Destination Hikes: In and Around SouthWestern British Columbia By Stephen Hui

I have before me a few first edition books (collector’s items I assume) that were pioneering guide books in their day: Mt. Garibaldi: Vancouver’s Alpine Playground (1922) by Don Munday, a signed edition of Dick Culbert’s 1960s A Climber’s Guide to the Coastal Ranges of British Columbia, a splendid 1967 copy of Glenn Woodsworth’s A Climber’s Guide to the Squamish Chief and Surrounding Areas (signed by the superb climber and search and rescue legend Tim Auger—we spent some lovely time in Lake O’Hara many a year ago) and the many editions of 103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia by, initially, David/Mary Macaree, then Jack Bryceland. The more recent stepping on the stage by Stephen Hui has enriched and enlarged, updated and revealed yet a greater variety of more and less demanding treks to take.

The publication of Destination Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia is a fit and fine companion to Stephen’s earlier book, 105 Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia. The style of both books is much the same, but this new book adds to the possibilities of trails yet to take and destinations yet to see. The book is divided into four regions: 1) Hikes North of Vancouver, 2) Hikes East of Vancouver, 3) Hikes West of Vancouver and 4) Hikes South of Vancouver (in the United States). Each hike is replete with superb photographs and headings that include distance, time, elevation gain, high point, difficulty, maps and trailhead. Photographs also include a variety of animals, waterfalls, scenic sights, thick forests, carpeted forest floors, signs, alpine flowers, wooden cabins, richly coloured clouds and various types of glaciers. There are also many “Stop of Interest” sections that make a trip to the mountains yet more attractive and worth the effort in doing. Stephen, rightly so, makes it clear that for those keen to take to the mountains (shorter or longer trips) preparation and precautions are needful and necessary—he has a fine few pages that cover the basics of outdoor rambling so that one and all return safely and in good form.

The 55 hikes included in Destination Hikes do, as the subtitle suggests, point to “Swimming Holes, Mountain Peaks, Waterfalls and More”. The “More” opens up more enchanted trails worth the trekking. 19 of the hikes are north of Vancouver, 20 of the hikes east of Vancouver, a mere 7 of the hikes west of Vancouver and another 9 hikes south of Vancouver (in the state of Washington). So, the bulk of the hikes in this timely beauty and bounty of a well crafted book are north and east of Vancouver.

The Foreward by Cecilia Point is a keeper not to miss. Cecilia has an evocative way of inviting those keen to take to such sacred and time tried 1st Nations landscapes to realize many have gone before them and their footprints still remain for those with eyes to see and hearts to feel. The Foreward is, indeed, worth a few meditative read and much inward digesting.

The “Overview Maps” (pages 30-37) are well worth the pondering as plans are made for trips into the backcountry and means of evaluating the expectations and demands of such trips, mountain weather and group dynamics, always, of course, the variable and unpredictable elements in any mountain and rambling trip.

I have done most of the trips that Stephen so well describes and there can be no doubt that Destination Hikes is a must have book for those eager to take to the mountains, alpine lakes, peaks, ridges and much else in southwestern British Columbia and further southward into Washington. The book also provides most of the information needed for safe trips there and back again and continues the unfolding journey of solid and reliable guide books for those interested and committed to mature trips into the bounty of beautiful British Columbia.

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