Monthly Archives: September 2015

Needle Peak, 30 Sep 2015

Anita B. on Needle Peak:
“Five of us ventured out to Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area to explore the trail to Needle Peak and Flatiron. Despite the foggy start in Vancouver in the morning the skies cleared up just past Chilliwack. It was a crisp and sunny day on the trails. When we got to Needle Peak the last scramble was a bit of a challenge and only part of the group made it to the peak. After completing Needle Peak we continued to Flatiron which was a quick 40 minute hike to the other ridge. The trail conditions were great and fairly well marked. Beautiful views and we even managed to spot Mt Baker off in the distance. If you head out this way be aware that Exit 217 on Highway 5 is not marked.”

Illal Meadows traverse, 26 Sep 2015

Colleen C. at Illal Meadows:
“In spite of the evidence hitting the windshield on the drive out to the Coquihalla, I remained stubbornly optimistic the clouds would clear and we’d have glorious sunshine all weekend. As it turned out, I was half right and we got to enjoy a snowstorm too!

After a fairly smooth ride along the 20 km of the Tulameen Road and then a deftly driven 3-km up the bumpy Illal Creek road (still waterbarred but less bushy than I remembered) we made it all the way to the trailhead. The 5-km Illal Meadows trail gives straightforward access to the meadows, a lovely area with white rock, heather and tarns, from which one can choose their own adventure (Jim Kelly and Coquihalla Mts are popular objectives).

Just as we made it out of the forest, the wind picked up and cold, swirling white stuff filled the skies. We found a sheltered spot in a tree clump to eat lunch and imagined the views around us – the elusive Illal Unicorn featuring prominently. With next to no visibility, we went another 3 hrs around Illal Peak and NNE along the ridge towards Spiral before finding a suitable camp spot.

We awoke to sunny skies and after a leisurely breakfast continued along the ridge to Spiral (minor scrambling). After lunch on the summit, we wandered back to camp to pack up. Heading back we enjoyed the views we missed the day before. Identifying peaks, marvelling at the fall colours, searching for salamanders, and engaging in serious squirrel discussions, the day went by all too quickly.

Thanks for staying cheerful, sharing snacks and warmth, and maintaining a sense of humour – you all made it a great trip!”

Mt Bishop, 23 Sep 2015

Tamara S. on Mt Bishop:
“This was a bike & hike trip into the Seymour Valley up to Mt Bishop at 1509 m. We, a group of 4 hikers, set out with our bikes from the gazebo at the entrance of Seymour Valley Trailway at 8.30 am and pedaled all the way back to the dam on the paved road. Up over the Bear Bridges, a bit uphill and on to the Mt Bishop trail. It took us one hour to cycle in. The first part of the trail is pretty steep with a lot of ropes for help. On a wetter day the downhill could get quite tricky here as the trail is very muddy and slippery. At the lakes, half-way up, one of the hikers decided to descend again to return to the city and 3 of us continued to the peak. Just below the peak on the rock field it is not immediately clear where the peak is but it becomes clearer as you get up over a little gully with a view to the peak. It is a bit of a scramble at the top where you have a beautiful 360 degree view. Lots of water on the way up to refill water bottles. We were back at the gazebo at around 6.15ish quite tired, with some scratches, bruises and dirty pants.

Advice: good shoes, it can be very wet at the lakes and muddy on the first section.”

Mount Bishop Summit

Sunshine Coast Trail, 30 Aug 2015

Stephen H. on the Sunshine Coast Trail:
“Nine days into our 10-day, 178-kilometre journey on the Sunshine Coast Trail, I ran out of toilet paper. But there was no way I could hold it until the next outhouse at Rainy Day Lake, so a corner of the Powell River recreation map was sacrificed for the cause.

While the SCT isn’t as difficult as the North Coast Trail, which took me six days to backpack in August, it offers its own special set of challenges. Traversing the Upper Sunshine Coast from Sarah Point to Saltery Bay, the SCT offers no beach hiking, climbs up and over a few mountains, and covers three times as much distance as the NCT.

It’s largely a forest trail — one that visits old-growth groves, clear-cuts, and everything in between. Eleven huts provide shelter along the way, so hikers can plan to spend all but two nights under their roofs. Hotels in Powell River, which is a good place to resupply, often profit from one of the remaining nights, while the other typically involves tent camping near Lois Lake.

