Monthly Archives: July 2009

Lake Ann 31/07/09

Pablo at Lake Ann:
“When I posted the call-out, I received a couple of messages that the road was blocked and the trails were covered with snow. We decided to go to Mount Baker anyway and we asked the park ranger station about the conditions. We decided to go for the Lake Ann Trail. The road was opened last Friday and we only found a couple of small snow patches. The trail starts at 1500m elevation so it was not too hot. We found lots of bugs including black flies.”

Mt Macfarlane 26/07/09

Peter on Mt Macfarlane:
“Lucy, Kevin, Luke, Pavel, Sebastian, Irina, Nikita, Katherine, Hurrian, Jeff and I had an outstanding trip summiting Mount Macfarlane on July 28. The morning drive to Chilliwack was not promising, as we went through fog and cloud. However, 5 km past Chilliwack, we emerged into sunny, clear skies that stayed with us the whole day. We set out on the trail shortly after 10am, and set a fast pace as we climbed steadily to Pierce Lake. The trail is well-marked, filled with switch backs, a boulder field, creek crossings and undulating forest. We emerged onto a steep clearing (created by avalanches), thick with bushes and wildflowers. 20 meters below was the large and enticing Pierce Lake, and cool views of the surrounding mountains and Mt Macfarlane. We pushed onwards, navigating some muddy sections through Pierce Meadows, and soon saw the spectacular falls running down the 100m headwall that creates the upper lake. The trail approaches the headwall by running up a cleft in a set of forested cliffs. Well-placed, sturdy ropes and strong roots help the hiker scale this section. We emerged from this cleft and faced a steep gully of loose small-medium sized boulders. Stay to the right of the boulder field and hike along the forested border. Flagging tape can be found intermittently on low-lying bushes. Near the top of the field, avoid the flagged trail that branches left and crosses the boulders (to Mount Pierce?). Stay on the flagged trail that veers right and climbs over a steep shoulder of the forest. We popped out onto a beautiful, slightly-inclined, heather-filled plateau just below the waterfall. The trail stays left of the waterfall, mounts the headwall and greets you with a beautiful alpine lake sitting high in the mountain cirque. The water is cobalt blue, aquamarine and crystal clear: like a tropical paradise. A few perfect camping spots to be had. After a short break, we pushed on up the well-marked, steep trail that follows a ridge to the top of Mt. Macfarlane (minimal exposure, but more difficult if conditions are wet). We reached the summit in 4.5 hours! Spectacular weather and views, and hard to leave. Retracing our steps, we spent more time at the upper lake, carefully descended the steep boulder field, and had an amazing swim in Pierce Lake led by Kevin and Lucy. The day was capped off with a celebratory ‘feeding and watering’ at a local pub. Fantastic hike and fantastic people!”

Dennett Lake 25/07/09

Stacey at Dennett Lake
“Brian, Erin, Justin, Maya, Michal, and Stacey hiked up to Dennett Lake on Saturday. The trail head starts about 5 minutes up an old logging road. The trail climbs fairly steadily upwards until Munro Lake, and was mostly under tree cover which provided protection from the hot sun. We got a bit confused in our directions once at Munro Lake – 103 Hikes shows the trail heading around the west side of the first lake – we took a wrong turn and started following an old creek bed that may have been part of the Village-Lake Trail, then after back tracking, we took what we thought was the correct trail around the lake but the markers were sparse, we had to do some bushwacking and the ground was quite wet. After persevering and following the lake around, we did eventually find a sign for Dennett Lake. There’s actually a junction a few minutes before this sign that takes you on a path between the first and second lakes, I recommend taking this as it was super fast, easy and dry and meets up with the spot where the trail initially comes out at the lake. The hike up to Dennett from here took about an hour and was muddy and wet in sections (no snow though) and a few of us got mud soaked up to our ankles. There’s a great viewpoint near Dennett Lake looking back down towards Munro Lake. Dennett Lake was AMAZING and GREAT for swimming in! Not too cold and very refreshing. We hung out there for almost an hour, and on the way down got caught in the huge thunder, lightning, and rain storm! Cool! Overall great hike, we were all smiles. Oh, and apparently there was a black bear on the trail according to another hiker we talked to at the end, but we didn’t come across it.”

