03-Sep-2001 -- After discovering the Degree Confluence Project we decided that reaching a confluence in British Columbia would be an interesting challenge. As time went by, more and more of the confluences were taken; leaving only some fairly challenging ones. After reviewing some topographic maps we decided that 49N 121W was the one we were going for.
According to our maps, 49N 121W was located on the Canada / US border in Manning Park, not too far from a trail called Hozameen Ridge. The Hozameen ridge trail forks off a trail called Skyline II near a secluded campsite called Mowich. You can reach the Hozameen fork and camp Mowich by either starting at Ross lake and hiking 8 hours uphill from the west, or starting at Strawberry Flats and hiking 4 hours uphill from the east.
About 4 months ago we attempted this confluence, choosing to reach Hozameen / Mowich from the west. After 8 hours of seemingly endless switch-backs and carrying heavy packs, we were zombies by the time we setup camp. Our efforts turned out to all be in vain because the snow line was lower than we thought and we were unable to proceed very far down the Hozameen Ridge Trail to the confluence due to two foot thick snow.
So come Labour Day weekend we decide that it is time to try again. This time though, we were going to start from the East at Strawberry Flats. We were all set to leave Saturday morning, then the weather turned ugly and we delayed our start until Sunday morning. At 7am we started the drive to Manning Park from Vancouver. Once there we went and visited with the park ranger to see what advice he could dispense. He informed us that there was a little water in the area and to watch out for bears. Also at the ranger station was this beautiful topographic model of the entire park that provided us with some clues as to how our hike would go. We thanked the ranger and proceeded to drive to the nearest parking lot to Strawberry Flats.
After securing the car we started on our trek to Mowich where we would be camping that night. The hike to Mowich on the Skyline I and II trails provides some breathtaking views. After about 4 hours of hiking we reached Mowich camp and were pleased to see that there were about ten other people camping there. The campsite also provided an outhouse and bear-proof food locker. We setup our tent in a clear area and made some dinner, after which we proceeded to fall asleep quite rapidly.
The next morning we awoke to rain and cloud cover. Undaunted, we put on our rain gear and set out on the Hozameen Ridge trail that would hopefully take us directly to the confluence. The Hozameen Ridge trail was mostly quite steep up and down for about 4 km (2.4 miles) with a quite technical downhill section at the end. We finally reached the confluence after about 2 hours. At the confluence there was a silver border monument (number 74) indicating where the border line is. Unfortunately we could not make it directly onto 49N 121W because it was over the edge of a cliff and would have required ropes to get down. Also at the confluence were some drums of fuel and oil. Somewhere in the far distance we heard chain saws and figured that there was a crew somewhere in the area working on the cut-line (a strip of cut down trees indicating the border between the US and Canada). After taking a series of photos, we headed back to Mowich camp, packed up, and hiked back to the car. The only regret we have is that we didn’t get to see any bears.
For more photots visit Jeremy's Confluence Expedition photo album page.