Monday, November 19, 2018

Baden Powell - Part 4

Baden Powell Trail - Lynn Headwaters to Deep Cove

 I had to do this one in two shifts as the Pipeline bridge, crossing the Seymour river is under construction.

I always like crossing the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. A free and much more immediate experience than the Capilano Suspension Bridge tourista extravaganza.  The warning sign about jumpers is new.

Another beautiful trail following Lynn Creek then up, eventually crossing Lillooet Road.

There was a sign here saying that the trail couldn't get through at Pipeline bridge, but of course, I didn't believe, but it was true, so had to walk down through Capilano U.

Second try, started at the opposite (east) side of Pipeline. Crossed Mt. Seymour Rd. and Indian RiverRd,

Eventually to Quarry Rock, where there about 20 people lizarding in the sun. I joined them for a little nap, then the nice little 30 minute return from Quarry Rock back to (finally) the opposite endpoint of the Baden Powell. Four legs over a number of weeks. Done.


Baden Powell - Part 3

Baden Powell Trail - Grouse Mountain to Lynn Headwaters.


Third leg of Baden Powell trail: Grouse mountain to Lynn headwaters park. Approx 12km.
Caught transit (train, seabus, bus) right to the base of Grouse Mountain. Trail starts right where the Grouse Grind starts, but you go east, not north!
It really is an urban trail. You come out to some roads at times, and you can sometimes hear the city, but there's enough bumps and hills to still make it a challenge.

The trail is well groomed, nice flat rocks laid out on the trail. I was wondering about this until I realized this section is part of the famous North Shore mountain biking network. See the pic of one of the bike ramps.

Eventually comes out at Lynn headwaters, with a nice view of Lynn creek from the Varley trail on the way back to bus.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Baden Powell - Part 2

Baden Powell Trail - Cypress Mountain to Grouse Mountain (Cleveland Dam)

I really outsmarted myself on this one. I didn't plan this or think about this beforehand (not sure why), but this is all downhill. Nice. Start at the top of Cypress and end up at the neighbourhoods on the way up to Grouse mountain. Probably about an 800 metre loss of altitude. That's why it was so hard going the other way the last time I did this leg.



Cross country trail in the summer
The trail starts close to Hollyburn lodge, and takes a nice run part way up Hollyburn mountain where it joins the cross country ski trails. It's a bit strange, as you could probably start at the cross country parking lot, but that would be cheating.

It's funny walking the cross country trails that we skied so many times with the kids when they were young. The hills look so small. They seemed so much bigger then.













After leaving the Cypress area, stopped off to see a few lakes just off the trail: West lake, and Blue Gentian lake (I loved the name, but the lake didn't quite live up to it).

Blue Gentian lake
West lake. Sign for a different season.





















After the lakes, there's a long slow descend going east. There seem to be a number of other access points to this trail. One of them being the 'Crossover Trail'. Someone has built a little bridge there using the old technique of splitting cedar into planks, rather than sawing. Good to see.



Not too far from here, the trail joins with the Cross Canada Trail, and pretty much follows the power lines east to Capilano Road. However, there are some interesting points. I remember the following steps from a previous hike.
On the left, from Nov 2017. On the right, this trip.





















The trail passes through what I think of as 'old second growth'. The forest is uniform, definitely not the mixed bag you'll find in an untouched forest, with what look like 80-100 year old Douglas Fir. Maybe the old growth was logged 100 years ago and tree-planted not too long after?  It's an eerie feeling, almost an optical illusion when you first come across it.


Eventually the trail enters upper parts of North Vancouver, crossing paved roads, and edging along the back yards of houses, eventually ending up at Cleveland Dam.

Oct 12, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Baden Powell - Part 1

Finally finished the Baden Powell trail. This instalment was Horseshoe Bay to Cypress mountain: 12km.
(However, I decided to treat this end of round one as also the start of round 2, hence the 'Part 1')
I like this view. The leftovers from a bridge construction.

Started from Horseshoe Bay, past Whyte lake, beautiful trail, except for the boulder field (markings bad, up and to the right!), then a bit of a scramble up to Eagle Bluffs.

I had hiked to the Bluffs before (coming the other way), and couldn't find the way down the other side. Now I know why. No markings when you come out of the bush. You just have to trust that going up, finding your own path, is going to work.