Russet Lake / Musical Bumps 25/07/09

Michelle at Russet Lake / Musical Bumps:
“And then we made a run for it…. Our merry band of one Scotsman, one Frenchman, one German, one Japanese, one Newfoundlander and two BC girls learned why in the alpine our winter sleeping bags and tarps were not so stupid in 38-degree August weather after all. On trail we heard the storm coming and hustled. Not one minute after arriving and getting the tents up it arrived. In shock EVERYONE at Russet made a run for the hut as marble sized hail pounded down so thick it became white out conditions. Those too far away dove into already occupied/complete stranger’s tents. We waited in disbelief until it subsided. A fellow cabin mate opened the door only to slam it shut again and exclaim ‘It’s coming again!’. Before, we wondered if the tents blew away- now we wondered about the hut as the wind drove waves of hail so hard that the roof surely dented and we began to take on water. Then, it stopped just like that. The aftermath – bivys drowning in small lakes, some flooded-out tents. The lightning show continued and the bizzare red sky turned the landscape into Mars. Made for an evening of great entertainment! Complete with a lady in red (dress) included! Absolutely spectacular scenery, spectacular fields of flowers, spectacular company and not one but two free gondola rides made this a spectacular overnight trip. The laughter, roaring storm and the music of the Musical Bumps (who’s winds did indeed play for us) made this truly a feast for the eyes AND ears.”

Cheam Peak 25/07/09

Su-Laine on Cheam Peak:
“With alpine flowers in full bloom and a winding trail through the meadows that gives ever-changing views of nearby mountains and valleys, Cheam was one of the most rewarding day hikes I’ve done yet.

The consensus was that it wasn’t all without adversity though: the infamous 4×4 road access, swarms of flies of various shapes and sizes that morphed into citronella-immune mosquitoes at higher elevations, and an approaching thunderstorm all made the day more exciting.

For Cheam, people don’t ask about trail conditions as much as road conditions. We were in an SUV and had no particular difficulty, but it was a challenging drive with some ‘don’t look down’ sections, and the last 11 km of logging road took us nearly an hour each way. Total driving time from Brentwood Mall in Burnaby was 3 hours each way. The parking lot was full of SUVs and 4×4 trucks; we’d heard that it’s possible to drive up in a 2WD car if you’re willing to wreck it, and to our amazement we did see one midsized car there. I still can’t understand how it got up there. The Chilliwack forecast was for a possible thundershower in the late afternoon, but we started to hear thunder at around 1:30 pm and the electricity in the air was making people’s hair stand up. I literally ran the last few minutes to the summit, snapped a few pictures, and got off it as quickly as possible. The descent was very pleasant though, with alternating sunshine and cooling clouds and drizzle. We were happy to be on Highway 1 on the way home when the full storm hit.”

Crown Mountain 25/07/09

Peter on Crown Mountain:
“Seven hikers made their way through Lynn Headwaters and Hanes Valley up to Crown Mountain and then to the Grouse Chalet. Very diverse terrain: forest trails, a creek crossing, boulder fields, steep to very steep parts and a bit of scrambling. High temperatures and humidity made us sweat and many flies and mosquitos kept us from stopping for too long. Great views from the top, no snow, and a bear with a cub from a safe distance. Ten hours of hiking and the rain started only after we arrived at the Chalet.”

Big Creek-Powell Divide 25/07/09

Chris on the Big Creek-Powell Divide:
“Early interest in this trip fizzled so it was down to just Cara and me again. We covered a lot of ground so the salient points only are:
– the Hurley was rough – lots of washboarding, potholes and rocks – but still 2wd.
– June’s Tyaughton Lake fire didn’t affect the drivability of the Tyaughton road but you do drive thru a bit of burnt forest.
– The first km after the Tyaughton Creek FS campsite will give 2wd drivers a taste of the worst of the coming 20km or so – minor rutting and a waterbar going uphill.
– 2wd drivers should stop in an old logged area just after an overgrown road to the east and then one doubling back to the west (sorry, no odometer reading). Immediately after this, the forest gets close and the rutting gets worse. You will be facing a 2hr road walk before the trail start.
– We made it to road end in my Suzuki Jimny.
– Mosquitoes were not too bad (i.e. not horrible) but horseflies came by the bushel-load (killed 5 with one slap) in the alpine areas to the west of Big Creek and stayed with us from about 9am – 7pm each day.
– The Big Creek crossing was around mid-thigh (shorts will get wet); Tosh was about knee-height near Big Creek; an un-named creek about 2/3 up Tosh was mid-thigh and almost dangerously fast. Other creek crossings were lower but plentiful.
– Saw little evidence of bears and with most big mammals sheltering from the sun during the day, only a handful of deer, some bighorn sheep and one moose. Wolf prints were plentiful but didn’t see or hear any.
– Snow was at late-August levels.
– Encountered only one guide-led horse trip and then a couple of the same wranglers a couple days later. No bikers or hikers.
– When going up Little Paradise, the fork for Little Graveyard Pass is difficult to find – look for a couple new flags to your right when you encounter an old moose antler on the ground.”

