Dean C. on Mt Hanover:
“Wanting a day trip for a change, this past weekend saw Remi and I hike up from Lions Bay to Mount Hanover on Aug 21. We left the HSCT before it descended to Brunswick Lake and made our way over mostly open terrain and talus slopes to the famous ‘two gullies’ of Hanover. The Scrambles book says the left gully is easier, however after talking to my intrepid dental hygienist on the scene (a chance encounter with Joanne) who took the left, Remi and I took a deep breath and climbed the right gully, thankful the bottom step had ‘some’ rope and lamenting the final pitch having none. That sealed the deal on descent choice – we weren’t going back down that way. Threatening clouds greeted us on top so we had a quick snack and started down-climbing the five steps in the left gully. Overall they weren’t too bad and we felt we made the right choice in the end. The rain held off and we made it back 8:20 after starting, which was longer than I had hoped, however it’s hard to travel fast on this particular route. 17.6 km and 1,880 m cumulative elevation gain.”
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.”
Jaime at Deeks Lake:
“Four of us headed up to Deeks Lake on a sunny Sunday. Myself (Jaime), Ingrid, Susan and Andrew had the perfect fall day for hiking. The gate at the bottom of the logging road was open so we tried to get closer to the trailhead. The logging road is SO drivable except in one steeper area where it’s pretty washed out. Totally doable with decent clearance. I wanted to go all the way but my rusty undercarriage and wiggly exhaust begged me not to. We made it part way to the TH at least. The hike up was great, really well marked the whole route. Under cover most of the way so it would be a great rainy day hike. We saw some other Wanderungers on the trail, which was a lovely surprise. When we got to the lake I had an AMAZING swim. Swimming in mountain lakes to me is like being in liquid magic. Andrew was brave enough to jump in and Susan and Ingrid were content to shake their heads at us 🙂 We had a long, lazy lunch in the sun. On the way back, that logging road seemed endless and boring. It would be so much better to be able to drive to the trailhead every time. It was a great day!”
Steve v. at Brunswick Lake:
“It turns out that the trail beyond Deeks Lake only gets better. None of us actually had high hopes but were game to attempt to bag this one (me especially since I’d failed to summit my last two hikes). We were very pleasantly surprised. After Deeks Lake, the trail levels off and gets almost alpine and took us to two very scenic lakes with views of Hanover, Hat and Brunswick mountains (we waved at Rex doing Brunswick, but he did not see us according to his Facebook post).
My great hiking companions Sophie and Jacqui were super well matched for my pace and gear and we did what was expected to be a 10 hour+ hike in 9.5 hours, with time for a meal at Park Royal.
I want to thank all the people that gave us tips about the recent conditions (people from Club Tread, Meetup, NSH, and Wanderung). There are three river crossings and a sketchy snow slope but as it turns out, we timed it just right. Since last week, the bugs seem to have subsided and the water levels dropped enough for us to carefully cross logs and rocks. As for the road, the gate was open and though a 4×4 would have saved us hours, we actually could have knocked off maybe 45 min with a regular car were we willing to risk the gate being locked (as the sign warned might happen).
The snow slope obstacle that we feared had melted since last week and was doable by going along the shore instead of risking a slide. And do it when no clueless dog owners are around: Jacqui very nearly was knocked off to serious injury by a dog, and different dog later got under my feet on a steep downhill where I was told “just step on him” by the owner. Ya that would have been stable… (pet peeve of mine). Source of aggravation #3 were the people that had a breakfast fire as we arrived at Deeks Lake on the way up. We could smell it. Five hours later it was still warm and being billowed by the wind and could easily have ignited the surrounding dry foliage. However, even these minor annoyances combined were not enough to curb my mood on this great trip.
Lastly, should you choose to check out this trail and are really fit, you may want to consider doing a cross over (key exchange) or one-way hike through Hat Pass to Brunswick, it felt silly not to push forward, but then again this would have been a great place to camp.”