Chris M. on the BCMC Trail:
“Two of us earned our 20% pack weight badges on Tuesday evening. The BCMC trail up Grouse was easy to follow and somewhat busy. We saw around 20 people in total and our microspikes were helpful once we reached the snow towards the end. The added weight really engaged my leg muscles which made for a fun workout. Sylvia thought ‘like’ was too positive a word. It took us 1 hour & 40 minutes to reach the chalet, where we took the blue gondola back down.”
Chris N. on the Skyline Loop Trail:
“The Skyline Loop trail has been a spring classic for me for years. Some info on it can be found at https://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/levette-lake-loop/. I would suggest following the loop clockwise and, unless you are keen, leaving out the 45 minute road walk up to Levette Lake and back.
The road was a bit pothole-y but easily do-able in a low-slung Honda Civic. From the parking area (at the fork to Evans Lake camp), walk 200m up the road and turn left onto a wide path that skirts the camp property. A well-used trail from the camp soon joins in from the left and leads to a communal firepit and benches. Cross 2 bridges and immediately turn right. Later, when you emerge onto an old road with a sign, turn left. Two view-points and a lot of salal-wading later, you will come back to the main road. Turn right and walk a couple hundred metres until you see a pair of red flags and a footbridge on your left. This is the second half of the loop. After the junction to Copperbush Pond, you will come to another old road. Right returns to the cars but the side trail to Silver Summit is worth it. Turn left, cross the creek and then turn right after 20m. This climbs to the best view of the hike and a great place to relax in the afternoon sun for a while. Returning to the cars from here takes 10-15 mins. This trail doesn’t seem to get many visitors these days and there was some minor windfall.”
Chris N. at Raven Bluffs:
“Raven Bluffs Trail is on the SW flank of Nicomen Mt near Dewdney in the Fraser Valley. Being south and west facing and at a low elevation, it makes a good early season warm-up hike. The trail directions I have found for it aren’t very good though. Firstly, instead of parking outside the Inch Creek Fish Hatchery, I would suggest driving across the railway tracks on Hawkins Pickle Rd and park at the yellow gate on the south side of the tracks and 100 m short of Norrish Creek. This eliminates 2 acts of trespass but you still have to cross the railway tracks after crossing to the east side of the road bridge on foot. The route you want is marked by infrequent red and white diamond reflectors. Walk north about 850 m along the edge of the river and around a marsh ignoring branches to the left. At a small pile of rocks, take a right fork and gain a small bench. At the foot of a steep slope, there is another fork at another pile of rocks. Again, go right and start climbing a relatively steep trail. You will pass a few bluffs – 1, 2 and 4 are signed. 1 is viewless, 2 is on a steep slope, 3 is large, 4 is small and easily missed. At 320 m, you will encounter a fork (the left branch may be obscured a bit). If you do the loop, this is where you return. Continue right another 200 m for a large, un-numbered viewpoint (bluff 5). After this point, the trail becomes a bit more difficult to follow due to downed trees and branches. The trail soon becomes an old overgrown road. After a few hundred metres, you will come to a fork – take the left road. More road walking takes you to another junction. Take the left branch and climb slowly. Ignore a right branch and the road eventually ends at the final viewpoint (also used as a launch point for paragliders). The trail continues on the left side of the viewpoint and descends steeply. This quickly returns you to the 320-m fork. The road portion of the trail is largely wet, obstacled and viewless. A better variant would be to go to bluff 5 and then return to the 320-m fork and use that to access the paragliding launch bluff.”
Chris N. at Brohm Lake:
“After years of driving by Brohn Lake without stopping in, myself and a group of Wanderungers explored some of the trails in the area. There are two parking areas – a small one south of the lake (but you can’t turn into it if you are coming from the south) and the main one beside the lake. There was too much snow in the main lot so we drove back to the south one. The trails are well marked and there are directional signs and maps at all junctions. We explored all of the trails to the south of the lake. Snow covered most trails and ranged from a couple inches to a foot in depth. The forest is typical of the dry bluffs of the Cheakamus canyon – pleasant, open forest with lots of salal. There are 2 picnic spots overlooking the Cheakamus flats on the Cheakamus Loop Trail. We had lunch near an old gazebo-style fire lookout at a highpoint just off the High Trail. We covered about 10 km in about 4.5 hours. Though we saw footprints on almost all the trails, we only saw 3 other people. This hike would probably be best on a warm early spring day after the snow has melted – perhaps plan a trip in April.”
Colleen C. in Stanley Park:
“Due to highway alerts for the snowfall in West Van and the Sea to Sky, the Deeks Bluff plan was scaled back to a wander through Stanley Park. It was actually quite lovely to be there in the fresh snow. A great reminder at how nice the park is, especially the trails in the middle with very few people and tall trees all around. While not an epic hike, it was satisfying to get out for a walk and enjoy a rare day of winter in Vancouver.”
Andy G. at Elfin Lakes:
“Well I wanted a smaller group to return to Elfin Lakes 12 years after my first Wanderung hike, and I got it! Louise, Susan, and Gloria decided to brave the so-so weather forecast, which changed at the last minute to give us mostly sunny skies for the day. Garibaldi gleamed white in its dusting of snow from the day before, and the lakes were often still enough to yield perfect mountain reflections. We enjoyed a sunny lunch at a picnic table by the cook shelter rather than eating on the tent pads (which the other groups seemed to think was OK – a good opportunity to discuss some Leave No Trace principles). The shelter was empty and every bunk now has a ‘reserved’ label on it.
