Monthly Archives: August 2008

Elsay Lake 23/08/08

Tim at Elsay Lake:
“Tim, Justin and Alex hiked to Elsay Lake on Saturday. The trail to Elsay Lake is well maintained and easy to follow. However this is one of the most remote trails in Seymour Park and seems to be rarely used. We saw no one all day. The trail leads around the east side of the Seymour peaks (all cliffs), across boulder fields, down some steep rough creek beds and through old growth forest. There are occasional views of Indian Arm below to the East. The lake is the largest in the park, is picturesque, and has large brown salamanders/newts swimming in the shallows. However the last third of the trail to Elsay Lake drops about 600 m down to the lake. It is a real pain to regain that elevation on the way back, especially since the round trip is an arduous 20 km. A far better option would be to avoid that elevation drop and take a side trail westwards up to Mount Elsay (i.e. forego the lake for a better view from the mountain top). The junction is about 2.5 km before the lake, at 050717, and comes a few yards after crossing a rockslide at 050716. Although marked with orange flagging tape, the Mount Elsay trail starts out as a very indistinct path and the junction is hard to spot. However this trail soon pops out into a big boulder field about 500 m west of Canadian Pass. The route up to the top of Mount Elsay is obvious from there.”

Elsay Lake

Tenquille Lake 23/08/08

Chris at Tenquille Lake:
“Cara, Dean, Lucy and Michele joined me on a trip into Tenquille Lake and to share the joys of west coast weather. The Hurley had just been graded so, though the surface was loose, the potholes and washboarding were gone. Branch 12 (the Tenquille branch) had some large water bars right from the start but the Isuzu Trooper made it through without a problem courtesy of Cara’s driving skills. The alder was pretty overgrown so we got some pinstriping but, on the way out, we met a couple guys who were in the process of cutting it back. The trail was in pretty good condition with only a couple blowdowns right at the start. Even with a stop for lunch (and berries) we made it to the lake in about 3 and 1/2 hours. After setting up camp, Dean took off to scamble Tenquille Mt. and Goat Peak (and saw goats!) while the rest of us went to Finch Ridge to gaze at the unlogged vista to the north. The next morning lived up to the worst of the forecasts Michele had seen for the weekend: “Rain, heavy at times”. It turns out that the cabin at the lake is in pretty good condition considering that it is 60 years old – kept the rain out and the resident mouse was fairly quiet. Wearing as much waterproof stuff as possible (Cara fashioned a poncho out of plastic sheeting from the cabin), we hiked out stopping only to graze on more berries (easier to pick with your teeth than with gloved fingers).”

Tenquille Lake 004

Mt Marriott 17/08/08

Ahmad on Mt Marriott:
“The job was not done. We got to within 200 m distance and 100 m elevation of the summit. Our start was rather slow. One of our three-person group didn’t feel well in the morning and decided to stay at the shelter in the meadows. Darcy and I started our push for the summit at 12:30 pm. We followed a different route described in Matt’s scramble which is briefly described in his updates. We had three different ways of how to get up on the cliff that leads to the proper ridge. We chose the most difficult one of course unintentionally. It included lots of scrambling and 2 rock climbing spots. One of them was over 8 m wall. However once we were on the cliff, the trail became considerably easier but the rocks were still rough and continuous concentration was required. At 4:20 pm, I found that it became too late to continue and aborted our attempt. On our way back, we followed the second option and I found it easier and more direct although you have to go through one of the climbing spot but it is the easier one. We got back to the shelter at 7 pm and to the car at 8:30 pm and the whole trip took 11 hours. Beautiful views and lots of wildlife. We even saw fresh cougar track on a snow field. Special thanks to Tim Gage who provided me with valuable information about the trail.”

