Well, as if the title weren't clear, we were unable to complete this hike but we will conquer it at some point!
Elk Mountain is quite a bit outside of Chiliwack in the boonies. You go past the city, past the last neighborhood, and a solid 10 miles through the mountain farms before getting to the lower edge of the trail. This view above was taken on our way down the dirt road just a short ways from the parking area to start the trail! What a view already, huh?! It was too gorgeous not to snap, and I'm glad I did because I didn't get any other photos....hopefully when we've ascended the mountain I'll have another one or two to add.
This hike is definitely off the beaten path but that doesn't stop it from being popular. When we arrived in the afternoon at the trail head (our first mistake-not going in the morning!) there were at least 20 cars parked. The trail is 7km round trip (just under 5 miles) and is heavy on the ascent, so we knew it'd be harder than Buntzen lake, though just a little less distance-wise. Distance doesn't necessarily mean anything, though, it's all about how steep it is because that slows you down, and let me say, this was a steep hike! We were on this hike for about 90 minutes going up, and then about 40 on the way down, if that tells you anything! I felt like I was on a stair stepper most of the way.
The reasons we did not decide to get to the end felt logical at the time:
1) It was getting dark in the woods because of cloud covering, and even though the sun wasn't setting for another two hours, I felt a little uncomfortable trying to get down that steep of a trail if it got any darker...with kids
2) It was extremely cold the further up we went and my son was unprepared clothing-wise wearing just a t-shirt and shorts. If he would have packed even a long-sleeved t-shirt or a hoodie to put over top, this wouldn't have been a factor, but because of the cloud-covering we were producing sweat and having goose-bumps...not a good thing, especially for kids!
3) I was tired from the day and I'm at my peak (see what I did there?) for hikes during morning; I didn't have my normal energy
4) Stefan was battling a cold and didn't feel great
Looking back, I think we could have pressed on, but we probably made a good decision for that day. I am a huge gut-truster and my gut was telling me to turn around, so we did. I hate not finishing something, it leaves a bit of a sour feeling. It's unsatisfying to quit half-way though the reasons for turning around were good ones and I'm sure we'll head back soon.