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.”
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.”
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.”
Eugene Y. on Frosty Mountain:
“Seven of us went to explore the legendary alpine larches in Manning Park. We parked at the beautiful Lightning Lake and proceeded along the well-maintained trail toward Frosty Mountain. The trail was in excellent shape and easy to follow. After a two-hour pleasant walk amid bright-red and yellow fall colours we had a lunch break at the Frosty Creek campsite. After another half-an-hour walk we finally reached the Larch Plateau and then continued along the partially snow-covered trail toward the mountain. The larches had just started to turn yellow, so the predominant colour was golden-olive. The snow on the ground was already partially covered by yellow needle-like leaves.
As we started climbing the slopes of Frosty, the snow got deeper and reached about 20 cm at places. However, the final walk along the ridge was mostly snow-free.
Finally, we reached the summit. The views on the surrounding partially-covered snow peaks were truly breathtaking!
The descend was was fairly straightforward, although some portions of the trail were a bit slippery. We didn’t use microspikes, however, we found hiking poles really helpful.
Some stats. At a leisurely pace while taking lots of pictures, it took us about 4.5 hours from the parking lot to the peak and 3 hours to get back to the car.”
Phil A. on Mt Kelly:
“Lured by blue skies and warm temperatures, we set out to conquer Mount Kelly and the ridge to Nordheim Peak in Manning Park. We attacked from Allison Pass (N49° 06.924′ W120° 51.805′). The road had snow from the get go. After getting off track due to some fallen trees we had to bushwhack back on course. At the end of the road, the trail through the woods to the peak of Mount Kelly was slightly difficult to follow due to inconsistent flagging. Once at the peak, the trees thinned out and we easily navigated along the snow-covered ridge (which progressively slushed up in the spring sun). We then walked almost to Nordheim Peak to luxuriate in the sunshine before heading back.
Total elevation gain: 1400 m.
Snowline: Dependent on the side of the mountain, but the road was covered from the road/trail up. Snowshoes necessary.
Distance: 18 km.
Total Time: 7.5 hrs including lunch, breaks, and faffing.”
Stephen H. on the Skagit River Trail:
“This is a nice hike for spring. Andrew, Angela, Bob, Ivy, and Paul joined me for a 20-km stroll along this gold-rush trail. The rewards: old-growth groves, harlequin ducks, a mine, and a waterfall. And solitude too, as we only encountered a few other parties.”
Chris N. in Tullameen Meadows:
“Colleen and Rob joined me for a trip into the Cascade Recreation Area this past weekend. The trailhead is just past Rhododendron Flats in Manning Park. We elected to take the Whatcom Trail on the way up and encountered our first bit of snow about 100 m below the pass to Punchbowl Lake. We crossed over the Punchbowl outflow stream on a snowbridge and then back again lower down on the mostly submerged log bridge. Snow covered 90% of the trail between the pass and Snass View Camp but the campsite was largely melted out and dry. Trailhead to Snass View at an ever moderating pace took 7 hours. An after-dinner ramble was called due to dark but we were quite close to the hidden lair of the secretive snow frogs. The night was mild and the next day dawned bright and blue. We hiked down to Tulameen horse camp encountering an interesting clear water spring on the way (future site of our spa and resort). The trail was about 80% snow near Snass View but almost all traces of snow were gone from the Tulameen area. Lots of deer and elk sign but no actual sightings (except for the elk-on-walrus episode). We returned by the Dewdney trail following moose prints. Early on, it was obvious that feet were not going to stay dry with the numerous creek crossings. In several places, the trail was under a foot of running water. Snow disappeared around where the creek goes underground. From that point to Dry Lake, there was copious bear scat and trails tramped down through the lush vegetation. Dry Lake wasn’t (in that it was full of super-clear eerily blue water). Light on-and-off sprinkles started at a stop in a cedar grove where we listened to distant thunder rumbling. We got back to the trailhead 4 hours after leaving Snass View. We stopped at the Wildcat Grill between Hope and Chilliwack where we enjoyed food and a spectacular thunderstorm on the patio (and stayed moderately dry in the process). Road closures for paving on the 1 just north of the Port Mann caused a backup starting at the south end of the bridge and probably delayed our arrival in Vancouver by about 45 minutes (apparently, these start around 9 pm every night and would affect any late returns from any hikes to the east).”
Steve at Nicomen Lake:
“The Nicomen Lake trail has 2 potential purposes, and a nice hike is not one of them. At 17+ km each way on a featureless trail I can only recommend walking this trail if you are a) really into fishing and want a guaranteed catch of many fish or b) as the exit point for the Heather Trail so that you don’t have to backtrack (instead of hiking 23 km back the way you came you could have left a car at Cayuse Flats).
