Monthly Archives: May 2009

Mt Sproatt 16/05/09

Ahmad on Mt Sproatt:
“We were lucky in many ways of how our hike turned out. We headed first to Whistler Olympic Park. I was surprised by how little snow existed there at altitude 850 m. The forest looked too thick to be bushwhacked and the snow conditions looked bleak. We headed then to an abandoned gold mine which I thought would be better approach as it was located at 1000 m and it was on a more direct route. We parked at about 960 m where the snow line started. We were then pleasantly surprised to find a road that took us all the way up to the ridge (it is possible that this is drivable to about altitude 1250 m in summer. I also think that this road is used by snowmobiles in winter). Soft and slushy snow on the ridge took a big toll of energy from us. It was not sunny but it was definitely a hot day. We got to 1 km away from the peak at altitude 1720 m but we then decided that it was not really worth it to complete the hike. Instead we headed to a false summit at 1750 m and we called it a day. I am very sure that we could have made it.”

Sunset Trail 16/05/09

Steve on the Sunset Trail:
“Seven of us embarked upon what was a much steeper trail than I had anticipated from Sunset Marina. Our group had a very compatible pace so we managed to cut through distance to the 850 m mark quickly despite a significant amount of windfall (but someone with a chainsaw had fixed most). However, at that point we hit snow, but it was not difficult to walk on it in boots. We did, however, lose the trail near the loop at the top and were not 100% sure we made it to the right viewpoint, and at least 1 km of our journey was off-trail but we did manage to pick it up on the way back.

Given the dismal weather report, this turned out to be a good trip, with a great group, but I’d wait until June before trying this trail. And lastly, the famed Sundowner pub is no longer. The former best location in West Van is now the home of a crabby caretaker for the marina that does not welcome you with open arms.”

Alouette Mountain 15/05/09

Robert C. on the Alouette Mountain trail:
“Alouette Mountain is located in Golden Ears Provincial Park near Maple Ridge. On the Friday before the Victoria Day long weekend, seven of us headed out on the trail to Alouette Mountain which provides an endless panoramic view of neighbouring mountains and other landmarks. Without snowshoes, our goal was to hike to the snowline but we were motivated to reach the summit after realizing the snow was relatively easy to walk on. It was a challenge physically, especially to do a hike that is even considered long in the summer (22 km return) with an elevation gain of 1100 m and a peak elevation of 1366 m. This trail has lots of variety winding through forests and an old logging road. This hike was a great example of teamwork as each played a role in navigating as we tried to view the tree markers, some of which were buried under the snow. After about 4.5 hours hiking through the snow we saw the famous Blanshard Needle that towers over the mountain. There are great views of Golden Ears Peak, Edge Peak, Evans Peak, Robie Reid, Alouette Lake, and more. After about an hour on the peak, we headed back down to reach the trail head 2.5 hours later. I would recommend this trail to anyone who likes to snowshoe in the spring, and also to those who like beautiful views from the summit.”

Cheakamus Canyon 09/05/09

Susie at Cheakamus Canyon:
“Susie, Angela, Louise and Noman met on a gorgeous Saturday morning for this very enjoyable hike. With Highway 99 open through the contentious Eagle Bluffs, travel to Squamish is now fast and easy. We drove to the end of the road in Paradise Valley (we had a 4×4, but saw 4x2s at the parking spot), and started up the trail to cross the BC Rail line. That dealt with most of the (minimal) elevation gain, and soon we were at Starvation Lake, very pretty on a sunny morning with a couple of Canada geese posing in the middle. Shortly after we entered the canyon area, via an exciting piece of trail where you are literally walking on air … fortunately over some sturdy netting securely fastened to the cliff. The sound of the Cheakamus River pounding through the canyon was with us for the rest of our trip. It is impressive looking down at the railway line below and marvelling at the engineering required to build it. The trail must pass through a rain shadow, because the vegetation is more reminiscent of the Interior than coastal rain forest. The trail eventually peters out at Highway 99, so we turned around before the traffic noise was too great. A lovely relaxing hike, although we agreed it probably should be classified as a “wike” (walk/hike). It’s worth noting that this trail is snow free 99% of the year.”

Levette Lake 09/05/09

Chris on the Skyline and Copperbush Trails near Levette Lake:
“Cara, Ivy, Jennifer, Susan, and Tao joined me on a leisurely ramble around the Skyline/Copperbush trails with a sidetrip to Levette Lake. Don’t believe the bad reports for this trail that you might read on the Internet. Granted, if you plan on going in a clockwise direction, the start of the trail is tricky to find and looks a bit overgrown but it’s fine after 100 m – just watch for the painted can lids nailed to trees. The lookouts have grown in a bit (like at Diez Vistas) but the views are still great (Tantalus in your face) and the trail is quiet. Levette Lake is popular and we encountered a large car-camping group up there. Hanging out at the lake is a bit cooler than at the bluffs (like Silver Summit) to the south.”

