Hikers challenge Mt. Tod for sixth consecutive year

The wildflowers were in full bloom for the July 31st hike
-Photo SPIN

The Alpine Blossom Festival concluded with the sixth annual Reach the Peak hike, a guided hike to the peak of Mt. Tod. Altogether, around thirty hikers made the trek, some from as far away as Wales, and others as young as two years old.

Small groups with their own “Sun Peaks Summiteer” leaders split off on different routes, choosing a more  direct but steeper route or the scenic option through the West Bowl and  past Tod Lake.  Most of the hikers met at the 2152 meter peak for lunch and group photos, also to sign the guest book.

Phil Youwe, one of the Summiteer guides, considered the event the highlight of the summer.

“I get so much enjoyment out of being able to go and show people a piece of our world,” he said.

Youwe has explored the area extensively and takes pride in teaching both locals and tourists a little more about the mountain. This was his sixth year as a guide for the hike, but he’s summited the mountain too many times to count.

A group of hikers climb the final ridge before the summit
– Photo SPIN

“It’s great to take people out and guide them, show them some plants and give them an explanation of the area and the history around here. Even some longtime locals have been astounded by what they don’t know,” Youwe said.

“Myself and a few of the other guys keep coming back because we genuinely love the area and the sense of adventure that comes with it. Each year brings something new.”

Cheryl Toop of Kelowna, B.C. and  a Sun Peaks skier who was summiting for the first time, was impressed with the variety of trails offered.

“I’m glad I had Phil with me, or I might have missed out on some interesting knowledge and beautiful views. I’m sure some routes had things I didn’t get to see, so I’ve got a reason to come back.”

The 2017 Summiteers gathered at the peak of Mt. Tod for a photo
– Photo SPIN