Saturday, August 06, 2011

Deeks Lake

This week we had two great days of weather when I was lucky enough to be mostly free of appointments  Both days I had afternoon appointments around 4pm but I was still able to get out on a couple of good walks, particularly by starting fairly early.

Thursday’s walk I decided was to Deeks Lake.  A friend had recently walked this route and said that it was now clear of snow on the trail (a problem with many higher elevation walks this summer due to the heavy winter snowfall and prolonged cooler spring temperatures).  The lake is situated approximately 6kms east of the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Lions Bay and Porteau Cove.  The destination is a pristine alpine lake high up on a plateau in the mountains.  Since the walk starts just off Highway 99, this makes for a demanding 7km trek with some 980m elevation gain to the lake situated at 1030m.

The views from the parking lot on Highway 99 just south of Porteau Cove are great.  Here views across Howe Sound, Anvil Island on the left and mountains behind the Sunshine Coast beyond.

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Looking South along Howe Sound from the parking lot with Anvil Island in the foreground and Gambier Island beyond.

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A creek tumbles immediately past the parking lot.

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Immediately the trail starts climbing and soon crosses the same creek on a bridge further up the hill.

IMG_5004 The first half of the walk is along a network of old logging roads, through a mix of lightly wooded and open-clearings.

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Typical view of the trail on the old logging roads in the lower half of the walk.

IMG_5007 After approximately halfway the trail turns away from the disused logging road onto a much steeper hiking-only trail.  Here it climbs sharply through forest for much of the remainder of the hike.

IMG_5009 We get these views on the way up across Howe Sound.   The walk is taking us steadily inland from Howe Sound but the views are still good.

IMG_5026 The outlook is further South than from the parking lot so here we’re looking at Bowen Island on the left, Gambier Island on the right and the tiny island that appears to be between the two but is really just off the coast of Bowen is Hutt Island.

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More steep climbing up through the forest. 

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Mojo takes a break on the way up.  Well OK it was probably me that instigated the pause but Moj didn’t appear to be complaining !

IMG_5033 Eventually we reach Phi Alpha Falls.  Infact, we had been walking alongside the creek for some distance as it crashed down the mountainside but then really turned into waterfalls at this particular location.

IMG_5034 Video of the falls and of Mojo who’s tongue seems to have a curious life of it’s own !

We continue up the trail and soon cross a clearing giving high views back across the Northern end of Howe Sound.

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Eventually we reach our reward, beautiful Deeks Lake.  Unfortunately while it had been a glorious day everywhere else on our walk (both up and down) the actual lake was continually under a big grey cloud.  We stopped for lunch for around 45 minutes but the cloud showed no signed of going anywhere so these are the best pictures we managed to get.  They really do not do the location justice so I will definitely have to go back another day to try and improve on them.

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On our way up we passed two hikers on their way down and they were the only other people we saw the whole walk.  The had the entire lake to ourselves. Absolute total peace, quiet and tranquility.  A few chirping birds and a couple of annoying flies.  The opposite slopes of the lake seemed perfect to spot a bear grazing for food.  Oh well, that’ll be our perfect day up here – blue sky and a bear, preferably on the opposite slope.

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More views of the lake and on this side, Deeks Peak rises beyond.

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Despite the frigid temperatures of the lake (apparently it only thawed a few weeks ago) Mojo happily raced in after sticks, charging around when out of the water to keep warm.

The trail continues alongside the lake before becoming the Howe Crest trail which proceed for a further 20km or so to Cypress Mountain ski area.  We walked some distance beside the lake to a log jam/bridge at the top of Deeks Creek which rushes down the mountainside and eventually into Howe Sound.

IMG_5050 Views from the top of Deeks Creek.

More views around the lake as the sun threatened to come out slightly before we head back down the trail.

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Finally a view of Mojo racing along the trail, brought back to life by near-freezing water temperatures !

IMG_5052 An excellent although quite challenging hike.  We were easily able to get up there, have lunch and be back comfortably for my 4pm appointment.  However, next time it will be nice to do it on a day when we have no time restraints and so can spend much more time at the lake enjoying it to ourselves, hopefully on a fully sunny day !

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the description . I have been up the first part to the trail head but not beyond . I plan to give it a go and see if I can make the lake later in the summer or early fall .

n

Gary Carter said...

Beautiful! Thank you for your post. I'm heading up the trial tomorrow morning.

Gary Carter said...

Beautiful photos and a wonderful description of this trail. Thank you.