Were it not for the excellent conversationalists that joined my callout (Jangwon and Darren), this trail would have been even more tedious. The lake itself is nice, and the camping area on its edge – brilliant – but this is no Wedgemount, or even Garibaldi. We did hike to the ridge in the morning which was worth it, but if you were hiking the Heather Trail this is how you would approach your final campsite anyways.
This was a slog as evidenced by 6 sore feet and matching legs. The trail is groomed, Garibaldi style, so at no point is it “steep”, just really really long and uphill the whole way there (leaving was far more enjoyable but still long!).”
Peter A. on Mt Outram:
“Rob, Rebecca, Grazyna, Adrian, Irena, Jen, Jonathan and I braved snow, cloud cover and freezing winds to successfully ascend Mt. Outram. A fantastic adventure, that started with a fleet hike through a beautiful hemlock and Douglas fir forest. Once clear of the trees, after gaining approximately 1,000 metres, we entered a large, picturesque sub-alpine bowl, that revealed that fresh snow had blanketed the high ground, including the rest of our ascent. The snow was beautiful, but made the ascent up the steep, massive boulder field a little slippery. With a keen focus and much exertion, we gained the first summit in 3h 45m from the trailhead. After a bit of moderate scrambling, made trickier by the fresh snow covering the rocks and scree, we made it to the “true” summit. 1800 metre altitude gain. Despite the heavy cloud cover and cold winds, the cloud ceiling was high and there was plenty of blue sky to allow for magnificent 360 degree views. Very cool to see the North Cascades, Baker, and all the familiar Chilliwack mountains from this perspective. We found enough windbreaks and caught enough sun through momentary breaks through the clouds that we stayed on top about 20 minutes. Two other highlights of the hike: Adrian photographing a beautiful mountain goat in the sub alpine, and during our descent, Adrian photographing two ground squirrels overseeing the fields of blueberries where we had stopped to graze. Trail conditions and markings were excellent throughout, even on the final boulder field (just required a little more patience in spotting the red painted rocks). The descent took us 3 hours, and our knees were happy to see the parking lot. We had been on the trail a total of 8 hours. Great day, great hike, great people, finished off with a great meal at the Blue Moose Café in Hope.”
Michelle on the Skyline and Silverdaisy trails:
“No rest for the wicked! Three early mornings allowed us to maximize the mileage on this 500 something cumulative km trek spanning two provincial parks. Skyline as a cross over hike was a fun and unique experience with 5 hikers from Skagit and 4 hikers from Manning enjoying more sunshine than drizzle (and just a flash of lightning) before meeting up at Mowich for an enjoyable evening together. West of Mowich, Skyline does offer fine views of Ross Lake and the North Cascades. However continual views of Hozameen, endless peaks, valleys and the Lightning Lakes chain, kilometres of wildflower meadows, access to ascend Lone Goat and Snow Camp Mountain (a fine lunch spot enjoyed by both groups) is afforded by Skyline east of Mowich. Both groups also tackled a portion of the Hozameen Ridge trail 900 m west of Mowich (a spectacular ridge walk on a clear day). Reunited in Manning a dip in the river, some grub at the East Gate Diner, some refreshments from the General Store and cards at the Hamptons rejuvenated our band.
Of note – still some water trickling at Mowich, but I was glad I packed in all my water. Bugs (particularly flies) are better than last year in Manning, but were enough of a nuisance (as proved by my swollen eyelid bite). The snow is ALL gone and flower season should hit full bloom in the next few weeks.
The Silverdaisy trail is in fine shape, though easy to get side tracked and wander off in the beautiful meadows up top (pay attention and look sharp for the flagging). Silverdaisy makes you work for it, but the payoff of alpine meadows with a panorama of mountain views made for a very satisfied group. Mental or GPS breadcrumbs are useful for descent from the summit (easy to loose the route you travelled in on with little or no meadow footbed). The through and through hike may have shaved some time but navigation to Cayuse took effort and required GPS (lots of roads, lots of choices, little or no distinguishment on screen between active roads and now tree choked roads). An enjoyable adventure, but best (and more scenic) to just return via Sumallo Grove.
Summary: Nine enthusiastic hikers – check! Two cars + two phenomenally dedicated drivers – check! Two through and through hikes completed- check! Several frosty shakes and slices of pie consumed. Nine content hikers.
PS It’s a small world – 4 out of 8 groups on Skyline knew each other by 0–1 degree of separation, 2 groups of which were fellow Wanderungers.”