Chris M. on Brandywine Mountain:
“The combination of easy access and nice alpine makes Brandywine a good last-minute weekend destination. My Xterra made it to the 4wd parking area with no problems. The trail through the meadows has been upgraded and now there is very little mud. We left the valley before the end went south up to the ridge where we scouted out camping locations. From our vantage it was fun to watch different groups take various routes up the mountain. They all looked like coloured ants. In the evening we made a good firepit and soaked in the superb star show.
We didn’t rush in the morning but we were still easily the first people up to the summit on Sunday. We didn’t have to cross any snow and the views were fabulous. When we returned to camp we took a siesta before packing up and taking a slightly different route back down. Our travel time between parking and camping was around 2 hours, both ways,
Paul, Amy & Liam all had a similar desire for a relaxing but satisfying alpine trip, which made for a perfect group experience. The warm sunny weather was fantastic; especially for October.”
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.”
Steve v. at Tricouni Peak:
“Did we make the peak? Almost. Did we see amazing scenery and views all around? You bet we did! This trip was one of those epic dayhikes that may have better been served as an overnight trip. The need for a good 4×4 makes this particular destination hard to reach for the average hiker but do what you can to someday come to Tricouni Meadows and Peak.
Lakes, waterfall, flowering meadows and open summits all awaited us, impressing us at every muddy step. Yes, that is right, the legendary muddiness of this trail was out in full force but really is only an issue for the first 1/4 from the trailhead. Another group of hikers told us there is a way less muddy trail on the other side of the creek and had the clean pants to show for it (someone look into this!).
The group (me, Tamara, Paul, Perry) held up a decent pace but we still found that the mud, combined with the extensive scree fields and snow patches put us way over the 7 hour time estimate listed in 103 Hikes. More like 9 hours with lunch but I can’t help but think maybe it is easier with more snow in certain parts than less.
After an exhausting hike out with an endless “last kilometre” we tried to get into the Watershed for some grub but it was packed and ended up at the Howe Sound Brew pub.
One last big thanks to Perry for getting us to the trailhead and for having a spare pair of boots to lend!”
Tu Loan at Twin Lakes:
“Steps to an awesome backcountry trip through Wanderung:
- Place a callout to the most amazing place within a 4 hour drive: Twin Lakes (Haylmore-Melvin Divide in 103 Hikes Book).
- Be lucky enough to gather a group of great people who all pitch in to do their part to make the trip great: Elisa, meal sharer extraordinaire; Ty, beverage sharer extraordinaire; and Nima, human mule extraordinaire. TLT was photographer and meal sharer #1.
- Have a car that can drive 13 km on rough FSR and make rock clearing a sport amongst your passengers.
- Provide a doable and scenic 10 km hike through a U-shaped valley with plenty of flowers and creeks to distract from the bugs.
- Arrive at the first lake with plenty of time to take in the beauty of being in the alpine and the magnificent views mountains to the south and waterfalls to the north.
- Prepare a delicious meal for 4 with the non-chefs fighting off the now-not-so-cute-but-aggressive marmots (one ran off with Nima’s headlamp on our last day!). Beverages were well paired for the meal: white wine, après dinner port, and Bailey’s for yet hot chocolate.
- Be prepared for the unexpected cold evening! Ty’s bivy sack was frosted, inside and out, the next morning. Luckily, we had a structural engineer to explain the phenomenon.
- Spend the whole day exploring the area above the first lake, with a magical trek through a meadow of wildflowers!! Nearby peaks are scramble-able. Make sure you have Matt Gunn’s book to help with route finding.
- Enjoy a second evening of a delicious meal and wine pairing and great company.
- Pack up the last day and retrace trek back to car and head over to Birkenhead Provincial Park to find solace from heat and jump into the refreshing lake. This was also bought us time until HWY 99 southbound opens up again (Iron Man Canada).
- Enjoy after hike refreshments and meal in Pemberton!
Thank you Elisa, Nima, and Ty for making my first overnighter callout so memorable with great stories, great food, and great company! Pictures as proof!”
Chris M. at Semaphore Lakes:
“Six of us in 2 cars went up the newly opened Hurley FSR to Semaphore Lakes for the weekend. The trail in took a little over an hour and had patchy snow sections. We found a nice rocky plateau to set up camp on and then we all headed up towards Locomotive Mountain. Except for the final ridge the entire hike up was still on snow. Ino, Colleen, (another) Chris & myself went the easiest route possible while Cara and Mark tried out a more direct line. There were plenty of fun slides on the way back down. That evening, we enjoyed a variety of beverages while waiting for the stars to appear. The next day, 3 of our group made it to the summit of Face Mountain. Two of us went part way and then returned to camp and relaxed with our 6th member. The hike out was easy.”
Stacey A. atop Golden Ears:
“Mark, Mike, and Tanya joined me on an overnight hike to Golden Ears. The first part of the hike to Alder Flats was fairly straight forward with some elevation gain. After Alder Flats, you climb up an old logging road that now resembles more of a creek bed, due to the larger rocks, before the steeper hiking starts just after the stairs. The route is well marked with flagging, but we could see where people could get off the trail if not paying attention (per some of the Club Tread posts). The trail climbs consistently up until you hit Panorama Ridge, at times requiring a bit of acrobatics and fancy footwork with our big packs on! The Golden Ears website said the shelter was at the 9 km mark, but it was closer to the 11 km mark. A good part of the trail is in the trees which made for a nice break from the sun, but as you near the ridge, it becomes more exposed. There was no snow the entire way to the shelter/Panorama Ridge. Lots of snow & run off surrounding the shelter and up towards the summit, so lots of opportunity to get water (but you have to cross a bit of a slippery slope to get to the stream). There was no outhouse to be found at the shelter either. LOTS of biting black flies and mosquitoes the whole way up and at camp. That being said, if you are considering doing this as a two day trip, it is absolutely worth the effort to camp at the ridge!! For the hike to the summit, I believe there is a possibility to complete most of it without needing to get on the snow. The snow is fairly soft and quite slippery. Our crew had crampons and was able to hike straight up the snow to a bit of a saddle just before the final ascent (and we saw people doing it with nothing, although they seemed to be slipping a fair bit). There was a steeper scramble right before the summit. The route we took from the shelter took less than an hour to the summit.”
