We, the North Shore Hikers, managed to keep our club open during the pandemic. Strict rules, posted on our website, and dedicated leaders made all the difference. While rules have been changed a few times to keep pace with ever changing provincial guidelines and restrictions, our club activity parameters were basically: 6 participants or less, a strict Covid questionnaire and protocol, no guests, and no carpooling unless from the same bubble.
We had tens and tens of mid-week and weekend outings. We experienced a large surge in our cycling activities and an amazing increase in the number of trip reports posted on our website. I guess we all felt the need to share our experiences with an expanded group. So, here I am sharing a selection of our club’s trip reports with the Federation family. Keep reading…….
Cycling Ladner loop – April 2022
The gale force winds were the story of the day. Who knew the Ladner dike winds could blow 360 degrees simultaneously! Which ever way we rode, we had a bloody headwind or worse, a strong side wind to keep us sober. I rode in my lowest gear and could barely make head way. What was billed as an easy flat bike ride, ended up to the hardest bike ride of our lives! Pure adrenaline in an unrelenting fight with Mother Nature!
Luckily, today’s six club members had good sense of humour, so much so, when it was suggested to have our lunch in a viewless, sort-of -windless (not really) muddy dike ditch, no one hesitated.
Some members even tried to have fun with the wind and created a sail to see how far they could travel without pedalling.
We probably saw 100,000 (plus or minus) snow geese on their migration from the Arctic, a beaver swimming in a farm ditch (no doubt, escaping from the wind), two miniature horses pulling carriages, riding horses, cows, “baby” blue herons and seagulls flying nowhere fast as the wind was too strong (somehow I could relate to their plight).
When we all got back to Deas Island, we made quick goodbyes, and desperately dashed into our wind safe cars. Phew!
We biked 43 km in 4 hours and 20 mins.
Cycling the Fraser Foreshore trail, March 2021
The Burnaby foreshore trail is finally complete and one can ride continuously along the water’s edge from Knight street bridge to almost to Queensborough bridge. An absolutely peaceful and pretty ride. We had a new member join us today and she and another strong biker zoomed up the last steep hill (a stiff 600m up). Even though two of us walked up, I think they only beat us by a few seconds. We stopped at the spectacular La Foret Bakery on the way back for a treat. From there, I pieced together an easy and quiet way back that was almost all downhill to Trout lake.
Leader’s note: since the pandemic started, I have rediscovered biking and it has been like travelling around the world as I discover new coastal rain forests, greenways, beaches, lakes, sweet neighbourhoods, cities and the cultural/historical icons of an area. We are very lucky that we can bike all year long in Vancouver and I encourage you to take your old bike out of the garage, get it tuned up and come join us. In four hours, you will enjoy a plethora of amazing scenery in the company of like minded people. Hope to see you on my next ride
Norvan Falls hike, March 2021
Lynn Headwaters Regional Park
From Rice Lake Parking Lot to Norvan Falls
It was about 19 kms round trip and very little elevation 311m.
It took us 6 plus hours on a day with some slippery sections, some sun and a sprinkle of water.
The falls were falling into a heap when we got there and no one was tempted to go into that creek which still had traces of snow. Not many people of dogs on the trails this Tuesday.
We spoke about everything from Brazilian butt lifts, Jehova Witnesses new modus operandi of sending ‘Dear Neighbour’ handwritten letters and postcards in the mail to unsuspecting occupants, to what do anthropologists say is true cultural identity anyway?
Paid Parking is said to start at $2 per hour at the end of this month so get there soon.
Galiano Island -January 2021
Four people showed up Saturday morning, January 30th for a B hike to Mt. Galiano loop. We started at 10 AM and finished at 3:30 PM. We had great views at the Bluffs and great views on Mt. Galiano. We saw tear drop lilies in bloom and some pink blossom trees in bloom. Trails were in great shape and look forward to doing the trip again in April when more flowers will be out. Thanks to those that came on the hike. It is a good trip to do in the winter months.
Unnecessary Mountain – December 2020
Three North Shore hikers met at 8:30 in the Cypress Downhill area to snowshoe along the Howe Sound Crest Trail to Unnecessary Mtn. All three of us managed to avoid paying the new $10 parking fee, one by parking in Lot 3b (the only free one) and the other two by parking on the adjacent roadsides and getting lucky.
