Sunday, July 28, 2013

Skyline Trail, Manning Park

In the middle of last week I had a day free of appointments and so I went out for the day with Mojo to make the most of the good weather.  We headed to the far end of the Fraser Valley into Manning Park, quite a drive for the day out but a very scenic one and new territory for us to walk in.

The trail begins from the parking lot bright and open in a low meadow and flat easy walking.


A few colourful flowers dot the landscape including these striking subalpine daisies.


Shortly before the 1km marker the trail starts winding its way up through the forest which is predominately made up of lodgepole pine which doesn’t have a large canopy like the forests on the coast so allows lots of sun through.


Mojo soon finds a great drinking spot, it’s thirsty work walking uphill on these hot summer days !


After another 3kms or so of steady but not too steep climbing we reach the first of the meadows, full of colourful wildflowers blooming.


Mojo in the meadows


Looking back at the trail we’ve come up along


Wildflowers, with a bee about to make a landing.


Mojo is on his best behaviour and stays on trail at all times, there are several notices saying how sensitive and vulnerable the wildflower meadows are and they aren’t up to people walking over them, so you must stick to the path.


After a short further distance the views really started opening up



We reach a clearing providing good views to the West.  The peaks here from left to right are Snowcamp Mountain, Lone Goat and Red Mountain.


Panorama of the views to the West from the trail.

Snowcamp and Lone Goat with Hozomeen peeking out behind.


Red Mountain and the miles of protected parkland beyond


A further half kilometre or so and we reach an excellent viewpoint allowing 180 degree views from the East, South and West.  Here the peaks from left to right are Frosty Mountain, Scimitar Knoll and then Hozomeen on the right. Down in the valley you can just see the beginning of Thunder Lake.


Video of the panorama from this viewpoint.

Hozomeen Mountain, which is actually in the North Cascades National Park in Washington. A couple of trails connect the two parks although technically it’s illegal to walk across the boundary between the two as there isn’t a formal border crossing.


Frosty Mountain


Zoomed in on Hozomeen


Thunder Lake


Finally a view of Frosty Mountain on the right and Windy Joe on the left


The last half kilometre or so of the trail has been on a quite narrow ledge with a sharp, exposed drop off to the side which I am really uncomfortable with.  Knowing we would have to retrace our steps, plus with the timing being right we decided to stop at this viewpoint for lunch.  Lunch, was quite extravagant being left-over smoked salmon and cream cheese in a bagel.  Wonderful !

However, as we turned around we saw a sign which hadn’t been posted towards us on the way up, warning of grizzlies in the area.  Not sure we’d had hung around so long wafting aromas of smoked salmon had we seen it on the way up !  Oh well Mojo kept me safe !

It was a nice walk but my height issues at the end took the edge off of it for me.  There are plenty of other sub-alpine trails in this park which we will no doubt explore much more in the future.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Diez Vistas Trail

This week in the continued good weather I walked the Diez Vistas Trail near Buntzen Lake with Mojo.

The last time I walked here a couple of years ago it had clouded up and the views were not so great, today however it remained mostly sunny.

We cross the far Southern end of Buntzen Lake on the floating bridge before starting the steep ascent up the Diez Vistas Trail.


After a lengthy slog through the forest we get to the first lookout with views of Bedwell Bay.


A short distance further we reach the main viewpoint which provides panoramic views across Indian Arm and Metro Vancouver.  North Vancouver is the stretch of land just across the water and Downtown is in the far-right in the distance.


Mojo takes in the view too.

Mojo on Diez Vistas Trail lookout

The far end of this peninsula reaching into Indian Arm with the island on the end is Jug Island Beach (and Jug Island) where we have walked a few times before. The cove on the opposite side of the water with the marina is Deep Cove.


Further along the ridge we get views to the North up Indian Arm


The trail gradually drops down at the far end of the ridge and brings us beyond the North end of Buntzen Lake.  Views here across McCombe Lake as we walk back towards North Beach of Buntzen.


Then we get our first glimpse again of Buntzen Lake. 


