Ahmad on Elk/Thurston:
“Five of us did the hike to Thurston peak on a clear day. Most of snow has melted from the edge of the south face of the ridge. It was just wide enough to walk on it most of the way. We didn’t need to use our snowshoes. The last kilometre was covered by snow. We opted to hike it and break our trail. There was about 1.5m of snow when we reached Thurston peak. The ridge offers better views that the peak itself. We met several groups on the way up. None of them summited it. Mount McGuire and Cheam seem still have loads of snow. It took us eight hours to do the hike.”
Michelle at Upper Shannon Falls:
“A fantastic day! A full crew of us headed up to Shannon Falls on a perfectly sunny day. To steal Steve’s description “a totally under-rated trail”. Charming forest trail, waterfalls for a lunch spot and a quick 15 minute jaunt past that a 180+ deg view up top of the ridge – what more do you want? No more shall we simply drive on by this one. A great uncrowded alternative to many of the other bustling trails in the vicinity. We truly had a stellar crew, great conversation and shared a bite to eat after in Squamish. A real battery re-charger of a day.”
Brenda at the Slhanay Peak:
“I picked this hike thinking we might have a rainy day and that we would at least be protected by the trees. Fortunately for Greg, Igor, Annie, Michael and I the forecast was wrong and we enjoyed a cool, sunny day with impressive views from Slhanay Peak. Our day did not start off too well – one no show and one person who missed out on the hike which may have been due to a confusion about the meeting spot (Sorry!). Once hiking we stopped several times to compare my crappy map with our compass and GPS since we thought we must be on the wrong trail. It ended up that the trail is actually well marked, we just did not trust the markers. Now that I have done all 3 peaks of the Chief as well as Slhanay Peak I would have to say I prefer Slhanay Peak. You get a view of the Chief that you do not normally see plus there were no other hikers on the Slhanay Peak trail (unlike the Chief which is usually PACKED!)”
Gabriela at High Falls Creek:
“A group of 6 of us headed out to conquer the High Falls Creek trail and with perfect weather it didn’t take us too long to complete the hike. There was no snow where we were but you could certainly see how much is left to melt in the mountains. The waterfall itself was certainly gushing with all the melting winter white. Everybody was fantastic and we had no problems (other than a slow group of hikers who after an evil glare or two we passed *grin*). On the way back four of us stopped in Squamish for a bite and learned a lot about this province thanks to Chris!”
Christian at the Grey Rock Lookout:
“The 6 of us entered the trailhead at 7:15pm. This old Baden-Powell route was quite wide at the start. Lots of roots and ruts to step over. No snow, no mud. We separated into groups of two, as we went up and down various twisty and steep trail sections. Conversation was light and spirited. We kept changing conversation partners along route. We noticed all the creek crossings had been improved with new bridges. We reached Grey rock by 8pm, and looked out over Deep Cove, Poco and Burnaby. We could see all the tall Burnaby towers far away in the distance. Unfortunately, there were trees blocking the views East and North of us. We could not see the fabled Twin islands I was hoping to point out. We walked out before dark, and half of us went to the Raven pub for a pint and a meal. A few good laughs to end a nice evening. Trail was steeper than expected. Overall a worthy trail rain or shine for a good light workout.”
Darcy at Rainbow Lake:
“Five of us headed up to Whistler for the trail to Rainbow Lake. The first hour of the trail was snow free. We donned snowshoes to travel over a fairly hard packed snow, three to four feet deep. Bob opted to use back country skis with skins. As the trail was hidden and the tree markers often spread out, we veered slightly off course a few times. Ahmad was great at using his compass to navigate, and Eric set us back on course as well, using GPS, his “not lost tool.” There were several “post holes” in the snow where hikers had broken through the upper crust. There were also many snow bridges, thick in some spots and dangerously thin in others. We had to hop across a couple of creeks, and detour higher off trail to find a way over one. There are two large creeks on the trail. We crossed the wood bridge over the first creek, but the platform for the second bridge was still removed for the winter. At this point we had almost reached Rainbow Lake, so we diverted our hike towards Gin and Tonic lake. We took a break with a beautiful view of Rainbow mountain and turned back around 4 pm. The day was sunny blue sky warm and the snow was slushy slippery downhill on the return trip. Constance was happy to see two black bears on our drive home.”