The day started out overcast and remained so all morning. At St. Marks Lookout there were no views to be had. But we stopped anyway so Alastair could have the first of his three (or was it four?) lunches. It was at this point that we put on our snowshoes as the snow was getting deeper and softer and the footprints were running out.
It’s amazing how gazillions of people go to St. Marks every single day but hardly a soul goes beyond, in winter anyway. On this day we encountered exactly two hikers. These two young men had no snowshoes, no poles and from what we could see no microspikes. Their plan was to do a traverse from Cypress to Lions Bay, leaving a trail of very deep post-holes all the way. Since I haven’t seen anything in the news they must have made it.
Somewhere along the way it started to clear up. But before that we had some pretty impressive sights of blue sky above us and a sea of clouds below us. Finally the fog below us went away too and we started seeing the rewards of our work. That is if one hikes for the views. Or to reach peaks for that matter. I myself have never subscribed to that school of thought.
But reach a peak we did. Some discussion ensued regarding the bump we were standing on and Alastair did some subsequent research that is worth transcribing here:
According to Bivouac.com there has been a lot of confusion around the naming of the bumps around Unnecessary Mtn. The original Unnecessary Mtn was the one that I climbed (1543m) today and that we could all see. The original trail up to the Lions went over it (there is an 100m drop on the north side) which is why it was named Unnecessary. However the bump to the south that we all climbed is higher- 1548m so some have argued that as the high point it should receive the name. And some have argued that since there is a small bump 1490m 300m to its south that we went over, there should be three Unnecessarys – north, middle and south. Bivouac decided that there should be two – Unnecessary South (the highest point which we all climbed); and Unnecessary North (which we could all see 400m to the north and which I climbed).
After Alastair’s third lunch on top of Unnecessary South the group made a plan to split up. I, not wanting to descend in the dark, preferred to call it a day and turn back accompanied by Joanne. Alastair proceeded to Unnecessary North and returned in the dark under a full moon, which I understand was blissful.
Joanne and I reached our cars at 5:00 as the last rays of daylight were disappearing, exactly as planned. Strava says we hiked 17.16 km and gained 1,120 in elevation. It was a most excellent adventure in the glorious mountains of Vancouver’s north shore.
Mount Elsay loop – September 2020
Four of us met at the Mount Seymour Downhill Ski parking lot at 7:30 a.m. and started up Mount Seymour Trail. After 2.2 km of hiking we turned right at the junction east of Tim Jones Peak where there is a signpost marking the beginning of the Elsay Lake Trail. One hiker turned back at this point as per plan and 3 of us continued on. Stephen Hui’s 105 Hikes describes this as a strenuous 10 hour hike so we proceeded at a leisurely pace in order not to expend our available energy reserves too soon. Although the trail was well marked with flagging and rock cairns there were many opportunities to go off route on animal tracks and trails going to other remote peaks. Luckily we had Northshorehikers’ veteran route finder par excellence (thanks Bengul) so we were never lost. After we thought we couldn’t stand the sight of another boulder-strewn gully we finally found (after a few false starts) the junction marking the trail to the Mount Elsay Summit. One of the highlights of the hike was supposed to be the amazing 360 views from the top. Unfortunately, low-lying morning mist on that day hid most of the views. Instead of returning the way we came, we took the Mount Elsay Trail back to the junction east of Pump Peak. This route may not have been marked by as many boulder-strewn gullies as the way in, but there was other excitement (“rugged, slippery, and wickedly steep” as per Hui’s guidebook). By this time the morning mist had burned off and we could see far into the distance. We were able to imagine the amazing views that would have been had from the summit. We concluded that another attempt on a bluebird day would be in order. We reached our cars at around 6:00. Trip Stats: total time 10:36 hours; moving time: 8 hours; distance 14.75 km; total ascent: 1,138 m.
Post Note: I always thought when guidebooks give “elevation gain” it meant cumulative gain. Now I know it does not. 105 Hikes gives 500 m as the elevation gain for this hike, which seems an irrelevant and useless stat for assessing the measure of hike.