Striking Strathcona Pt.2: Mount Myra

After our first trip to Strathcona Park, we were hooked. It’s a truely beautiful stretch of land and offers a lot of remote backcountry trails although it’s right in the middle of Vancouver Island. So, we decided to come back and tackle another mountain: Mount Myra towers at a height of 5938 ft / 1810 m above the park although it’s – by far – not the highest peak in Strathcona. Nontheless, you should take 2-3 days to climb it (return) and be prepared for snow on top during all seasons. We hiked it over the course of three days because we wanted to give Freya enough breaks.

One thing you can say upfront about Mt. Myra: It’s a bloody knee cruncher (!) of a hike. The first few kilometers lead you up an old bobcat trail and are just loose rocks. So steep! We honestly couldn’t decide if we hated the strenuous up or the slippery down more…

The only thing that kept us going was the hope that there would be less moskitoes up top because the little pests were all over us as soon as we had shouldered our backpacks. Far from it though:

The bastards kept following us. All. the. way. up.

It’s impressive how such a small animal can ruin the whole outdoor fun. We’re used to bugs but we have never, ever encountered that many moskitoes before. Jee! The buggers covered our clothes and bit every single inch of skin we were careless enough to expose to them (ears, nose, ankles, …) as well as through our clothes. And even Freya’s fur didn’t protect her: At the end of our 3-day hike, her nose and eyes were full of bites, poor little thing… We have bothed travelled Southeast Asian countries and thought we had seen it all but turns out you’ve never met real mozzies until you come to Canada.

mozzies

Therefore, we’d love to tell you how 100% awesome our trek was but that would be a lie. Yes, the views were incredible and yes, we really enjoyed the cold swim in that crystal clear mountain lake. But we were also pretty happy when we could zip up that tent around us – we actually watched the sunset from in there, that’s how bad it was. Since it was more a visit to moskito country than anthing else, we’d like to close this article with some interesting facts about these pesky pests. It’s good to know your enemy, fellow hikers!

  1. Their name derives from the Spanish and Portuguese word for “little fly”. Sounds way cuter than they are!!
  2. There are about 3,5000 known species of mozzies but only a couple hundred of them actually feast on human blood. So frankly, we don’t need to hate them all.
  3. Only female mozzies bite, males can perfectly survive of nectar but the females need additional protein to develope their eggs.
  4. Their main predator are dragonflies. We always knew these miniature helicopters were special in some way! Maybe we can train a few to bodyguard us on our hikes?
  5. Moskitoes are the deadliest animals on earth. Nope, it’s not a shark, snake, grizzly or any other more impressive animal. A mozzie bite can be deadly because the little buggers often carry viruses which cause Malaria and other diseases…

 

But hey, some of you might not be here to get a lecture in zoology. So, here are some mountain pictures 😉

 

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