Carollyne on Mt Gardner:
“‘So close, yet so far’ could be the motto for this group setting out for Mt. Gardner. We eventually all saw the great views atop the north summit, but not until we’d hiked to the radio tower. Not finding a trail to the summit, we doubled back to go up the well-travelled, steeper south trail adding 2.5 km. Later, following those stupefying “North” signs, but feeling we were circling the summit again and again, 2 of our group disappeared. After a fearful wait, Evan went back to find them. He returned to report our missing hikers were on the south summit and weren’t moving. We asked about a view, platforms etc. and realized they were on the north summit, not the south. We joined them and their chuckles in about 5 min. Hindsight has me convinced we found the trail from the radio tower to the summit, but we just didn’t know it at the time. Energetic, cheerful new Wanderungers helped make this a really fun trip. We wrapped up at Doc Morgan’s followed by Amy’s relaxing shoulder massages on the 9 pm ferry.”
Merewyn on the Seven Sisters trail:
“The beautiful weather held out nicely for our hike. I was surprised by the trail – it took us through lush green moss-covered forests with lovely little creeks and streams. There were only a few short stretches of road walking. The Seven Sisters were impressive – old trees from the original forest, only 3 are still standing, the others are now just stumps. The Horse Trail was quite beautiful though lived up to its name as we stepped aside for a group of riders to pass by. We finished the day with a swim and/or lounge at Cultus Lake and a stop at an ice cream stand on the way out of the park!”
Roberto at the Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino:
“A few managed the first ferry and had a taste of Long Beach and Tofino before the second group arrived around noon Saturday. Given the many diversions along the way – the many majestic lakes, Wally Creek, Cathedral Forest, petroglyphs etc. – it’s always amazing that we even get to Pacific Rim. The hostel was barebones but assumed a homey feeling very quickly.
The first beach head was found through Tonquin Park on the north-west corner of Tofino. Hopping over the construction “stay out” barrier we proceeded to the beach head. Orcas and Greys can be seen from here on a good day. The tide prevented us from visiting caves carved out by legendary Tofino storms. We later visited a very cold and windy Long Beach and took in its austere minimalism – miles of beach, ocean and sky.
On Sunday, a native drove us to Meares Island, arranged on a chance meeting and a handshake, stopping to show us eagles and seals along the way – the whales being further out at that time of day. Without a dock, a smaller boat had to shuttle us to the trailhead where we had to jump onto a mussel-encrusted rock nearby. Finding the circumferal trail from the boardwalk involved some unexpected rainforest bushwacking but once found, the arboreal wilderness, replete with exotic bird calls, began to weave its magic with ooohs and aahhhs in this grove of 1000 year old cedars and hemlocks.
Six of us went off for an afternoon, group rate, kayak paddle in Clayoquot Sound and three went off to roam the beachheads and other arboreal trails. The rental company was comfortable enough with our skills to allow us a self guided tour around the sound after giving us a verbal snapshot of the area. Aside from struggling out of a sizeable whirlpool, the paddle was a leisurely tour around the countless islands under an azure sky.
On the recommendation of one of the locales we had an amazing meal at a local pub before heading head the next day. The return ride revisited the raw beauty and immense scale of some of the inlands lakes of Vancouver Island. I’m looking forward to reposting this event in the summer and stormy November.”
Hurrian P. at Elfin Lakes:
“The four of us set out for Elfin Lakes Saturday morning. Although it was definitely avalanche weather, the winter route to Elfin Lakes was well-planned to ensure little to no exposure to avalanche slopes. The trail definitely required snow shoes. Although there was no snow on the roads, the snow started at the trailhead and, because of the sun, it was slushy with lots of places where a foot just sank in. We saw a few people arrive at the shelter that night without snowshoes and they found the way slow, wet and cold. The sun was hot and a few of us got a little burned. The shelter wasn’t crowded but it was an eclectic bunch there – from the resident five-year-old daredevil, Marcus with his “extreme body sliding” to the elderly Polish man who did multi-day solo treks into avalanche country. It was a great trip.”