The trail was quite busy – the parking lot was pretty full when we arrived – many of whom were backpackers on their way out. The hikers’ trail out of Red Heather meadows is being upgraded and is currently a bit of a sticky, slippery mud-fest. One of the backpackers on their way out slipped and ended up plastered from head to toe. We stayed on the main trail on our descent which meant keeping our eyes and ears open for mountain bikers (there were quite a few).
The meadows have plenty of great fall colour but precious few berries. Our only wildlife sightings were a falcon and a bald eagle – not even a whisky jack or chipmunk though we heard pikas among the rocks.
Another great day out and a great way to celebrate 12 years with Wanderung!”
Anna K. at Yellow Aster Butte:
“Fred, Lisa, Mariana and myself ventured out to Yellow Aster Butte on October 1. Our timing was perfect: no border waiting, and we did the hike in 4.5 hours vs 7 suggested by the book, with rain starting to pour when we left the trail. We didn’t get to see the view at the top, as it was cloudy. We enjoyed the last blueberries and the mix of red-yellow-orange colours. Perfect hike to do in the Fall!”
Andy G. on Brandywine Mountain:
“Brandywine has quickly become one of my favourite summits. It’s a great mix of easy hiking and more challenging boulder-hopping with some steep terrain and a bit of route-finding thrown in for good measure. And then there are the stunning views. Mountains, glaciers, meadows, lakes… Definitely a hike to save for a sunny day.
The new trail into the meadows still has a muddy spot or two but it’s a massive improvement on the old trail. We were in the upper meadows within an hour or so. Beyond that there is an intermittent trail and cairns for guidance up to the ridge. More cairns point the way up to the higher part of the ridge, although they run out a couple of hundred metres short of the summit, which is where the route-finding comes it as the summit can’t be seen at this point. The summit itself is a small bump on top of a bigger bump, big enough for our group to find (un)comfy rocks to sit on to enjoy lunch.
The road to the upper parking lot is very rough and steep in places: our CR-V struggled in a couple of spots with a full load of 5 hikers. A vehicle with some clearance is a good idea as the bumpy road causes the vehicle to bounce quite a bit. A Subaru Outback made it up OK though. Budget about half an hour for the logging road.
Car-to-car was almost exactly 8 hours (we were leaving the meadows just as the sun set). We finished the day with a quick bite at the Howe Sound Brew Pub before heading home. Thanks to Sarah, Simon, Anna, and Janavie for joining me and making it such a great day out.”
Eugene Y. on Frosty Mountain:
“Seven of us went to explore the legendary alpine larches in Manning Park. We parked at the beautiful Lightning Lake and proceeded along the well-maintained trail toward Frosty Mountain. The trail was in excellent shape and easy to follow. After a two-hour pleasant walk amid bright-red and yellow fall colours we had a lunch break at the Frosty Creek campsite. After another half-an-hour walk we finally reached the Larch Plateau and then continued along the partially snow-covered trail toward the mountain. The larches had just started to turn yellow, so the predominant colour was golden-olive. The snow on the ground was already partially covered by yellow needle-like leaves.
As we started climbing the slopes of Frosty, the snow got deeper and reached about 20 cm at places. However, the final walk along the ridge was mostly snow-free.
Finally, we reached the summit. The views on the surrounding partially-covered snow peaks were truly breathtaking!
The descend was was fairly straightforward, although some portions of the trail were a bit slippery. We didn’t use microspikes, however, we found hiking poles really helpful.
Some stats. At a leisurely pace while taking lots of pictures, it took us about 4.5 hours from the parking lot to the peak and 3 hours to get back to the car.”
Chris N. on the Skywalk Trail:
“Nikolay, Estafan, Kelley, Michelle, Jodi, and Jordon joined me on a hike around the new Skywalk Trail in Whistler. This trail connects a few existing trails and explores the alpine on the east side of Rainbow Mtn. There are a couple trailheads one can use including the Rainbow Lake trailhead, the end of Alpine Way and the end of Mountain View Drive. We chose the latter as there is plenty of parking right at the trailhead (if you opt for Alpine Way, you have to park on Drifter Way and walk the road to the trailhead). The route is well signed with plenty of official and unofficial notices which is helpful as there are lots of trails that branch off in various directions.
We headed up the Lower 19 Mile Creek trail and then up the Screaming Cat Connector to the Flank trail. Finally up the Screaming Cat Lake trail. The junction with the start of the Skywalk North trail is unsigned but is at a clearing within a minute or 2 of the lake. A fainter trail (the one you want) heads left and around the lake. Iceberg Lake is only 100 m higher in elevation than Screaming Cat but the trail rambles up and down through alpine glades so you will feel like half of the elevation gain is in this section. You actually descend 100 m to Iceberg Lake where Skywalk North ends. Pick up the Upper 19 Mile Creek trail about 10 m north of the outlet of the lake. We elected to stick with this trail instead of branching off on the Skywalk South trail about 700 m east of Iceberg. Skywalk South climbs higher and spends more time in the alpine but the weather wasn’t providing much in the way of views. Upper 19 Mile connects with the Flank trail where one has to go east for about 50 m to find the continuation (Lower 19 Mile). There’s many mystery branches off this portion of the trail but the route we wanted was signed at all junctions. It took us about 7.5 hours with a lunch break but not much other lingering due to the cold weather.
A map of the Skywalk trail and its connecting trails can be found at https://www.cheakamuscommunityforest.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Don-MacLaurin-Skywalk-Trail-Map.pdf.”