Hayward Lake 09/05/09

Paula on the Hayward Lake trail:
“We couldn’t have wished for better weather for this hike. The group of eight were ready to embrace the day with good cheer. Initially missing the turnoff to get us on to Dewdney Trunk Road, we soon realised our mistake, it added extra travel time to reach the trail head but otherwise would be less than an hour from our meeting place at Safeway at Broadway & Commercial.

It is a well marked and maintained trail, much like Buntzen Lake but almost twice the distance. The old railway trestle bridges half emerged in the water provide an interesting backdrop for photographs as does the forest with moss covered trees, ferns etc. The Steelhead Falls was spectacular this time of year, running fast and furious, we stopped to take photos and snack at the base. Whilst we did pass a few small groups of hikers in the afternoon, it was relatively quiet on the trail. Back where we started we relaxed in the sun and contemplated taking a swim from the sandy beach.

Whilst there is not a lot of elevation the upsy/downsy trail and the 16/17 km length does provide a good workout and trail time was 4.5 hrs including our rest stops.”

Wanderung Hayward Lake May 09 001

Upper Shannon Falls 09/05/09

Su-Laine at Upper Shannon Falls:
“Upper Shannon Falls is an underrated trail in two respects. Where else, at 12:30 PM on a gorgeous Saturday, can you have an entire summit to yourself with beautiful views over Howe Sound? Other than the 185 m of staircase that it shares with the Stawamus Chief trail, this hike is uncrowded enough that you can feel that you’re getting away from it all. The trail is also underrated, though, in terms of difficulty. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s listed in a book called “109 Walks” or by memories of family picnics in the lower Shannon Falls area – on average this trail is about as steep as The Lions.

Our planned Cheakamus Lake trip didn’t happen. We got about 3 km into the 8.5 km logging road off Hwy 99 and had to turn back because of snow on the road. Vehicles with high clearance might be able to get to the trailhead, but I’m not sure. A stroll in Whistler after dinner took its place as our second hike of the day.”

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Campbell Lake 09/05/09

Michelle on the Campbell Lake trail:
“Think hiking in Chilliwack is closer to home than the Harrison Hotsprings area? Think again! This ‘think outside the Vancouver bubble’ hike proved to us that although Chilliwack is before Agassiz and Harrison on the highway, in actual fact it took us only about an hour to reach our destination, far far FAR less than reaching many popular Chilliwack trailheads. Why? Easy to navigate quick to drive highway all the way to your destination vs never ending are-we-there-yet Chilliwack Lake Rd and service roads which turn your Chilliwack turn off of Hwy 1 into just the ‘beginning’ of your trek. However, note that upon our arrival the lovely map at the trailhead was covered with a “TRAIL ACCESS CLOSED” sign. Thanks to April for taking on the wild goose chase of tracking down details. According to Public Works, trail access is scheduled to re-open by beginning of October. However, alternate access to Campbell Lake and trail is provided via the Mount Woodside service road with a 4×4, which also passes by Stacey Lake. The area was clear of snow and the views from the outlook were the highlight. Exercise extreme caution if in the area close to the #9 (Hot Springs Rd) trailhead – apparently they are doing some periodic blasting work. Public Works Inquiries 604-796-2171.”

East Sooke Trail 03/05/09

Erez on the East Sooke Trail:
“On a cloudy Sunday, Phil, Iris and I took the Ferry to Vancouver Island, drove past Victoria to East Sooke to the Aylard Farm trailhead of the East Sooke coast trail. The entire trail is about 11 km, but since we had only one car we hiked only to Cabin Point, taking the interior trail back to Aylard Farm. It took us about 1.5 hours to reach Beech head (a bluff overlooking the ocean), and another 1.5 hours or so to get to Cabin Point. The interior trail from there back to Aylard Farm turned out to be rather short and after an hour we were back in the car. Although it does not have any serious elevation gain the trail is not level and goes up and down quite often. The scenery was great – thin forest, green meadows, lots of Arbutus trees, emerald-coloured ocean, little coves, all made the trail quite interesting to walk on. We saw a woodpecker, a couple of eagles, and interrupted a sleeping seal at Cabin Point. There were very few people hiking the trail with us. Our only regret was not to have two cars so we could have hiked the entire trail. Oh well, next time.”

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Shannon Falls and the Chief 03/05/09

Heather at Upper Shannon Falls and the Chief:
“Nine of us outwitted the weather report and had a great day doing a double hike to upper Shannon Falls and then the 2nd and 3rd summit of the Stawamus Chief in Squamish. The group included a nice mix – from “first hike in Canada” to our local “Mountain Meister”, plus three other Wanderungers that we bumped into along the way. After all these years, I’d forgotten how steep the Chief is, but we all got a good workout and took extended lunch breaks on the bluffs overlooking Howe Sound and then on the second peak while watching the cute chipmunks running around. The chains and ladders between 1st and 2nd summit add excitement to the way up, and the loop trail between 2nd and 3rd summits is an easier, varied way of getting down. All of us enjoyed a good early season hike and great company.”