Pemberton cycle tour 17/08/08

Dana slow-food cycling around Pemberton:
“My hiking/biking overnighter ended up being a day trip, which made for a long but wonderful day. Ulrike, Haseena, Paula and I enjoyed Pemberton’s Slow Food Cycle Sunday on a very hot day covering 52 km of riding. (Having never done the event, I thought it was 26 km and it was, one way that is!) To start the day, our teamwork helped to get Paula’s bike on the bike rack, vertically, as it didn’t have a cross bar. Early morning was cloudy and it rained lightly at the beginning of our ride, but the day turned out to be incredibly warm. Picking up the event map at the Pemberton Community Centre, we then rode along and stopped at all of the designated farm stops and rested and enjoyed such fare as fair-trade coffee, potato rosti with smoked salmon (from an executive chef from a Whistler restaurant!), natural beef burgers, iced tea, strawberry coffee cake, and more. I bought some potatoes and zucchini to bring home. It was neat to see how many people took place in this free event, including families. The `course’ followed the flat Pemberton Meadows Road and the milky-looking Lillooet River. After the long ride, grimy and sweaty, we cooled off with a swim in Whistler’s Alta Lake before heading to Squamish for a cold beer and dinner and, finally, home. A truly wonderful day with great company and an event I’d highly recommend! A special `Good on ya!’ to Aussie Paula who hadn’t been on a bike in many years and did awesome! Look for upcoming photos from the trip on Flickr.”

Km 13 - "Slow Food Cycle Sunday" Pemberton, Aug17 2008

Mt Strachan 17/08/08

Hurrian on Mt Strachan:
“Despite all of the weather forecast warning, which made us pack useless raincoats up the trail, we had a beautiful day for our Mount Strachan hike. We wandered on and off trail, trying to find the right route, all the while breathing in mouthfuls of fresh mountain air which had that delightful crunchiness that only bugs can give it. We got to see the ruins of a forty-year old plane crash on the mountainside just before the final steep section up to the summit. At the top, we lunched looking out over Vancouver before exploring the views on other parts of the summit. Wanting a shorter day, we took the road down from the summit and headed home, stopping at Park Royal for a very refreshing snack. Great trip and great company.”

The Lions 16/08/08

Merewyn at the Lions:
“We had a great day with marvelous weather, gorgeous views, and fun company. The trail has definitely been rerouted to some degree due to downfall but it is still pretty easy to find your way (though we also discovered it was quite easy to lose your fellow hikers by taking slightly different paths). There were a few patches of snow left near the top; far from being a nuisance, we used these to cool down as it was a scorcher. The rest of the trail was through forest and was surprisingly cool. All in all, a fantastic trail with amazing views – this one is definitely a keeper! Thanks to Andy and Craig for driving!”

Lions - Binkert Trail Aug 16 08 - 51.jpg

Goat Mtn 16/08/08

Steve on Goat Mountain:
“Nine of us met at the foot of the gondola at Grouse and took the skyride up to the trailhead. It was hot, damned hot, but the views were rewarding and I was thankful we had not done the Grind on the way up. There wasn’t much shade to be had and my current lack of conditioning was made worse by the heat. Many of us underestimated how fast we would go through the water and had to share. You should be warned that the crowds at the skyride are insane, but the Goat Mountain trail itself was quiet. A big thanks to first timer Angele who not only knew the trail well (I didn’t have to pull out my book) but also has one of the most impressive hiking resumes I’ve heard in a long time! Fun group too! The trip was only made better when a medical doctor actually recommended I drink a coke after a hike…”

View from Goat Mtn.

Elfin Lakes 16/08/08

Carollyne at Elfin Lakes and Opal Cone:
“Six of us hiked with our backpacks to Elfin Lakes on a hot, clear day with spectacular views of the mountains and meadows. Although it was busy at Elfin Shelter, there were enough bunks in the shelter for all of us when we arrived there at 1 pm. After unpacking and having lunch by the lake, we hiked out to Opal Cone, which turned out to be a bit of an adventure. As we began our descent to Ring Creek, we met a couple of hikers turning back saying the trail was gone, others who had made it but warning us to get as much water as we could. We continued on and found the slope must have had a recent landslide as the descent was what might be called a goat track in soft, dusty moraine. We made it down and then boulder-picked our way across the first fork of Ring Creek, with wonderfully clear water, across more rock, then finally across the bridge over the raging second fork. Going up the incline, the group separated, with the three fastest hikers scrambling up a direct route with difficulty. Ted and I found, then lost, then found the marked route with its long switchbacks – which we all used on our return. Atop the ridge, a stunning contrast was before us, with a green and flower filled bowl and a lovely trail which we followed to the end of Opal Cone ridge. Four did the last scramble up to the snow filled crater, while the writer enjoyed the view and the pikas (much larger than Columbia Ground Squirrels). We returned, very tired, to a now very full Elfin Shelter, by 7:30 pm. A full moon, three lovely kids and choral snoring stand out as memories. Sunday morning, with light showers chasing us, we returned home, glad we endured the heat to see Opal Cone on such a brilliant, if hot, day.”


