Steve at the Holiday Light bike ride:
“Unlike previous years, the weather window was clear and dry and spanning several days for the annual ride. We had less overall bikes, but more compliance with my “must have Xmas lights” requirement.
One Santa and 8 tiny reindeer (bikes) made the rounds from Science World to English Bay, and from Lost Lagoon to Canada Place, past the Art Gallery and to St. Paul’s (we even did an extended part to Davie Street). The route is only getting more dense with great sights.
At a combined total of 100,000 lumens, and speakers at higher decibels than ever before, we thrilled onlookers enough so some even looked up from their phones. We also picked up some extra cyclists.
Snacks and merriment were had by all making this one of my favourite holiday traditions. My metrics of success are simple – did we make people smile and laugh? Did we make them yell and wave? Did children look all confused? Yes to all, but I think less so than previous years which makes me realize that it is all that much more important to keep this tradition alive and of course add more lights!”
Chris N. at Tricouni Meadows East:
“Well, we didn’t end up finding the old trail down. It turns out there is a lot more recent logging on the south and east flanks of Tricouni. All the maps we had (OpenStreetMap, iMapBC, and Google satellite view) were out-of-date. Very little forest remains in the overlapping clearcuts. We parked one car just past the 4-km marker on Roe Creek and drove Chance Creek as far as we could. The directions on Club Tread seem pretty accurate but I think we missed the 8.1-km fork. For the most part, follow the arrows painted on the ground except at 8.4 km where the arrows point left but you should go straight on a more over-grown road. 2WD should park here unless you are confident in your driving skills (the next 300 m are rougher). AWD can make it to a fork at 8.7 km. Beyond is serious 4WD territory.
In our explorations, we did find an older, fainter route through the meadows which was nicer than the current trail and would work as a loop with the current trail. To find the older route, head right up a decommissioned road at the last switchback on the Roe Creek road. About 15 m along, there is a faint trail on your left (looks almost like a shallow gully). This trail leads up through the clearcut and enters the forest next to a small stream. You quickly emerge into meadows and the trail fades near a small marsh. Head left-ish to pick it up again. The trail is mostly flat and heads west through open meadows with wet patches before heading up a rocky gully that ends at a small lake just to the east of and slightly higher than the bigger High Falls Lake. To find the newer trail, head to the southern end of High Falls Lake. This trail emerges at the top of Roe Creek road about 200 m past the driveable portion and above the switchback mentioned previously. The blueberries were plentiful and delicious. The local bears thought so, too!”
Chris N. at Needle Peak:
“My old 103 Hikes book says to park at the highway maintenance yard and cross the creek behind the large building there. However, the “No admittance” signs indicate that the authorities don’t want you to do that. Instead, park on the rough pipeline access road where there is room for about 20 cars. To find the trail, walk about 10 m west of the creek crossing. The route is easy to follow. There are many secondary trails on the ridge before the Flatiron / Needle junction but you can’t get lost. After the junction, there are only 2 scramble-y spots. The first is near the top of the first step (visible from the junction and well-flagged) where there is a bit of an overhang at waist level. The second is just before the summit in a little vertical gully with plenty of foot placements. Neither has any exposure. The summit is small and might be nerve-wracking if it’s really windy. Luckily we had no wind at all. On the way up, note the occasional landmark so that you take the correct route down. This seems to be a popular hike – we encountered about 40 people excluding the big school group. The lunch wagon at the rest area at the base closes for the season at the end of September.”
Will B. on Skyline Ridge:
“Last Saturday, five of us hiked the Skyline Ridge trail from the Sea to Sky Gondola. Ninety minutes of hiking through the trees up an old logging road, then out into an old clearcut full of blueberry bushes at about 1200 metres. Through some beautiful old-growth forest, then out of the trees and up and down along a lovely alpine ridge towards the Copilot. We got back to the lodge at 6.20, for a little over 8 hours on the trail. Thanks to Andy for driving, and everyone for being awesome.”
Jason C. on Guanaco Peak:
“Drove up the Coquihalla Highway and up the Coldwater Road as instructed on 103 Hikes and other various websites. The road itself is decent but for the last 6-8 kms be prepared for dense overgrowth which WILL scratch you vehicle. I ended up parking about 6 kms out from the trailhead but was fortunate to run into another group from Chilliwack who were less concerned with damaging the exterior of their truck. We started by hiking up an old logging road. Make sure to pay attention for a small rock cairn on the ground to the left of the road as we overshot it and ended up getting delayed for 15-20 minutes backtracking. The cairn indicates the trail head off the road, again to the left. Cross a small footbridge and head up the immediately steep trail that is marked by intermittent flagging. The footpath is fairly evident. After steady climbing, we came out into alpine meadows accompanied by the breathtaking views of Vicuna and Guanaco. Continuing up, we eventually reached the saddle of the two and then continued up to Guanaco and take in the views of the various ranges and peaks. I was able get up top and take some pics early as forest fire smoke and haze did eventually begin to amass and obscure the further ranges. All in all a beautiful hike and worth the trip!”