Lund Water Taxi provided transportation to the trailhead at Sarah Point. Travelling north to south, we camped at Plummer Creek; slept in a motel in Powell River (and enjoyed an excellent dinner at Costa del Sol restaurant); stayed in the huts at Anthony Island, Fiddlehead Landing, Tin Hat Mountain, Elk Lake, and Walt Hill; tented at Stanley Creek; and spent our final night in the Rainy Day Lake hut. Most of the huts are open-air affairs, but a few are winterized and feature pellet stoves for heat.

Although our thru-hike lasted 10 days — the original plan was 11 days, but August’s big windstorm delayed our water taxi — I recommend 12 days of hiking plus one travel day on the front. If a more leisurely pace is preferable, you could take as long as 14 days.

We found the best views on Manzanita Bluffs, Scout Mountain, Tin Hat Mountain, and Walt Hill. Mount Troubridge is the highest point on the SCT, but its treed summit was foggy during our visit.

All in all, hiking the SCT from end to end was an experience I will never forget. Thanks so much to Jason and Svetlana for joining me on this trek.

See photos from the trip here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shui/sets/72157658135544789

Tin Hat Mountain hut from summit at sunrise

Ptarmigan Ridge, 12 Sep 2015

Bob H. on Ptarmigan Ridge:
“Ptarmigan Ridge is another great hike in the North Cascades in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington. The trail starts at Artist Point, 12 km northeast of Mount Baker summit. Artist Point is the starting point for a number of great hikes, such as Table Mountain and Chain Lakes. And a bonus… the road to Artist point is paved the entire way!! The trail is almost entirely in the open, with shaded areas in the premium. The route follows a well built trail traversing scree slopes of the ridge. There are non-stop views on this hike, including Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, numerous glaciers, ice fields, lakes and former glaciers, which appear to have a short time left; we even saw five mountain goat. Today was an amazing mid-September day, with highs in the upper 20s, no clouds, no wind and no bugs, making for an enjoyable hike. The Ptarmigan Ridge trail seems to go on for a long time. We finally had to make a decision when to turn around. This hike would make a great area for camping, as there are many locations to pitch a tent and so much to explore.

Trip stats, route and more photos on my blog, http://www.buntzenlake.ca/ptarmigan-ridge

Scree slopes with Mount Shuksan in background.

Skyline Ridge, 7 Sep 2015

Eugene Y. on Skyline Ridge:
“This ridge is easily accessible from the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, however, we wanted to hike up all the way from the parking lot. The Sea-to-Summit trail was mildly crowded on this fine Labour Day, nevertheless, once we turned to the Shannon Basin trail, the crowd vanished.

The initial portion of the Skyline ridge trail is not too inspiring, as it follows a logging road for the first 2.5 km. Thankfully, the trail becomes really enjoyable once it leaves the road. It took us under 4 hours to get from the parking lot to the end of the “official” trail (~1200 m elevation), and then we proceeded for another hour through a pleasant forest along a less-marked trail till we finally reached a plateau at the junction of the Skyline and Goat Ridges. Now it was picture time!

On the way back, it took us about 2.5 hours to hike down to the Summit Plaza. That left us plenty of time for a quick beer on the deck before taking the gondola down.

Some stats: elevation gain ~1600 m, total distance: ~23 km.

Overall, the Skyline Ridge is a wonderful destination for a day hike. The trail is gentle with practically no scramble, and the views are truly magnificent.”

CoPilot

Locomotive Mountain, 5 Sep 2015

Bob H. on Locomotive Mountain:
“Back to the Pemberton area again today for another hike in the mountains. Semaphore Lakes is known for its great camping, as it’s a relatively short hike and there are many many spots to pitch a tent. But today, we did a day trip, leaving North Vancouver at 7:30 and making it to the trailhead at 10:45. The worst part of the drive is the last 17 km on the Lillooet FSR and the Hurley River FSR, which are gravel and full of bumps, potholes and rocks. Anyways, we made it to the trailhead in my 2wd Mazda 3. It was a bit nippy today, but the jacket was stripped off about 20 mins into the hike. The trail was very muddy, probably due to last week’s rain. It took us about one hour to make it to the start of the campsite area, 3 km from the start. We headed towards Locomotive Mountain, where 2 members of our group went on to the summit and 2 members explored the valley.

More info, stats and photos here: http://www.buntzenlake.ca/semaphore-lakes/

Railroad group of mountains, with Train Mountain on far left