This past weekend was the Victoria Day holiday long weekend here in BC. Holiday weekends are always quiet in real estate and this was no exception. The weekend did however start out dry and sunny so I took the opportunity to head out on Saturday with Mojo.
We decided to try a new walk on nearby Bowen Island to the peak in the centre called Mt Gardner.
The 20 minute ferry crossing is very enjoyable in the good weather, views here looking back at Horseshoe Bay as we depart West Vancouver while a Nanaimo, Vancouver Island ferry is visible docked in the background.
While it was a dry sunny day unfortunately two weeks without rain meant it was starting to get quite hazy, particularly looking to the North and East. Hazy views up Howe Sound from the ferry.
Ahead is our destination, Bowen Island.
Today we are heading for Mt Gardner which is the peak just left of centre in this photo.
We disembark the ferry and drive the short route to Killarney Lake in Crippen Regional Park, the starting point of our walk. Views here of Killarney Lake in the morning sun, viewed from the picnic area.
The beginning of the walk is easy and flat along the south-east side of the lake.
We soon reach the beach area of the lake, a lovely gentle slope into the water.
Panorama video of quiet Killarney Lake, just the sounds of a few birds and Mojo paddling in the water.
However, we soon turn off the lake trail and begin our ascent along the various routes up Mt Gardner. Trails are a mix of old logging roads and pedestrian pathways. Either way they are up, up, up !
The beautiful forest was very quiet on this Saturday morning. On a couple of the trees in this video you can see direction indicators that other walkers have put up to help keep people on the right trail. Mt Gardner currently sits in ‘Crown Land’ which is public land that’s not under municipal management such as a park (we exited Crippen Regional Park as we walked away from Killarney Lake). The effect of this is that many of the smaller trails on Mt Gardner are unmarked and lots of people get lost finding their way up and down.
We figured it was safer to stay on the main, marked trails.
If the municipality of Bowen Island has their way there could eventually be a National Park on the Island, incorporating the current regional park as well as the crown lands around Mt Gardner. This is currently under review by the BC Government.
The lack of management of trails also means there were lots of obstacles, many fallen trees to climb over, under and around and one section of a trail had been completely washed out by a creek.
After about an hour or so of climbing we reach our first viewpoint. Lovely clear views to the West of Keats Island in the foreground with the Sunshine Coast and the town of Gibsons beyond.
The ferry from Horseshoe Bay docking at Langdale serving the Sunshine Coast.
Keats Island on the left, edge of Gambier Island to the right and the Sunshine Coast behind.
Gambier Island in the foreground with the peaks of Tetrahedron Provincial Park behind.
Waterfront homes dot the islands and are homes to those who like the peaceful slower pace of island life others are weekend retreats to Vancouver city dwellers.
The trail winds along the North West ridge for a short way before heading back into the forest for the final ascent.
After 719m of ascent we know we’ve reached the top when we meet the radio masts. An unusual sight after walking for two hours in wilderness. No problem with cellphone signal here !
Unfortunately as the morning progressed so did the haze. I could see that there would be absolutely fantastic views to the North and East on a clear day, right over Howe Sound, the North Shore and with the naked eye I could see Downtown and Stanley Park.
Sadly today this was the best photo I could get of Howe Sound and West Vancouver.
Snug Cove and ferry terminal on the waters edge and inland the red roofs of Artisan Square where we have enjoyed lunch on several occasions at the excellent Artisan Eats. Artisan Square is home to both the good and the evil….tasty Artisan Eats deli & bakery, the Cocoa West Chocolatier and then when you are ready for redemption – Bowen Island gym !
The Bowen Island ferry is heading back to Horseshoe Bay while the Nanaimo ferry heads off on the 1h30 crossing to Vancouver Island.
The gratuitous posing shot on the north peak of Mt Gardner.
After a break and some lunch at the top we head down, seeing this huge log boom being towed into Howe Sound.
It was a really lovely walk with enough ‘up hill’ to make you feel you’ve put some effort in ! While it was a pity that the views were so hazy, the plus side is that it has to go back on the ‘must do again’ list so I can improve the photos in the future.