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.”
Colleen C. at Memaloose Peak:
“Great day to be out in the mountains! I was surprised to hear about the chaos on the Coquihalla – Highway 3 through Manning was a breeze. All day we had light flurries of teeny snowflakes that floated down even through the long periods of dazzling sunshine. Snowshoes were on from the start. Snow conditions made for easy travel most of the day, though the descent went through some wetter, looser snow sections that required some careful lines. We chose to take a different route than I had originally planned, following some old tracks immediately up to the ridge. This allowed us to explore more of the bumps along the ridge (one of which was topped with an eerily beautiful patch of dead trees due to a lightning fire) and then dropping down to the valley bottom for the straightforward hike out to make it into a nice loop. Due to gaining the ridge earlier than planned, much chatting, enjoying views and rambling, we didn’t reach the summit, so I’ll definitely be back here again soon.”
Chris N. at Joffre Lakes:
“About 3/4 of the main parking lot at Joffre is plowed but there’s still enough snow that you’ll lose traction with 2wd if you drive in too far. Parking close to the exit means you won’t need much of a push. There were about 10 cars in the lot when we were there – a far cry from the 200+ you’ll see on a summer’s day. The snow at the beginning was wet and sticky but improved with elevation. All the lakes are frozen but there is a layer of slush covered by another layer of snow on top of the ice on the first lake. The inlets and outlets of all the lakes are ice free so give these areas wide berths. If you follow the winter trail across the lake, you might prefer snowshoes but most of the route can be done in microspikes with minimal post-holing. Weather was changeable – a bit of cloud with the sun trying to peek out at times interspersed with snow showers. Temperatures varied from about 0 C in the parking lot to maybe -5 C with a bit of wind at our high point. We reached the third lake in under 2 hours, had lunch and spent a bit of time exploring.”
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. on Windy Joe:
“It was a great group that joined me for a snowshoe up to the Windy Joe fire lookout. It was a pretty uneventful, straightforward drive and hike – which personally was appreciated after a few recent misadventures! Particular thanks to Lisa for driving all the way out from White Rock, Phil for bringing homemade cookies, Haiying for supplying zip ties for makeshift snowshoe repairs, and Gail for good conversation.
The trail was packed all the way and follows an obvious path up, fairly low snow levels overall and few deadfalls. Just a heads up that the start is now along the first couple of km of the Similkameen trail. Seems like this is due to a permanent loss of a bridge, so some of the info online is out-of-date and the km markers higher up are a little out. The Club Tread route info page was accurate.”
Chris N. on Mt Seymour:
“Snow was somewhat wet and heavy almost all the way to the first peak. If you stuck to the trail, snowshoes were probably not needed (but you would posthole off trail). Given the amount of snow lower down, I had expected more higher up but it may have been due to wind scour. Around the peak, there was a stiff wind crust and small pockets of wind-deposited powder. Many trees were bending under a load of crusty, icy snow and snowbombs were frequent (and dangerous as they were large and icy). Surprisingly, trail traffic was relatively light for a snowy weekend. Temperatures were warm with a slight inversion – slightly above freezing at the peak and warmer than the city at the parking lot. Visibility was outstanding but flurries moved in while we were on the peak. This became rain as we descended below Brockton Point.”
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!”