Johnstone Strait Kayak Tour 16/08/08

Sandra kayaking the Johnstone Strait / Broughton Archipelago:
“Our group of 8 headed out for a great 6-days on the water around both the Johnstone Strait south of Telegraph Cove and north through the Broughton Archipelago (as far north as Insect Island and Echo Bay). We got a little of everything… Half the time there was beautiful sunshine but we also had a day of rain. The winds picked up for sections of our days (including one “exciting” crossing with waves from both current/wind, and also from the wake of a cruise ship!) but we also had wonderfully calm days. Campsites ranged from amazing island set ups with wooden structure outlines ready for tarps & tree swings to simple clearings in the woods. We had lazy easy days and a couple long paddle days.

Highlights from the trip included seeing porpoises everyday, orcas half the days, visiting First Nation reserves / abandoned communities, campfires every night, amazing food, freezing dips in the ocean (did I mention the WARM campfires?!?!), navigation practice during early morning fogged-in paddles & hunting down camping areas amongst the islands and the distance we got from the crowds of Johnstone Strait. Good times on and off the water!”

Pre-breakfast paddle, navigating only by compass through the fog

Mt Strachan 16/08/08

Paul on Mt Strachan:
“The plan had been to approach Mount Strachan via Strachan Meadows, or the ‘back side’ route. A fellow Wanderunger reported that two weeks ago, when his group took this route, there was still a couple of feet of snow along the steepest section of the approach rendering it slightly treacherous. Therefore we elected to change the route up and take the Baden Powell/Old Strachan Trail route. We stuck to the original plan of returning via the ski runs. A couple of notes:
1. If you are taking the Baden Powell/Old Strachan Trail route and using Dawn Hanna’s Best Hikes and Walks of SWBC as a guide, ignore her trail directions which are (to put it mildly) misleading. Follow these directions instead:
–take the Baden Powell Trail east from the park map at the down hill ski area parking lot
–the Old Strachan trail (not labelled as such) is on your left, about 15 minutes along the Baden Powell, at it’s first junction. It is marked by a wooden sign which indicates that the Baden Powell continues east. You want to turn north (left) and take the unlabelled trail (unlabelled as opposed to unmarked — it is quite well marked). There is some blow down directly at the entrance to it, and a fair bit of blow down all along the trail, none of it that difficult to negotiate.
–You will encounter one more trail junction. Go left rather than right.
–Trail then will take you to the first summit of Strachan if you choose to follow it all the way. It coincides with a ski run a couple of times. At either point you can elect to leave the trail and continue on the ski run which also ends up at the south summit.
2. Summits. Strachan has two summits, south and north. The views from the north summit are much more impressive than those from the south (the view of the Lions is unimpeded), and so it is well worth hiking the extra 20 min or so it takes to get from south to north summits.
3. Strachan Meadows route: state of the trail. I hiked down the back of Strachan a little ways to check trail conditions. I could see snow, but it looked to me as though most, if not all, of the snow had melted away from the trail itself. Probably soon ok to take the Strachan Meadows route.
4. Ski run return. In past years the only available ski run to return by was a blue one (beginners’ run) a series of gradual switch backs ending you up at the down hill ski parking lot starting point. We found ourselves on a newly created run, the Bowen, an advanced run and obviously quite steep. We decided to try our luck rather than doubling back up, and a couple of us found sections of it a bit tricky to negotiate. Recommend sticking to the blue run for the return, if you plan to return via runs (and before you begin the hike checking the ski run map at the parking lot to orient yourself).
5. Timing. Saturday was the first time I’d hiked to Strachan by the Baden Powell/Old Strachan trail route. It is significantly longer than the Howe Sound Crest/ Strachan Meadows route. Allow 7 hours for the round trip (it took us about 6, including an extra half hour of needless hiking before we determined the location of the Old Strachan Trail.”