Building a loo with a view at Hope Lookout

Summer trail crew builds privacy into the Lookout Loo

Toilets on mountain hiking trails are a rare commodity — but if you’ve been down in the dumps, or even a wee bit frustrated over the lack of a ‘necessarium’ on the popular Hope Lookout trail, your concerns have been addressed. There is now an outdoor biffy, at the 470-metre elevation.

While you can’t expect the creature comforts of a plumbed bathroom, the big selling point of the Lookout Loo is the great northward view you’ll enjoy from your perch.

Now, thanks to the efforts of Hope’s summer trail crew, visitors are afforded extra privacy, from a natural screen installed last week.

“The toilet was flown in by helicopter, last fall,” said Kelly Pearce, of the Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning. “We had to dig a pit and make a base out of the natural field stone that was up there. It’s a typical toilet used in backcountry situations, and we can easily move it to a new hole, if the old one gets full.”

Pearce said the project was funded by AdvantageHOPE and the provincial Rural Dividend Fund, which has paid for historic signage and many other local projects over the past two years.

“This summer — for the first time — the District of Hope is paying for the trail crew,” added Pearce. “They’ve put in $29,000 and Hope Mountain Centre has put in another $8,500. This covers wages, rental of a vehicle, supplies and materials.”

Rebecca Arrowsmith is back for a second year with the crew, after fighting forest fires last summer. She serves as team leader for Angus Stromquist and Seth Prawdzik, Grade 12 Hope Secondary students in their second consecutive year with the trails program.

“There are about a dozen different trails they’re working on this summer, mostly on maintenance,” said Pearce. “Most are within the district boundaries but several are just beyond, such as the Mount Hope and Wells Peak trails, which are very important to the town.”

Arrowsmith, age 26, a volunteer with the Hope Fire Department for the past six years, is a kinesiology student at UFV with a goal to getting into nursing.

“I’d say we’ve spent most of our time on the Lookout Trail, so far, fixing wash-outs and putting in 14 new stairs,” said Arrowsmith on Monday. “We started the privacy screen on Wednesday and finished it Thursday.

“There was some fallen cedar and we cut it up with handsaws and used spikes and screws to hold it together.”

Cordless drills supplied much of the torque.

To get to the loo, you’ll have to complete the full hike.

“At the end of the viewing benches, you keep walking to get to the toilet,” said Arrowsmith.

Bring your own TP?

“I’d recommend it,” she said, with a smile.

Getting there:

Traveling west on Old Hope-Princeton Way, take the first left under the overpass and park at the picnic tables. Follow the (gated) gravel road to the left and look for signs that mark the beginning of the trail.

The 2.4-km trail climbs steeply through lush coastal forest, ending at a spectacular viewpoint perched on a rocky slope. Some locals refer to this trail as “Hope’s Grouse Grind,” for its steep ascent and rewarding view.

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Hope’s summer trail crew erects a privacy screen for the Lookout Loo, located at the upper end of the popular Lookout Trail on Mount Hope. (l-r) Angus Stromquist, Seth Prawdzik and Rebecca Arrowsmith. (Submitted)

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