Galiano Island cycling 24/07/09

Dana on Galiano Island:
“Five of us caught the morning ferry on a Friday to Galiano. The weather was overcast but the sun came out once we arrived and it quickly became very warm. Though the ride to the campground is only 10 km, the roads are windy and hilly, and with weighed-down bikes and the hot sun it felt much longer. On Saturday, two of us rented kayaks and explored Montague Harbour and the other three biked about 10 km up-island to hike Bodega Ridge. Highlights of this easy hike with desert-like terrain were watching eagles soar beneath (and above) us, and the views of Salt Spring Island and beyond. We also enjoyed the thunder and lightning storm that night (after a quick swim), though instead of huddling in tents we took advantage of the free Hummingbird Pub shuttle bus to indulge in drinks and some incredible pie. Sunday’s ride back to the ferry took in a different route, encompassing the cemetary (which has a nice view of Active Pass and sunning sea lions). To sum: Biking Galiano is not for the faint of heart. There are many hills (both short and steep and long and gradual) and the pavement is cracked and broken in many spots. Still, it is rewarding and a beautiful place to explore over a weekend.”

Scudamore-Van Horlick Divide 18/07/09

Chris on the Scudamore-Van Horlick divide:
“Cara, Dean, Dorothy and I tackled the Scudamore – Van Horlick divide for 3 days. The Van Horlick road is in decent 2wd condition – some minor potholing so you can’t fly along but nothing bad. The Morris spur is in rougher shape with minor rutting and the alders will challenge your paint job. The Morris East spur is overgrown while the Morris West is in great condition. Unfortunately, you can’t drive either because the bridge at 11km from the Duffey has been pulled (leaving some logs but no bridge deck) and you have to walk the 4 km to road end. At the very end of the road, a faint trail starts down towards the end of the Morris East road but quickly disappears. Just continue down in the same direction through the slash, cross the stream at the bottom (there’s a log about 100m upstream from where you hit it) and climb the slash to the alder-choked east road. A sparsely-flagged and sometimes faint trail leaves the end of this road towards the valley end and can be followed to the col. From here, we climbed the south side of the east shoulder to meadows where we camped. The mosquitos have moved beyond epic to positively biblical. On the middle day, we sidehilled to the south and climbed to the North Stein ridge just south of Elf and came back over that peak. The going is a bit scrambly near the top. We dropped down into another saddle and back onto a great ridge with good views. We returned along the benches on the east of the ridge (very little snow in an area that historically has a fair amount even into August), through the saddle and back to camp. On the last day, we ventured into the North Stein meadows and returned to the west road by crossing the creek higher up and bushwhacking to try to avoid elevation loss but you are forced to follow the creek down anyway.”

Helm Creek 18/07/09

Heather in and around Helm Creek:
“Tyler, Ted, Bob and Heather did an overnight trip in Garibaldi park. We took Saturday to hike into Cheakamus Lake, have lunch and a quick dip, and then start the ascent up the slopes toward Helm Valley. As we had some extra time, we decided it might be nice to try and find Corrie Lake, which was estimated at 1/2 km off the trail (a beautiful blue lake that can be seen from the peak of Whistler). We made it, but the hour and a half of bushwhacking and the unbelievable mosquito clouds would not convince us to do it again! (We decided we were training for Chris Nott’s call-outs…) Camping at Helm Creek was beautiful but another incredible battle with mosquitos – full-on Goretex and mosquito nets only slightly delayed our escape into the safety of the tents. Sunday was a scenic 25 km hike up the scenic Helm Valley to Panorama Ridge – incredible views of Black Tusk, interesting cinder cones & valley floor, stunning colours of Garibaldi Lake and all the surrounding glaciers and mountains, and the most vibrant wildflowers blooming everywhere. A quick dip in Helm Lake was a refreshing stop on the long hike back to the car.”