Andy G. at St Mark’s Summit:
“A glorious day out with a relaxed bunch of fellow hikers. Seven of us set off along the trail to St Mark’s, seeking sunshine wherever we could. It was f-f-f-freezing cold near Yew Lake, easily the coldest part of the day, but not too bad a little higher up in the forest where it was cool, light and airy. Bowen Lookout was worth the detour, the Lions were resplendent in their white winter coat, and the whisky jacks were as bold as ever at St Mark’s.
The snow was thin and well compacted along the trail, which was easy to follow. Microspikes or YakTrax were helpful for the descent but not really needed on the way up. Off trail, there was about 20 cm of light powder sitting on an icy crust. This crust bore my weight quite easily, but I had little traction even with YakTrax especially on a slope. Getting to the lower viewpoint was a little tricky as it was hard to make steps in the snow but we all made it and enjoyed lunch in the sun.
A couple of things to note. Day passes are at the old lodge – pick up one *before* you try and cross the ski area. And don’t expect to start on the trail before 9:30 – we (and everyone else) were held up by the fact that the ski resort was still doing work on the runs. I’m guessing that this is mostly due to them having to manage the low snow levels and work to make the skiing any good, and that this restriction might be eased later in the season.”
Steve v. dashing through the bike lanes, on his one-person open bike:
“It was a perfect night for a sleigh-bell ride by bike around Vancouver’s holiday sights. Twelve of us, most decked out either in bike lights or attire, really rang in the holiday spirit. On our route we hit St. Paul’s, the Robson ice rink, Jack Poole plaza, Canada Place, Lost Lagoon, the West End willow tree, the tree near David Lam park and Olympic Village, plus all the trails and seawall in between.
That wasn’t the best part though. The true meaning of this season was seen in the reactions of others hearing our broadcasted Christmas music coming and then turning to see Santa Claus, Rudolph and more riding their way on a cold winter night, completely decked out in festive wheels and frame lights. We received applause, smiles, comments, compliments, and many camera flashes.
One unexpected highlight was when a carol ship paused under the Granville St. Bridge and cranked up Ave Maria on their fantastic sound system. It reverberated like a cathedral between the buildings and bridge deck. We then heard a voice – Colleen who was scheduled to ride with us yelling from the ship telling us our bikes look awesome!
It truly is better to give than to receive. I want to thank everyone that came for the extra effort they put in. This isn’t just a “pack your bag” callout; people spent money and time to make it more than the sum of the parts for this ride. Happy Holidays everyone!”
Andrew W. on Hollyburn Peak:
“It was a beautiful day as a party of two headed up Hollyburn Peak for a nice relaxing hike. Snow was scarce with just a dusting of the white stuff at the top, all hard packed down from the rain and freeze-thaw conditions this past week (nowhere near the amount needed for snowshoes.) A little bit of ice in a few places made the trail a little more slippery than usual but on a clear day one could see for miles. A great break from the madness of the malls!”
Stephen H. on Mount Crumpit:
“Last month’s trip to Crumpit Woods in Squamish called for a follow-up. Christine, Donna, Jaime, and Sherron joined me for a delightful loop that visited Mount Crumpit, Five Point Hill, and three other hilltops in the woods. With so many mountain bike trails in the area, it’s easy to get off course. Fortunately, a map and GPS kept us from getting lost. We had the place to ourselves (except for the occasional sound of dirt bikes) and enjoyed plenty of views of the Chief. After hiking the Woodpecker trail, we even saw one of those too.”
Chris M. on Tim Jones Peak:
“We visited Tim Jones Peak on the last day of November. Travel was on snow the entire way but was only a few inches deep. Using the micro-spikes after Brockton was helpful but not essential. After Tim Jones Peak we went for a small wander west and then back to Pump Peak. Other than the banana bread, all other shared food & drink involved chocolate, even the one with Baileys. It was peaceful on the way up but by the time we came down it was quite busy.”
