how i survived the heat dome

Scientists are calling it “the Heat Dome”—a prolonged heatwave that hit BC this week, smashing national records, ending lives, and sparking devastating wildfires around BC.

Nelson was hit hard with at least four +40º C days in a row, the hottest of which peaked at 45º.

I have never experienced heat like this, day after day after day. While I am so lucky to live right on the shore of a cold, glacier-fed lake, the heat has challenged me far more than I could’ve imagined.

To try and survive this heat, Marcus and I have adjusted our schedules, with much of the mid-day spent relaxing inside our non-air-conditioned home (with all of the windows and blinds shut from the early morning to evening). We’ve also been choosing our adventures wisely with the goal of staying cool. 

How I survived the Heat Dome

1. Hike early in the morning

On one of the first heatwave days, I hiked with my pals Shepherd and Shannon to Lyon's Bluff, which is just a couple miles down the highway from my place. We started at 8:30 but in hindsight that was NOT early enough! Even still, we managed to make it down before the day got too hot, and headed straight back to my place to cool off in the lake.

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2. Find ice-cold waterfalls

Near my place are trails that lead up to a waterfall. Marcus and I have never swum in it before, but after hiking up the hot trails and breathing the stagnant air, I couldn’t resist standing in its shower (and I managed to drag Marcus in too). The air surrounding the waterfall was icy, misty, and delicious. We almost forgot about the absurd temperatures, until the hike out...then we were pretty much back where we started.

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3. Morning is too hot...hike at night!

In an attempt to do something epic, move our bodies, and not risk severe heat-stroke, Marcus, our friend Nina, and I decided to hike to Ymir Peak, starting at midnight and reaching the peak for the 4:45 AM sunrise.

The idea was crazy daunting, but once we started moving it just felt so right. We clambered up boulders, got lost bush-crashing for a while, and finally made it to the peak with an hour to spare before sunrise.

The sky was spectacular, changing every time we looked away. We watched the orange sun rise quickly from behind sharp, jagged mountains and soaked in all its glory. We snacked, talked, and enjoyed the cool temperatures at 2398 metres above sea level.

The way down was pretty treacherous, and I found myself very grateful to be doing it with daylight (we had considered this being a sunset hike instead). Although this really messed up our sleep schedules it was without a doubt, so so worth it. 

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This heatwave is petering out now, and I find myself naively hoping that I will look back on this as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, I have a sinking feeling that these unprecedented temperatures will start to be not-so-unprecedented. All I can do now is appreciate summer while it's here and soak up all that these long gorgeous days have to offer.

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Allyson Woodrooffe
Allyson Woodrooffe
2 months ago

Can not believe how beautiful it looks. Hope things cool off out west. Crazy times!

Peter N.
Peter N.
2 months ago

Spectacular scenery, a great story and wonderful pictures, Julia (and Marcus)! You both have a really good eye. I have trekked in the Himalayas so I know how fit you have to be at 2398 metres above sea level, or higher. These are very special moments and I am sure you will both remember them all of your lives.