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Elfin Lakes 29/12/12

Rob M. at Elfin Lakes:
“A 9am lift off out of Vancouver to get a berth in the Elfin Lakes Hut on a fair-weather long weekend might seem a bit cocky but it turned out well, even at a very relaxed pace. We dawdled long and hard at Galileo’s and putzed about the tire chains with equanimity. A brief stoke and poke into the stove at Red Heather, and we were again off. Two glorious Michaelangelic days chanting wow, wow, wow (like a bark impediment) – a simian with a camera couldn’t have taken a bad shot. Unfortunately there was someone in the cabin whose snore could have forced a bull elephant seal to stand down. Arguably, since we didn’t sleep, we also didn’t wake up. So, sleepless at Elfin Lakes and two in blister denial, we went in different rec directions – tele-skiing, snow caving and snow bunny-ing. Returning to the parking lot, the chant continued – as if it ever stopped. Great food, fab company – a Pothole Filler Imperial at the Brew Pub was the stout on the cake. The crew – Ran (host), Laura (driver), Laura (token vegetarian), Rob (lensman).”

On Paul Ridge facing Garibaldi

Dog Mountain 26/12/12

Chris M. night-snowshoeing on Dog Mountain:
“Melissa, Donna, Cara and I walked along the well-beaten path to Dog Mountain. Then we turned north and ploughed through wonderful fresh snow. It felt like an exploration into another world. Only a small sphere of terrain was visible, every few minutes something different growing out of the darkness. We spent an hour wandering until we arrived at First Lake again. Then took the regular trail back to the parking lot. The snow on the ground was perfect. Plus a light dusting falling down around us. Made for a terrific outing!”

Headlamp Snowshoeing

Mt Seymour 23/11/12

Chris M. on a night-time snowshoe to Mt Seymour:
“Ten people roamed Seymour in the dark. There was enough snow to warrant snowshoes. We ended up on a bluff overlooking the city, however the fog obscured any views. Everyone was happy enough, playing on snow in November! Headlamps being our only light source made for a neat mood. Thanks to Lindsay, Gillian, Donna, Jeff, Alice, Hiromi, Pieter, Tracy & Danielle for making this such a fun night outing!”

Horizontal Lightning

Upper Shannon Falls 18/11/12

Chris M. at Upper Shannon Falls:
“A little rain didn’t stop the 5 of us from having an enjoyable walk to Upper Shannon Falls. It was much less busy than normal on the stairs up towards the Chief. Colleen proved to be an effective shepherd. The bridge across Olesen Creek needs some repairs. On the way back, Daniel fell through but managed to climb back out. Chris mentioned he liked the variety of terrain along this trail. After checking out waterfalls and taking in the viewpoint above, round-trip was around 4 hours. Ellie and the rest of us chatted most of the way making the time pass quickly.”

Hole in the bridge

Diez Vistas 10/11/12

Eugene on Diez Vistas:
“Before going on this hike I was told that Buntzen Lake was flooded and the floating bridge was closed. The warden’s office confirmed that, although they indicated that BC Hydro was going to lower the water level soon. So in order to avoid the possibility of a long detour on a paved road, we went to Vistas from Sasamat Lake by taking a connection trail from parking lot F followed by the Sugar Mountain Trail, until we reached the junction with the Diez Vistas trail. It took us 1 hour 10 minutes from the parking lot to reach the first Vista.

The trail was in good condition and perfectly dry. On the way back we went to check the condition of the floating bridge. It appeared that the water was already low enough to make the bridge passable, although it was still officially closed.

Overall, it was an enjoyable hike, as all 12 of us stuck together and made a great team.”

Mt Seymour 10/11/12

Andy on Mt Seymour:
“Eight of us enjoyed a gorgeous blue-sky day on Mt Seymour, albeit a touch on the chilly side. Our lunch spot at the peak was the only place for miles around with a cloud between it and the sun. Brrr! Thankfully there was no wind, and when the cloud moved on, the sunshine was most welcome. Best of all, the Thermos I won at the party kept my soup piping hot! No snow but lots and lots of ice which made the trail a little tricky in a few places. The worst was between Second and Third peak where the tiny ledge was mostly covered in ice. Fortunately there was enough dry rock to make it safe enough, with care. All of the puddles and tarns were frozen over – many of the shallower ponds were frozen solid – and we found one to enjoy some sliding and even a game of curling. Just in time – I bet it’s under a foot of snow now!

There were plenty of people out enjoying the sun – the parking lot was pretty full by the time we got back to the cars. Our plan was to head to Deep Cove for a doughnut, but the wait was half-an-hour, so we made ourselves comfortable at The Raven pub instead. Thank you all for a great day out!”

Elfin Lakes 09/11/12

Chris M. at Elfin Lakes:
“Glenn & Ellie joined me for one night at Elfin Lakes. Very little snow but quite cold. We had the entire shelter to ourselves. (It looked like Saturday night was going to be a LOT busier, 25+ !!) Glenn wanted to try out his winter gear and slept outside on one of the new tent pads: -12 overnight. We played crib and a great game of Jenga. It had been overcast on the way in but the hike out was crisp with clear blue skies. Around 2.5 hours each way.”

Elfin Lakes

Semaphore Lakes 07/10/12

Zoltan at Semaphore Lakes:
“Ciaran, Will, Amy, and myself hiked to Semaphore Lakes on a clear, sunny day. The drive was long but beautiful. Passing Whistler Village we continued to Pemberton and beyond through the country side. We finally approached a long drive up Hurley River FSR, and eventually reached the trail head just 3 hours after leaving Vancouver. The hike up to the lakes was relatively easy. After an hour or so up through the woods we reached the meadows. The colours of fall were everywhere, even in the alpine. With only a few other hikers up there, we had a nice, quiet lunch, enjoying the views, with no distractions. Then we hiked around the meadows seeing the lower and upper lakes. Locomotive and Face Mountains were a dramatic backdrop at every step we took. We all agreed that this place is stunning and it would be well worth it to come back to summit one of the mountains. Driving back down, we got a close encounter with a black bear, as it crossed the road and then stopped for us as we passed it to snap a few pictures. Also, a bit further down the road, we had the same experience with a deer. Overall, this hike is very nice and I encourage everyone to try it once.

A side note about the FSR. It’s not that bad, considering my Honda Civic made it up. Your driving time (on the FSR) will be cut in half, however, if you drive a 4×4. I personally would not recommend going up there with any car if there is snow.

More pictures of the hike are on Flickr

Semaphore Lakes, October 7, 2012

Garibaldi Lake 06/10/12

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.”

Mt Price, 7 Oct 2012

Hanes Valley 06/10/12

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!”