking to Big Peters Lake and Mount Fosthall, here is what you can expect.
As you begin from the Spectrum Creek parking lot, the terrain is easy-going with many boardwalks and bridges. We really enjoyed the forest in this section of the trail which was lush with ferns and moss. Eventually, you come to a fork in the trail. One way leads up the mountain to Little Peter's lake (then Big Peters), the other goes to Spectrum Lake. We opted to go down to Spectrum to get as much sightseeing as possible. It was absolutely beautiful on the lake with the surrounding mountains and forests. It is on our list to camp there one of these summers. However, I do not recommend going down there if your intention is to get to Big Peter's Lake because you lose so much elevation that you will need to get back later on.
As you leave Spectrum Lake the climb begins. You follow a series of switch
backs up the mountain until you reach Little Peter's Lake. This is a real grind with no flattening of terrain for breaks. It took us a few hours to reach Little Peter's Lake (of course I was slowing our group down a lot!). This portion of the trail has no water if you need to replenish, so be sure to stock up before beginning the ascent. There are also a couple of spots thick with raspberry bushes where you can barely see ahead, so make sure to watch for bears! When we finally saw Little Peter's Lake, it was a relief to know the grind was over. There are a couple of tent sites here, but Big Peter's Lake is definitely the nicer lake of the two. The hike between the two lakes is easy going and opens up a lot, allowing you to enjoy the forest and wildflowers.
Because we had an expectedly long day (We had no idea how much of a grind this hike was) we made it to Big Peters Lake quite late in the day so immediately set up camp. We were up there at quite a fortuitous time because the Perseids Meteor Shower was happening that week, which made this trip even more special. However, one aspect of camping here that is hard to ignore, was the number of mosquitoes and black flies. Definitely bring lots of bug repellant and mosquito nets.
The next day we woke up with the exciting prospect of summitting Mount Fosthall. As you begin to ascend further and further from Big Peters Lake up the mountain, the Monashee Mountain Range comes into view. Wildflowers become more bountiful and small waterfalls cascade down the mountainside from spring runoff. It is picturesque. I could carefully describe each detail but my words will not do any justice to its beauty. This is the most beautiful place I have ever been to.
Unfortunately, I cannot describe the summit, because we never made it. As we were ascending we came across a juvenile grizzly bear that also spotted us. We are fairly positive it began calling for its mama bear out of distress, and we did not want to meet her. So we turned around and headed back to camp. This is one hike that I would say yes to doing again in a heartbeat. Despite the grind and difficultly, it is worth it. And I would love to actually summit Mount Fosthall one day.
I have dabbled with photography for many years. Since I bought my first camera in middle school I had toyed with the idea of being a photographer. However, I don't think it was until I hiked Mount Fosthall that I fully realized what I wanted to do with that dream. I have always been passionate about nature, constantly photographing forests and the rugged coastline of the pacific northwest. I enjoy both of these landscapes immensely but being in the mountains is where I am happiest.
There are some places that end up defining a part of you. Mount Fosthall is one of those places for me. It was the first backpacking trip I ever did, the first photographed the stars, the first time I truly felt what it was like to be a landscape photographer, and even was witness to the first time I saw a grizzly bear. Though it's been almost four years since this trip, it generated new meaning in my life that I have taken with me since then. I wanted to take time to appreciate what an awesome opportunity this was that launched me even further into wanting to become a photographer. Truly a life-defining trip.