Andy G. on Mt Strachan:
“A very peaceful and completely view-free hike on a cloudy day. A bit like the first time I called out this hike ten years ago! No matter – the beauty of the forest and the flowers kept our attention from start to finish. Emily, Janavie and I walked past Yew Lake to pick up the HSCT as far as Strachan Meadows, then Christmas Gully up to the north summit for lunch. From there we went over to the south summit to pick up the trail back down. We took the shortcut near the Hollyburn Giant to save a bit of time. It took us 5.5 hours car-to-car including nearly an hour for lunch.
The trail was snow-free and mostly mud-free, apart from the section between the Baden-Powell trail and the north-side turnoff to Hollyburn. Rocks and roots were slippery after the recent rain, and all the bushes were sopping wet. As were my shorts after a few minutes of hiking through all this…
A surprisingly-large number of flowers were blooming, including sundew, deer cabbage, purple asters, pink heather, white heather, northern starflower, sitka valerian, some very early queen’s cup near Yew Lake (otherwise lots in bud), bunchberry, rosy twistedstalk, coralroot, partridgefoot, lupine, Indian hellebore (just in leaf right now), alaska violets, yellow violets, and various berry bushes. I think that covers it 🙂
Black flies were annoying once on Strachan summit and down through the marshy meadows, but mosquitoes were mostly not a problem – just a few here and there.
All in all, another great day out in the mountains!”
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.”
Will on Unnecessary Mountain:
“Two people came along with me on a very unpromising-looking Sunday morning. A few kilometres up the road to Cypress Bowl we broke into the sunshine and were above the clouds in the warm sunshine all day.
We took the Howe Sound Crest trail over St Mark’s Summit and on to Unnecessary, stopping for lunch in between Unnecessary’s two main summits and continuing towards the Lions until we hit our turnaround time.
There are lots of ups and downs on this trail and it’s rough in places. But the forest lower down is beautiful, and the part along Unnecessary was lovely: hiking on granite slabs among fall colours, with great views all around.”
Keith at Cabin Lake (twice):
“I called out 2 trips to Cabin Lake and both went off really well. The hike is short but steep up to the lake and the water was cool and refreshing! One the first jaunt there were 7 peole and the 2nd there were 5. The first trip had about 84.56% on the Cabin Lake Swimability Index (CLSI) and we hit 100% on the second hike where everybody got in the water – the goal was the swim after all. Thanks everybody for their spontaneity on signing up with short notice on the trips!”
Michelle on Mt Strachan:
“Four drivers standing around with no hikers to drive. “No fair weather hikers please” means being prepared to hike rain or shine. Our group of 9 withered down to all the willing drivers, one of which still dutifully showed up to offer people a lift despite no longer being able to go on the hike last second due to unforeseen circumstances. A group of 4 of us took on the BP/Old Strachan Trail. Paul G’s trail report in the Wanderung archives proved to be the ticket to getting us there (indeed, don’t follow Dawn Hanna’s description use Paul’s, thanks Paul!). We decided to stop just short of the final summit approach as we came across a mama bear and cub who decided to go the way we needed to go, in poor visibility conditions (and it was also evident the view was not going to clear in time for lunch – the view would wait to appear until after we were sipping hot bevys in West Van). 😉 All in all, a good time had by those who went. But how many call outs for “drivers needed” this weekend (while 4 drivers were bailed on for this trip)? What a shame. Bailers, think twice about how taking a seat on a trip affects others – on your trip and potentially other people’s.”
Carollyne on Hollyburn Peak:
“We enjoyed hard-packed, but not icy snow and a perfect blue sky on our snowshoe to Hollyburn Peak. The clear sky made for great views. The trail was popular with snowshoers and a few skiers as well. The snow was so hard-packed that snowshoes were not really needed, except for their grip on the steeper parts. One of us (not me) was smart enough to bring crampons, which were ideal for the conditions – except when sliding downhill. Excellent company made for an even better day. Trail to peak is open to Feb 1.”
Cara on Hollyburn:
“This trip was an absolute blast! Eight of us headed up the peak under brightening skies and light snow. The fresh snow on the trees was beautiful and a nice change from the rain of the previous trip. The creeks were almost covered up, though not quite. At the peak we enjoyed a quick snack, and Giri pulled out some home made gingerbread – yum! The real fun began on the way down as we jumped, somersaulted, slid and crashed our way down the mountain. We didn’t leave much “fresh stuff” behind. We rounded out the afternoon with a quick snack at the black bear pub in lynn valley before hitting the road for home. Thank you all for an awesome trip!”
Su-Laine on Mt Strachan:
“Strachan was a delightful place to spend one of those you-have-to-get-out-there beautiful fall days. We took the advice of a fellow Wanderunger and went counterclockwise, which had the benefit of putting the more-slippery part of the trail on the uphill. We encountered about 4 cm of snow about halfway up but besides the occasional slippery rock it wasn’t a problem to walk on. As a variation on the usual route, we had lunch on the non-crowded south summit, then hiked back to the saddle and up to the north summit to take a look, and then back to the south summit to continue our counterclockwise route. Then on the way back down we cut over to the ski run which saved some time. It worked out quite nicely, giving us lots of time to take in the magnificent views at the top and the blueberries on the way down.”
Steve on Unnecessary Mountain:
“I didn’t expect such a good response to a mid-week callout. I went with 4 other well matched hikers to Cypress Bowl where we hiked to St. Mark’s Summit, and then on to the dual summits of Mt. Unnecessary. The trail was well marked and easy to follow with 1 minor exception where we got off trail. The weather was variable but we did not get hit with rain. In fact, it was perfect as it kept us cool on the journey, and though it was socked in when we got near the Lions, just as we were leaving, it broke through and offered some moody photo ops.
I really liked this trail, though it was pretty long and the multiple ascents took its toll on my knees. The blueberry factor was phenomenal, and probably added an hour to our trip. One piece of advice I’d offer it to do this as a one way hike and visit the Lions, then descend the Binkert trail. That may actually shave some time, but more importantly allows you to see more peaks on one trip.”
Heather on the Howe Sound Crest Trail:
“Suzanna, Keith, Bob and Heather did a long hike of the Howe Sound Crest Trail from Cypress Bowl to the base of The Lions and back. Unfortunately, we started late on a very hot day, and the Crest Trail is a demanding and exposed trail – so heat exposure made for an even longer day. The views were stunning and there were only a few snow patches on the trail. Due to the heat we had to re-fill water from snow melt, and I personally drank 6 litres during the almost 12 hour hike. A demanding day, but still a beautiful place to be!”