Stephen H. in Crumpit Woods:
“Apparently, I should have labelled this callout as “exploratory”. Matt, Mary, and Saeed set off with me to ascend the Seven Summits of Crumpit. After getting the help of a Squamish local to find the Smoke Bluffs summit, we decided to bypass the majority of the hilltops on the agenda and make a beeline for the tallest, Mount Crumpit. After a few hours of navigating the maze of mountain bike trails in this interesting area, it was clear we wouldn’t make our objective and return before sundown. So we looped back on the Summer’s Eve trail, making our trip the One Summit of Crumpit. Watch out for my Mount Crumpit callout in the future.”
Stephen H. at Sawblade Falls:
“This was a lovely rainy-day hike. Four waterfalls, foggy forest, and a huge stump. Matt, Mary, and Chris joined me for this loop involving the Coquitlam Lake View Trail and Woodland Walk. Signage was much better than I expected. Sawblade Falls is quite impressive – definitely worth a visit to Pinecone Burke Provincial Park.”
Stephen H. at Levette Lake:
“Fred, Gabriela, Seth, and I lucked out as the forecasted rain didn’t materialize on this hike. And what an enjoyable little fall hike it was. We took the Copperbush, Silver Summit, Skyline, and Fraser-Burrard trails, stopping for lunch at Levette Lake in the middle. As the clouds cleared, we feasted on Tantalus Range views as Fred recounted his adventures on Mount Fairweather and other treacherous peaks. An old Douglas-fir provided the final highlight as we neared the car.”
Chris M. at Russet Lake:
“Our small group of two went with a backup plan – 2-night trip to Russet Lake. I thought we would take the gondola up and hike down route. However, the gondola is shut down until Nov 27 so we started hiking from the village at noon. The Singing Pass Trail is very easy to follow, though there are two washouts, with the Harmony Creek one being the worst. After joining the trail from Musical Bumps the snow became much deeper than anticipated and I was postholing frequently. Because of that, just before dark we set up a tent on the snow and went to sleep with a nice view of Black Tusk. The snow was firmer in the morning and travel was much easier. We went directly over Cowboy Ridge and down to the lake and hut. Russet Lake had only recently frozen over and fresh water was still flowing out (I don’t know if this is available all winter long). It was clear and beautiful. The views were especially terrific from Cowboy Ridge, where we had gone back up to watch the colours after sunset. The temperature dropped and it was a very cold night in the hut. I wasn’t really ready for winter yet. The trail out was frozen and awkward in a few spots but still only took about 4.5 hours to reach the village of Whistler.”
Eugene on Zoa Peak and at Adams River:
“Four of us traveled to Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park east of Kamloops in order to watch one of the largest Sockeye salmon runs in the world. The official festival has already ended, however, the spawning season was at its peak. The fish count follows a mysterious 4-year pattern and is dramatically higher this year.
As we were walking along the river, we had plenty of opportunities to have a closeup look at sockeye, as they were too busy struggling against the strong current in a desperate effort to reach their life-long goal. Portions of the river bank has accumulated a large amount of dead or dying fish. And yet, as we walked along those graveyards, we could easily spot the beginning of a new life with plenty of fish eggs lying around. Overall, it was a really dramatic experience watching the fish, as the sockeye offered us another perspective on life and death.
Another highlight of the trip was the spectacular Thompson valley and the city of Kamloops with its well-preserved historic downtown. This was a great place to escape from the never-ending Vancouver rain…
On the way to Kamloops, we did a short hike to Zoa Peak. Most of the trail was covered by fresh snow, which started at about the 2 km mark and became over 20 cm deep at the peak. However, there were still a few open rock sections in the middle part.
Route finding to Zoa Peak was a challenge, especially on the upper portion, where there were virtually no visible markers. We were mostly following the footprints of some small animals that appeared to follow roughly the same route.
Unfortunately, the main Zoa Peak was hidden in clouds, so that once we reached the fully forested minor peak, we decided to turn back. Nevertheless, as we were walking along, we had plenty of opportunities to enjoy the gorgeous views on the surrounding peaks and valleys.”