We stopped for lunch at the North Beach where Mojo cooled off and swam before walking back along the East trail via the Dog Beach to the car.  It was lovely at Buntzen but being school holidays and a warm sunny July day the trails around the lake and beaches were all very busy so no worth stopping for snaps.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Anderson Point on Baker Lake, WA

This week I had to drive down to Bellingham in Washington to visit with our US bank and so took the opportunity afterwards of taking Mojo for a walk somewhere we hadn’t been before.

Since his illness Mojo is not up to really long hikes anymore so I had to choose carefully a route that would give us enough walking and some good views without pushing the little fella too much.

Baker Lake is situated in the Mt Baker Recreation Area, just East of the North Cascades National Park.  Being outside of the park it is also dog-friendly which was a key consideration.

From Bellingham it’s a short drive south along I5 before heading East along State Route 20 and then North along a good quality paved Forest Commission road into the back country.

The photos on this post are not as good quality as normal as they were all taken on my iPhone rather than the actual camera.

From the parking lot the walk commences through mature forest. The trail was easy walking, a little up and down but not too much and no difficult steps. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the sunlight streamed through the trees.

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I had found the route on the Washington Trails Association website and we had to keep an eye out for bears as several previous walkers had posted recently on the WTA website that they had encountered bears on this route.  I’m pleased to say we didn’t on this day !

After about 30 minutes walking we came to Anderson Creek, a lovely clear fast flowing creek which Mojo happily paddled and drank from.

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Another view of Anderson Creek as it empties into Baker Lake

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From here we also gained our first view of Mt Baker.

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Video capturing the roaring sound of Anderson Creek.

We then crossed a log bridge and continued on the trail for a further 10 minutes or so.

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Soon we arrive at Anderson Point, a peninsula on the East bank of Baker Lake.

From here there are great views North up Baker Lake towards Mt Shuksan (2783m/9131ft).

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And the views across the lake to Mt Baker (3286m/10781ft) are pretty impressive too.  I will definitely have to return here on another sunny day with the camera to do these views justice.

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There’s virtually no development after you leave the South end of the lake so it’s very peaceful and quiet. Infact, we didn’t see a single other person the whole 3 hours or so we were walking to, from or at the lake.

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Panorama view looking North and West up Baker Lake.

If you don’t want to rough-it on the pebbled beach areas there are carved out logs for seating and BBQ pits so it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic.

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Mojo takes a small break in the sun.

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Before heading back out for another swim.  The lake was beautifully clear, clean and unspoiled.

As perfect as the location was eventually we had to start heading back to the car.  The 40 minute race around on the trail enough to dry this damp doggy off.

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It was a really lovely place for a walk and one we’ll certainly be back to in the future.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Okanagan and along the Sea-to-Sky Highway

With our recent visitors we ventured to the Okanagan for which is fast becoming our annual tradition of renting a house with Andrea & Stephen and doing some wineries while hopefully enjoying some warmer drier weather than we experience on the coast.  We managed most of that, thankfully we had fleece’s and waterproofs !

The house we rented this time was on Skaha Lake on the south end of Penticton, right in the heart of wine country.

David with Mojo on the house’s jetty.


The living room was double height and had fantastic views up the lake.


The day we arrived (and seemingly each afternoon during our stay) the winds would pick up and create surprisingly big waves on the lake which came crashing against the deck, splashing water over the furniture and anyone who was outside at the time.  Mojo much as he wanted to get in the lake wasn’t impressed with the waves.


The following morning the lake was beautifully calm even though it has just started raining (and pretty much continued throughout our stay !)


Stephen on the jetty and Mojo keeping a close eye on the people paddling in the dragon boat, who are also keeping a close eye on Mojo


Between the ducks and the big fish in the lake there was plenty to keep Mojo occupied watching.


Despite the weather we had lots of fun visiting the wineries and hanging out with Stephen and Andrea.  Between us all we did a good job stocking up the wine rack.


After returning from the Okanagan we took our visitors up to Whistler for the day, stopping enroute for views at Porteau Cove


David, his Dad and Mojo at Porteau Cove


We make the obligatory stop at Brandywine Falls


Unfortunately our timing was such that the chairlifts had closed for the winter season and were about (but not yet) to open for the summer, we were in one of the few short days they are non-operational.  So, we didn’t get to go up the mountains on this occasion, we’ll have to save that for next time. 

Views here on the way back along the Sea-to-Sky Highway


Finally, the mini-Inukshuk David and his Dad built.