Anthony on , , , , , , , 26 Dec 2009 08:21 pm

It’s been a busy few weeks. We did the Van Dusen Gardens Festival of Lights, the Stanley Park Bright Lights Santa Train, the Stanley Park Carol Ride, Christmas at Maplewood Farm, and the Christmas crib service at St John’s Shaughnessy. Whew.

Today, on Boxing Day, we decided we’d go snow-shoeing. After all, Vancouver was socked in with fog and due to an amazing weather effect called a temperature inversion, it was actually warmer (and sunny!) on the mountains than down in the city.


So, we headed to Mt Seymour for snow-shoeing. We took along a newly-acquired sled in order to pull Quinlan along, but both boys ended up using it (off and on).


None of us had ever been snow-shoeing before, but that didn’t matter. It was pretty easy to pick up.


Mt Seymour had snow-shoes that fit Aidan, and as you can see, he did walk a good portion of the 2.5 km loop we did. Quinlan had a great time in (and rolling out of) the sled!





The weather was absolutely perfect and although the snow was hard-packed and a bit slushy, we had a blast. I expected the terrain to be a bit … flatter … but it was just like a typical hike in the Coastal Mountains, up and down moderately steep trails only in the snow. It sure was a workout, and we’re definitely going to do it again soon!


Anthony on , , , , 22 Aug 2008 09:03 pm

Today, I took Sean (brother-in-law) “up into the mountains”.  This is his first visit to BC, and wanted to see some of the BC mountains.  The weather’s been pretty miserable for the week he’s been here, but the weather prognosticators indicated that they expected today to be better than the rest of the preceding (and following) days so I swapped my Labour Day holiday with today.

We got up late, had a largish breakfast and made it to Cypress Bowl by about 11:30 am.  It was mostly sunny, with some puffy clouds haunting the mountain peaks.  Gwen dropped us off in the parking lot with a promise to pick us up around 6 pm.

The Mt. Strachan (pronounced “Strawn”) hike is one I’ve done at least a half-dozen times and is one of my favourites.  It starts in the Cypress Bowl parking lot and then you take the Howe Sound Crest Trail for about an hour towards The Lions.  Eventually you come to a meadow on the west side of Mt. Strachan and a short trail to a ravine the goes up to a pass between the North and South peaks of the mountain.  Climbing up the ravine (which is quite steep) is quite an endeavour.

It's steeper than it looks!

It's steeper than it looks!

Snow still in the ravine

Snow still in the ravine

Lions look-off half way up

Lions look-off half way up

Once you achieve the pass, you climb up a similarly steep trail to gain the North Peak.  The view from the top is quite amazing, with a 360° view. The clouds broke just as we summited, making for the typical outstanding view.

Sean at the top of Mt Strachan

Sean at the top of Mt Strachan

After rehydrating and chowing down a bit, we climbed down the North Peak and ascended the South Peak.  Along the way, we grabbed a geocache that hadn’t been found this year and had only been found once last year.  The South Peak is the top of chair lifts for Cypress Mountain, and the hike down from the South Peak parallels the ski runs a bit, and about 2/3 of the way down, you are actually forced to walk along the access road/ski run.

We were within view of the parking lot by about 3:30 pm — clearly we made much better time than I expected — and gave Gwen a call.  We made it down to the parking lot soon enough and then beat it over to the nearby Yew Lake to pick up another geocache before meeting Gwen and Aidan in the parking lot. And the rain held off until we were waiting to be picked up!

Yew Lake

Yew Lake

All in all, 8.8 km hiking, 730 m total elevation gain, about 4.5 hours total time including breaks.

The GPS track is shown below, along with a Google Earth plot of the hike.

Mt. Strachan hike

Mt. Strachan hike

Anthony on , , 28 Jul 2008 10:19 pm

The weather’s supposed to be pretty crummy for the rest of the week, and the teenager wanted to get up into the mountains some time during her stay here, so I took the afternoon and we made a quick jaunt up to Squamish to climb The Chiefs.

