Written By: District Local | Vancouver
Original Source

The unknown called, and we answered.

This weekend, we went offline and ‪#‎IntoTheUnknown‬ with Chasing Sunrise and MEC Outdoor Nation. 50 strangers were taken on a secret, all-expenses paid trip into the wild – no further details were provided until arrival. Our correspondent, a dear friend and one of the lucky chosen 50, shares his experience:

The adventure begins.

2:45 a.m. wake up calls are early, even by our standards. But when it’s Chasing Sunrise setting the alarm, you don’t press snooze. So off we went to meet the group at 6 a.m to get the weekend started, destination unknown.

A few hours later, we pulled into Manning Park, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this season. It was BC Parks that turned to Chasing Sunrise and an assemblage of outstanding local sponsors to help make this adult summer camp happen – and this group was more than happy to jump in.

Welcome to Chase Camp.

Having found our tentmates in Chase Camp, we spent the afternoon getting to know each other over chilly lake swims, some intense pickup Ultimate Frisbee, California kickball, and leisurely bocce. Conversations and friendships flowed easily. None of us had met until we boarded the bus that morning. Our new friends were from all walks of life, and the stories and inspiration quicklyflowed: a biologist, an ultramarathoner, and a videographer; a guy who’d been a nanny in Malaysia, and an expert in dugout canoes from Duncan, via Indonesia; an adventurer off to Colombia, and an Australian living out of a van.

Forget tin can cooking and hotdogs. Our weekend’s Paleo menu, courtesy of Whole Foods and some hardworking chefs from Fuel Your Fire (a Paleo meal home delivery service), included Italian sausages,bbq porkchops, butternut squash, fresh fruits and salads. Early mountain climbs necessitate caffeine, and local Saltspring Coffee helped keep us warm and awake. Plant-based nutritious treats from Vegawere packed away to take along for what lay ahead.

Photo Credit: Philip Gibney

Photo Credit: Philip Gibney

After an evening of campfire s’mores and awesome guitar – summer camp styles – we grabbed a couple hours of shuteye before the weekend’s only certainty: a 4 am hike up somewhere high to catch the Sunday morning sunrise.

And so, eight kilometres later we arrived at Cascade Lookout, where we found the team from Fuel Your Fire preparing eggs, bacon, and hash browns at the top of the mountain. We happily refueled with hot breakfast and soaked in our surroundings – the lookout offered spectacular views of the entire valley, and we watched the inky blue sky gradually brighten to spectacular pinks as the sun came through the clouds.

Photo Credit: Philip Gibney

Photo Credit: Philip Gibney

Chasing Sunrise promises “more experiences, more adventures, and more mind-blowing memories“. And this weekend delivered. From beautiful scenery to budding friendships, we were left inspired and energized for the week ahead. Our sense of adventure is renewed; you’ll find us on a 5 a.m.mountaintop somewhere soon. Because, as Chasing Sunrise reminds us, you were born to do more than pay bills and die.

Photo Credit: Damon Berryman

Photo Credit: Damon Berryman

About Manning Park:

Located between Hope and Princeton, BC and less than 5km from the US border, E.C. Manning Park has a large variety of walking and hiking trails which range anywhere from a 15-minute walk to a 5 or 6 day hike. Lightning Lake is often used for non-motorized watersports, such as canoeingkayaking, andfishing. Rentals are available at the lake for canoes, rowboats, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. The park will host their 75th Anniversary Party this summer on Canada’s Parks Day (July 16).

Credit goes to:

Thanks again Chasing Sunrise and these awesome sponsors for making this adventure awesome: