Friday, December 02, 2011

Snow-shoeing on Cypress

Today I decided to take Mojo snow-shoeing.  I had a quiet day in my diary and the forecast was for a day of full sun.

Well, sun wasn’t exactly visible as we set out at around 9.30am, infact the clouds looked dark and were quite definitely covering the tops of the mountains.  Nonetheless we headed out, I decided to go to Cypress Provincial Park this time and use the winter snow-shoe trail to Hollyburn Peak – a route we had taken during the summer a few times before but not in the winter.

We set out on the trail, under very grey skies.  However, at +2 degrees and dry it was very comfortable walking.

IMG_6381 Views here where the hiking trail is close to the cross-country ski runs.


Because the hiking trails are close to the ski facilities there are signs posted advising all dogs must be under control.  It seemed like a good time with Mojo to practice our ‘recall’ to make sure he remembers ‘come’ must still happen even with all the fun of a snow-day.

Good boy !

For most of the route up Hollyburn Mountain the trail is denoted by orange markers on poles. The backcountry mountains in the winter are not somewhere to get lost, plus there are many sinkholes where a thin layer of snow covers a huge hole in the ground which are very dangerous – best to stick to the marked trail.

IMG_6386 Mojo thinks one of the best aspects of hiking in the snow – the whole world is edible !


Now, as shown a little later in the post, the sun did eventually make an appearance, so here I have a photo that I took on the way up, followed by the identical image taken on our way back down.  What a difference some sun makes !



The mountain was however beautifully peaceful and quiet, just a few birds chirping and Mojo crunching in the snow.  And no, that’s not Mojo walking on the ski run, that must be someone else’s dog.  Mojo knows he isn’t allowed on the ski run.

We find great proof of why you need to wear snow-shoes and not just your regular shoes for this kind of hiking.  A deep (probably 2-3ft) hole where someones foot has disappeared deep into the snowpack.  As well as having a very wet leg that person has most likely decided to get snow-shoes now !


A dog with a face full of snow is a happy dog.


Ahead we see the trail disappearing into cloud.  At this point I was very seriously considering turning around and heading back.  The route had been steep uphill virtually all the way and it was obviously continuing that way and if we were just going to end up in mist & cloud it hardly seemed worth the effort continuing.  People were passing us having been at the top saying you can’t see a thing, just thick fog.


The trees are getting smaller in the sub-alpine of the higher elevation and all silver with frost.


I decided to continue a bit further up the trail and then suddenly the clouds completely disappeared in the matter of just a few minutes.

This photo is recorded on the camera as taken at 11.14am.


Then just 8 minutes later I take these images of Mojo basking in glorious sun, recorded at 11.22am.

IMG_6402 IMG_6404

A final few minutes push to the top and we’re at the peak of Hollyburn Mountain.

As we arrive there is another walker who is clearly aware that the birds up here are very tame… he is feeding a grey finch with some food he’s brought up with him.  He graciously allows me to photograph him in the act.


The views from the top of Hollyburn Mountain are superb.  There are still some clouds hanging around but they are burning off and the views are still excellent.

Views East towards the peaks behind Grouse Mountain.


The Lions are just coming into view.


Mojo takes in the view to the North of us.


The downhill-ski and snow-boarding area of Cypress Bowl across the valley from us.


Cypress Bowl again with Howe Sound, Bowen Island and Sunshine Coast beyond.


The top of Hollyburn Mountain at 1325m (4347ft).



After soaking in the views and the very welcome sunshine we make our way down.  Some of the views along the trail.

IMG_6432 IMG_6434





In about half the time it took us to get up the mountain, we are back down at the parking lot.  Final views here of the downhill ski area from the car.


Mojo and I had a blast on this walk and with 1.3m of snow already on the local mountains it looks like it’s going to be a great winter for snowy walks.


Louise Ducote said...

What a wonderful post! I bet Mojo was a tired boy after all that. I love the part about the whole world being edible.

David and Adrian said...

Thanks Louise. Particularly because he loves fetching sticks, which I always throw behind me not the direction we're walking in, he runs much further than I walk. Needless to say he's fast alseep right now.....