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New Year's Eve walk ends in rescue by Coquitlam search team

Darkness came early for two male hikers who needed help getting to their car at Belcarra Regional Park.
Sasamat Lake, Belcarra Regional Park
Belcarra Regional Park attracted more than 67,000 people in the month of January, during the pandemic.

What began as an easy walk in Belcarra Regional Park on New Year's Eve turned into a gruelling nighttime adventure when a couple of hikers lost daylight.

Coquitlam Search and Rescue (SAR) responded to the call from the hikers who found themselves stranded on the Jug Island trail without a flashlight.

In a social media post, SAR said four rescuers took on the challenge of the six-kilometre hike — there and back — to escort the hikers to their vehicle before midnight.

The rescue is a reminder that it gets dark early in winter and even a relatively easy hike can become dangerous.

Coquitlam Search and Rescue, which is marking its 50th year, noted that hikers should bring a headlamp and leave a trip plan before heading out.

It also acknowledged the two stranded male hikers for their good sense in calling for help.

"Hiking in the dark leads to getting lost or injured which could easily have made for a longer, more complex rescue," Coquitlam SAR further stated on Twitter.

In the summer, the Jug Island trail walk is an easy three-hour walk, which starts and finishes from the təmtəmíxʷtən/Belcarra Regional Park/ picnic area and rewards the hiker with fine views down Indian Arm from the beach near Jug Island.

However, there are hills, with an elevation gain of 350 metres and the hike is six kilometres in length.

The Tri-City News has reached out for more information about the event and will update when details become available.

Coquitlam Search and Rescue recently celebrated its 50th year of volunteer rescue service in the community.

Belcarra hiking/walking trails

There are a number of trails in təmtəmíxʷtən/Belcarra Regional Park, including two easy loop trails, according to the regional park website: 

  • Woodhaven Swamp Loop trail is a gently sloped 1.2-km trail circling a vibrant wetland. 
  • Sasamat Lake Loop trail is a rolling 3.2-km route along the forested shoreline of Sasamat Lake. 
To see all the trails in the park, click here.