Pardeep on Hat Mountain:
“Hat Mountain, what a beauty of a summit! Roberto M., Mark J, and I chose the Tunnel Point trail which starts opposite of viewpoint pullout along Highway 99; the viewpoint is North of Lions Bay. The trail was in great condition and offers many views of the ocean and islands. The trail connects up to the FSR that runs North-South. We headed generally North, until the trail starts ramping up to the East towards Hat. We chose the South Ridge approach, but based on my compass bearing, we were more so on the West ridge; the South and West ridge system is pretty broad.
The snow was quite steep in many sections, and it would be helpful to have an ice axe. Just below the summit, there was a short section of technically steep snow, at least in my opinion. The views though… Holy Moly! Windsor, Gotha (Peak 5400), Coburg, Hanover, and the beautiful North Face of Brunswick; any which way, it was fantastic. I would highly recommend this as a destination; it’s an obscure mountain that doesn’t seem to get much attention. I would also like to give a huge thank you to Weedwhacker over at Club Tread. This guy volitionally maintains the Hat Mountain trail. I can say without hesitation, the trail markings and small maps provided are the best I’ve encountered. His efforts make reaching the summit a breeze. Thank you!”
Andy at Garibaldi Lake:
“Andrea and John joined Maria and myself for a turkey-free long weekend of camping and hiking in perfect weather at Garibaldi Lake. Saturday morning, we bagged the last spot in the upper parking lot (at 8:15 am!) and were camped at the lake by 12 noon. Fortunately the majority of the vehicles were from day hikers – we had no trouble finding places to camp. Maria, Andrea and I headed for Panorama Ridge and its panoramic views while John soaked up the sun by the lake. Ear-plugs were very handy on Saturday night thanks to a couple of noisy groups who entertained everyone in earshot for a few hours. Did you know that if you howl like a wolf, the sound echoes around the lake…?
On Sunday morning the four of us headed for Mt Price. This isn’t a trail for novice hikers: part of the route involves crossing huge boulders with big dark gaps between them, and then there’s the steep ascent (and descent) of Clinker Peak on loose scree and dirt. But if you make your way through all that, the rewards are phenomenal with views even more panoramic than those from Panorama Ridge. The north face of Garibaldi looks close enough to touch, and both Clinker and Price are covered in volcanic rocks of all colours. At times it looked like we were on Mars. Sunday night was much quieter.
Monday we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before a speedy two-and-a-half hour descent to the car (where even the lower parking lot was now full!). We were back in Vancouver in time for Thanksgiving dinner.”
Nicky C. hiking Hanes Valley:
“I couldn’t have wished for a more excited, motivated & friendly bunch who decided to take on this hike with me – particularly good at encouraging those of us who were perhaps getting tired or pushing past our comfort zones.
This was a transit hike, so the seven of us bussed to Lynn Headwaters Park and after a 1 km walk started from the trailhead at 9.30 am. We reached Norvan Falls after almost 2 hours and took a 15 minute detour to see them. More flat walking, two very easy creek crossings (one because of a new bridge the other because at this time of year water levels are low), a bit of easy incline and we arrived at the helicopter pad after 3-1/2 hours on the trail. Then the boulder field… one hour of steady, quite steep uphill scrambling, arriving at Crown Pass earlier than expected. Still having some energy we decide to do Crown Mountain too (after making sure one member of our party who was not comfortable with this had a safe way on to the end of trail, with two lovely gentlemen going the same way) – that took us about 2 hours (return) of very steep rough trail with a bit of scrambling, but the views were amazing! Once back down it was another 1 hour 20 minutes of up then downhill to the top of the Grouse Mountain gondola by sunset at 6.30 pm. Altogether, with breaks, 9 hours on the trail!”
Boris on Cheam and Lady Peaks:
“Ida, Kevin, and I hiked the incredible Cheam (2112 m) and Lady (2178 m) Peaks in the Cheam range between Chilliwack and Hope. The weather was sunny and quite warm for late September, especially at this alpine altitude. The Cheam trail was moderately busy, with about a dozen others along the trail to Cheam, although Kevin and I were the only ones going up Lady and only Kevin made it the last ten minutes to the very top of Lady.
After climbing up a logging road in awful condition, the Jeep scraping bottom a few times (cars don’t have sufficient ground clearance to go up here), the actual trail to Cheam was in great condition. On the other hand, the trail up Lady was pretty much non-existent, with a few cairns giving guidance in some portions. Due to the need to scramble up rubble that constantly slides under one’s feet and causes frequent rockfalls, the best path is not consistent over time so additional markings would likely not be suitable in any case. We got a recommendation to go up along the ridge, though that resulted in bushwhacking which we could have avoided. The best route seems to be somewhat further from the ridge and closer to the snow banks. Scrambling and grabbing at heather is unavoidable. Reaching the part of the ridge that is on the order of a 100 m from the peak itself, the route becomes quite exposed as it’s nearly a vertical drop on the other side for most of the 2 km down to the valley floor.
The views from both peaks are absolutely stunning. Here’s a link to a public album on Facebook of the photos I took (excuse the poor cellphone camera quality).