Saturdays is the day we set aside for hiking as long as nothing else arises and gets in the way. The day was open, the weather was perfect and we wanted a fairly short hike with a great view and not too many people around. We’d heard about the Tunnel Bluffs hike from several people, that it had a great view, and decided that was our choice.
We weren’t disappointed!
Daylight starts to wane about 4 pm or so these days and we figured 4-5 hours for the hike so we were on trail by 10:45 or so. The trail is extremely well marked and quite easy to follow so getting lost is not an issue on this one. The hardest part is finding a place to turn your car around so you can park in the lot on the West side of the Sea-to-Sky highway, and then running across the road to get to the trail head!! The first part of the hike takes you up to a great teaser view point in about 10 minutes.
After that the hike is a dedicated grunt for another hour or so but you are distracted from the effort by many old growth Douglas Firs and Cedars. We quite enjoy big trees and this is one of the best groves on a trail that I’ve seen in quite a while for the little bit of effort it takes to see them!
Eventually the trail emerges onto an old overgrown road which has become a lovely, easy to navigate trail. You follow that for about an hour or so, with a well marked turn-off that you have to follow or you’ll end up on the trail to Hat Mt, a much more ambitious hike, and one I’d like to tackle in the future!
Eventually the trail sign points you to “the lookout. The bluff you emerge onto is called Taster’s Bluff. Here we had our lunch and relaxed for a bit before making our way back down the steep trail to the car. As you can see, the views up and down Howe Sound and of the Sunshine Coast mountains are superb! Well worth the effort to get there!
Back to the car by 3:00 so 4.5 hours including a nice 25 minute lunch break at top. We were joined by a couple of amorous ravens who resorted to grooming each other since we didn’t feed them anything!
A couple more pics from the bluff.
A lovely hike and one we’ll return to repeat, for sure!
Here in the Vancouver, BC area, Grouse Mountain is well known. There is a gondola that will take you up to the Chalet and recreation and skiing area or you can get there using your own 2 feet and save big bucks!! There are a number of trails that go up to the Chalet but the 2 most famous are “The Grouse Grind” and “The BCMC”.
Both trails have you hike up 850 metres from the parking lot to get to the Chalet. The Grind is a bit steeper and a few hundred metres shorter as a result and is the one most people use but I prefer the BCMC. Less people and just a bit less steep and it gets you to the same place. Plus in winter, The Grind has some serious avalanche and steep sections that if you lose your footing, you’re going to slide down a looooonnnng way. No such places on the BCMC.
Although the trails are “officially closed” during the winter months, that never stops the hundreds of “regulars” like myself .
Since I do this on a regular basis – several times a month – I buy a yearly gondola membership pass so that I can just get on the gondola for the ride down. Saves the stress on the knees and joints that pounding downhill can aggravate. And I really love the trail in the winter. No rocks or roots to navigate, just the compacted trail and the beautiful forest and trees covered in snow.
Generally takes me about 90 minutes in the winter with snow on the trail and 75-80 minutes in the summer. Keeners do it under an hour!! It’s a great workout, both for strength and cardio, and keeps me in shape for hiking other peaks when the opportunity arises.
Here’s a couple of pics from the Gondola ride down last week.
This is the view towards another pair of famous peaks, The Lions, that overlook Vancouver.
And here’s an abstract of a shot I snapped of just the trees.
Always good to get out especially when the sun is shining 🙂
We needed to get a “Forest Fix” but we didn’t have a lot of time and I was favouring a bit of a achey back so we went for a walk in Belcarra Park to Maple Beach and back. Here’s a photo from the beach taken with my Nokia N8 and processed to black and white in Lightroom.
And here’s “bluesy” shot from a slightly different location on the beach.
I liked having the piling as the focal point for the shots.