Esther on Brandywine Mountain:
“We had a hard time driving to the trailhead. Shortly after turning left off Hwy 99, vehicles should make a sharp left turn on to an unpaved road towards “Brandywine Valley” upon reaching the junction where the paved road continues on the right to Callaghan Valley Ski Area. On the unpaved road, we passed a factory and then a big dusty parking lot before reaching a billboard. After that, the road branches were usually blocked off. We could have followed the main road until the junctions that 103 Hikes and Scrambles of SW BC mention, if the road hadn’t been so bumpy and steep in parts that we thought we had to be lost. One of the vehicles had to park half-way up. Our other vehicle (4WD) relayed the stranded half of the group to the trailhead. 2WD vehicles will need good clearance to make it almost to the trailhead.
We hiked from noon to 8:30pm. The approach to the meadows was steep, muddy, and well-marked. There was no snow in the meadows, but there was way more mud and mosquitoes then the wildflowers that were just starting to bloom. Hello gaiters!
After crossing the meadows and small streams, we hiked up a big snow patch over the scree below the ridge leading to Brandywine Mountain. The route was probably further left of this snow patch. We then followed the ridge to the top of Brandywine Mountain, over a little scree, a nice dirt path, a little snow, and big boulders. Amazing views when clouds moved aside briefly.
We returned along the ridge to the big snow face and slid down it for 30 minutes. Then we hiked back fast because the mosquito army was bombarding us full on.
Out at 8:30 pm, then we relayed people to the stranded car, and finally rolled into the Watershed Cafe for dinner at 9:40 pm. Long day, but what a great group!”