Dave G. on the High Point Trail:
“Three of us – Dave, Chen & Pablo – hiked the High Note Trail on top of Whistler on Sat, Sept 2nd. And it Chen was in for a treat as it was his first time in Whistler. We had an amazing hike with epic views. We took the gondola up around 10:30 am on a very busy day (long weekend crowds) and then up the Peak Chair to start the hike. The views were amazing and the crowds thinned out over time. We were also moving aside a few times for the Valley to Peak racers. Wow, these people are beast mode racing all the way from village. We soaked in the views walking the ridge with stunning views of the Tusk, Cheakamus Lake, and more. I ended with a nice refreshing cool dip in Harmony Lake and stayed for the dinner feast at 5:30 pm which was well earned. Chen & Pablo took the Peak-to-Peak gondola over to Blackcomb so Chen could add to his first-time in Whistler experience and the epic drive home with setting sun. Thanks Chen & Pablo for joining me on this amazing hike. It was absolutely worth the gondola ticket.”
Eugene Y. on the heather Trail:
“Our team went to check out the area around the Three Brothers mountain. The timing was perfect for this trip. The meadows were snow-free and blooming with wild flowers. Thanks to the SW wind, the skies stayed smoke-free despite on the proximity of BC fires, although we did see some smoke on the horizon.
Although the Heather Trail is the most popular route in the Manning park, it never felt too crowded, especially in the evening hours. However, due to the extremely dry weather, the portion of the trail from the parking lot to the First Brother junction was quite dusty. This might become a real issue on long weekends when more people hit the trail.
Unfortunately, the Kicking Horse wilderness campground was full when we arrived, so that we ended up camping in a crowded overflow area. We still had a good time over there. However, for late starters, it’s probably wiser to stay in the less popular Buckhorn campground half-way between the parking lot and the Brothers than take chances with the Kicking Horse.
The views from the First and the Second Brother were quite spectacular, although not as dramatic as those from the ridges in the southern part of the park. Some of us also bushwhacked to the Fourth Brother; however, there was practically no visibility there because of dense fog.
On the way back we stopped at the Lightning Lake for a good swim. That was a perfect way to complete the trip!
Please be aware that the statistics for this trail are somewhat misleading as it goes up and down all the time. In particular it descends almost 200 m to the either camp. The cumulative elevation gain for this trip is probably around 1000-1200 m.”
Pooya attempting Mt Elsay:
“We started the early hike from Mount Seymour’s parking lot with some light rain and fog. After ascending for half an hour, we found the trail fully covered by snow, and poor visibility made it harder to follow trail markers. While we weren’t prepared for the mid-July snow cover of up to 1 metre at points, our trekking poles helped us avoid serious injury besides a couple of slide-and-scratches.
Even though the plan was to summit Mount Elsay, we decided to turn around at Mount Seymour and not risk injury or getting lost. Let this cautionary tale remind everyone that we’ve had a tough winter and the trail conditions are still spring-like at high altitudes.”
Phil A. on the Skywalk Trail:
“When Vancouver is uber-hot, who can say no to a cool hike to a glacier? Certainly not the four intrepid souls who enjoyed fabulous mountain views, waterfalls, and winding forest trails. The Skywalk Trail to Iceberg Lake clocks in 16 km return with a manageable 1200 m of elevation gain and loss. The first two hours or so was a generally kind grade interrupted from time to time by some steeper sections. After that, we punched through to the alpine and enjoyed the meandering streams, a view of the glacier, and the frozen lake. We didn’t linger long on this day, as there was a wickedly cold wind coming down from the peaks. Total trip time was 5 hours or so, including some faffing time and photo sessions.”
Chris N. on Metal Dome:
“A trip to Metal Dome requires a drive up the Brandywine Forest Service Road to around the 5-km mark before turning right up the Brandywine Meadows Spur. We were stopped by snow at the 970-m mark on the latter road and conditions on both roads were similar – fairly rough. A 2wd will make it up the first road but probably have traction issues on the second – AWD is suggested. We walked the rest of the road and to a major fork at 3.5 km from the Brandywine FSR (1300 m) where we turned right up the Metal Dome spur. A cat ski cut leaves the end of this road and heads into the alpine. There was about 1-2 m of snow through the forest and 2-3 m in the alpine. From here, you can see the peak. The best route is to head directly to it instead of trying to gain the ridge first. It took about 4 hours to reach the summit where there are good views of Garibaldi, the Tusk, Brandywine, Fee, Cypress and Brew. The trip down took under 2 hours. Back where we parked 8 vehicles were parked all over the road. Half were sledders but they all seem to be headed into Brandywine meadows or further up the valley and we were the only party on Metal Dome. Though there is lots of snow, snowshoes aren’t needed and will only slow you down. You will encounter some random post-holing on the summit but that’s it. Gaiters and waterproof footwear will keep your feet dry given how slushy and wet the snow is.”