It was another rainy day but we just had to get out into the forest and breathe some tree air so J and I headed over to one of our local parks, Belcarra Regional Park, and took the trail that brings you out on a beach that looks directly across to Jug Island and has a great view down Indian Arm.
Even though it was rainy, cloudy and cool, there was a steady stream of “traffic” on the trail. When we started out, there was an Asian gentleman manning a big kettle of soup being heated by a propane set-up under one of the lean-tos. We asked him what he was doing and we think he said he was cooking bone soup for all his hiking friends when they returned and that we were welcome to join them. We were jealous. I want a friend like that!
The returning Asian hikers passed us on our way down the trail just a little after we started in so we knew that by the time we got back, they would be gone and so would the soup. See, there really is no such thing as a free lunch!
Got to the beach about the same time as a group of younger folks, took a few pictures looking down Indian Arm and headed back to the car.
You can just see the tip of Jug Island at the far left on the shots. Nice couple of restorative hours. It’s always worth it to get out. No matter how bad the weather seems it’s always nicer on the trail.
It’s been a while since I did a “trip report” so this week, I thought I’d share one of the hikes we did last August in Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC.
Wells Gray has become one of our favourite places to go for a long 4-5 day weekend. The first time we went several years ago, we had a friend who had a house there she wasn’t using and she let us stay in it. After that trip, we were hooked on this park and area. There’s so much to see and explore, especially if you like waterfalls, which we do, and lots of opportunities to hike into the alpine so we couldn’t wait to return.
If you do decide to visit this park, be sure to stop in at the visitor’s centre right off the highway and pick up a copy of Roland Neave’s book, Exploring Wells Gray Park. It’s the best guide to the area. We got a copy of the 5th edition the first time we were there and were so impressed with it that when we went this past summer, we were happy to scoop up the newer 6th edition. And you can get it before you go, online!
This post I’m just going to focus on one hike that we did, the hike up the East Ridge of Trophy Mt. Trophy Mt is one of the major mountains in the park and you can come at it from various directions. Last time we headed onto its West slopes via Sheila lake so this time we wanted to try the other side.
We were not disappointed! It’s a great hike and you are rewarded with many great panoramic vistas once you actually get into the alpine, which only takes about 90 minutes or so. On the way up from the trail head, we were rewarded with lovely meadows that still had lots of flowers and stunning views of Raft Mt to the South, another peak we’d like to explore next time we go.
The first part of the trail takes you through some lovely forest with a couple of great scraggly trees. Here’s one I really liked.
And a bit of wildlife on the way up. A butterfly perched on an aster.
As I mentioned, you pass through some lovely meadows before the views of Raft Mt start to come into play.
As you gain elevation, you begin to get views of Raft behind you so don’t forget to turn around and look because the light will definitely change on the way down and you don’t want to miss the changes.
A few pics of Raft Mt on the way up into the alpine.
And then you enter the alpine and things start opening up.
Now we’re really getting into the alpine and things open up with lots of territory to explore. You come to a cabin and from there you can go several ways. We stayed East, wandered up that ridge and eventually came to a lovey viewpoint where we had lunch and just chilled out on the rocks enjoying the views for a while.
Our high point and lunch spot.
A bit of a closeup of the what you see past the selfie hat.
I thought about heading up that bump foreground left but we decided we’d had enough elevation gain for the day and after lunch headed back down. Did a bit of loop to get back to the cabin and then headed back down to the car.
On the way back to the car I took a few more flower pics. Here’s one of a lousewort species.
We also ran across a bit of wildlife, too.
And then just because I happen to be a fun guy who likes fungi, had to take a quick shot of this one.
Well I took almost 200 pics on this hike so you can see I’ve really held back here and saved you from 40 pics of Raft from different viewpoints and so many flowered meadows. You just gotta go and see it for yourself!
When we don’t have much time and just want a nice walk in the woods by the shore we often head over to Belcarra Park. There are a couple of nice trails there for strolls or if you have more time, longer excursions. The trails there connect up with an extensive network of trails in the area including to Sasamat and Buntzen lakes.
On this walk we took the trail to Admiralty Point. Here’s one of the side “beaches” on the way to the Point.
Not a great day weatherwise but any time spent rambling around in a park like Belcarra is better than moping around inside!
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 🙂