It’s late, I’m tired and sore, and I still haven’t written up about our weekend on the Island, so I’ll leave you with some photos from our trip to the second peak of the Stawamus Chief.  The best thing about the hike is getting to the top…

The first peak

Mount Garibaldi


The third peak

Proof Kayla was there

While on top, we were beset upon by a crew of 3 chipmunks and a bully squirrel.  They amused Kayla almost as much as the hike.

I’ll try to write something about our trip to the Island tomorrow.

Anthony on , , , , 05 Jul 2007 09:00 am

Sunday was Canada Day. The past two years we have gone down to Granville Island and enjoyed the festivities. This year we did something different: we got up early and took the ferry to the Sunshine Coast. The ferry ride is only 40 minutes long and even with reservations, this was almost as long as we waited in the parking lot to get on the ferry. We met some friends on the ferry who were also going to Skookumchuck. After arriving in Langdale, we drove up to make the traditional stop at the only Tim Horton’s on the Sunshine Coast just outside of Gibsons. We fuelled up, and unfortunately Gwen ate a small piece of the apple cheese danish that was supposed to be a cherry cheese danish. Gwen’s allergic to apples, and didn’t have any medication on her, so this made for a bit of a tense time. We continued to drive to the north end of the Coast and headed inland to the Skookumchuck Narrows. Aidan normal travels quite well, but on this day we discovered that he gets car sick! I can’t really blame him — I get car sick too. Plus, the road north of Pender Harbour (highway 101, continuing the West Coast tradition) is mountainous: twisty, turny, and hilly. Add to that the tall trees and high mountain walls, and you get the effect of driving through a twisty tunnel. After puzzling out why he was crying something other than his “I’m not getting my way” cry, we pulled off the road and spent some time cleaning him up and cooling him down. Our destination was still another 15 km away, but we turning back wasn’t an option. Fortunately the bit of apple danish that Gwen had wasn’t a problem. Having two sick people in the truck would have been unpleasant.

The Skookumchuck Narrows are a tidal bore, where the flow going into the Sechelt Inlet rushes in and out a very narrow chokepoint. The current can hit up to 16 knots and you can often see large whirlpools being shed. There’s a 4 km hike (flat by BC standards, a little hilly by any other standard) to two points over looking an inlet. I’ve created a Google map that you can see here.

We hiked in (I had Aidan in the backpack) and were suitably impressed by the display. Check out the video and pictures below:



Note in the video you can hear Aidan singing the ABC’s. Also note that when Gwen turns the camera on him, he immediately clams up. This is why we’ve not been able to capture any audio of him singing. Yet.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Before heading back to the ferry, we stopped at the marina store in the nearby village of Egmont and Lorraine bought some Gravol. We broke up one of the pills into quarters and gave Aidan one in a fruit bar. The subsequent drive back was uneventful! The boy didn’t seem to get sick and stayed pretty happy for the whole trip. We stopped for a bit in Sechelt, and Aidan had a chance to play on a rock beach bordering on the Georgia Strait.



Molly's ReachWe stopped in Gibsons on the way back to have supper at Molly’s Reach. You know, that place from The Beachcombers? We didn’t get a photo because the boy was pretty cranky, but the one you see there is up on Flickr (click the photo to go to that person’s Flickr page). The fish and chips were good — as usual — but as I mentioned, the boy was pretty cranky so we were in and out of there pretty quickly. We raced to the ferry around 5:45 pm, hoping to catch the 6:50 pm ferry for which (1) we didn’t have reservations, and (2) had sold out all its reservations. We weren’t too sure that we’d make it on, but after arriving at the terminal it was pretty clear that we would.

We caught up with our friends on the ferry ride back, and Aidan spent pretty much the whole ride flirting with the women. He’s pretty shameless. I hope to get some video that Ali shot, and when I do I’ll post it.

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