Then on to Cabin Lake, via Black mountain. The lake was gorgeous, nice and clear. A bit too chilly for a dip though.



The trail down from the lake is disappointing, gravel switchbacks. Probably much nicer in winter on snow shoes. But, a nice array of mushrooms...

Hitched a ride down from Cypress (no buses!) with an Australian quad from Wollongong. They were sightseeing, so did some tour guide schtick for them. I'm sure they liked it...
Caught a bus right into Vancouver. It's always nice when the transit option uses the HOV ace and bypasses traffic, especially when it's the Lion's Gate bridge.
My phone had died (trying out new GPS trail tracking app that eviscerates the battery), and I hadn't checked in with base camp(Jane) yet, so tried to find a pay phone. No go. They are all gone. All gone...
Asked the Skytrain police about pay phones. They shook their heads. I told them why I needed to call (check in with base camp). The young lad knew immediately what I meant (must have been a hiker). He opened a compartment so I could use their private phone. Nice.
Great day: nice weather, beautiful trail, nice people jumping at the chance help.

Oct 10, 2018

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Plan B - Brandywine Mountain

Plan A was Mount John Clarke (also see John Clark), but for the second year in a row, it didn't work out. Last year it was the Squamish Valley fire that stopped us. This year it was our own folly: we got the directions wrong and when we finally figured it and got on the right road, it was washed out! Oh no. Maybe next year...


So, GR digs into his memory and suggests Brandywine Mountain as an alternative. I'd been to Brandywine falls, and didn't think it was worthy of a big effort, but fortunately this turned out to be different.

We drove out to the highway to get a signal and look it up. No problem, except it's starting to get late. We had borrowed a 4x4 for the trip to John Clarke (thanks Dragana), and so we used it to get most of the way to the upper parking lot. There's a lower lot for non 4x4s, but his adds about 5km to the hike up to the meadows, so we were glad to have the 4x4, otherwise it would have been a late night.

From here we had an easy 1 hour walk into Brandywine Meadows, arriving about 6-ish,  where we setup camp for the night.







We knew we had it pretty easy the next day (12km, 6 hour hike), so enjoyed the beautiful, quiet night in the meadows. We watched the big dipper set in the crook between the mountains, and the moon set, casting a moving shadow up the slopes. We were the only ones in the middle of the meadow (saw some others the next day that were camped at the north end).

After a leisurely breakfast we packed up, hid the big packs, donned the day packs and set off at about 11am. Talk about lazy hiking.












We followed the stream north through the meadows, then sloped up the rise to the west. There seems to be more than one way to get there (sort of a choose your own adventure), but we sort of followed the 'general consensus' route, although if you keep things in perspective, you can't go wrong with the route.









Looking back on the Brandywine meadows. GR emerges from the crevice. Black Tusk way in the background.













There's a real mixture: nice scrambles, boulder fields, narrow crevices, scree fields, but nothing too challenging. You can really see the effects of glaciers throughout this entire area.





We managed to mostly stay off the snow fields, but used them as shortcuts a few times. This was probably because it was late in the year (Sept). Other trip reports mention and lot more time on snow.  There's a few false peeks before you reach Brandywine peak. Maybe we didn't need to climb them, but that's the way we went.








The peak is old clattered rock, very small, a real peak. No real place to hangout right on top, so we took our top-of-the-world lunch break in a lee a few feet down from the peak facing NW.

Some of the guide books say this peak is the best bang for your buck for views(effort expended vs views experienced), and I would tend to agree. Beautiful 360 view. See another TR report below for some great hi definition pics from the peak.










On the way down, I choose a different route. As mentioned, there seem to be a number of routes to top. This one was probably more direct, but much steeper and more loose scree (yuk). Met up with GR about half way down and continued down the long gradual slope to the meadow.

Walked past a number of tents setup at the north end, then found our packs and down to the Jeep.

3 hours - meadows to peak. 2 hours - peak to meadows. 1 hour meadows to car. Nice...

All in all an great experience. John Clarke still awaits, but we'll take Plan B for now.

Addendum:
Brave or ???. While collecting our packs (about 5pm) in the meadow, we met a couple who were just hiking through. They were planning on peaking and returning to the car the same day (it took us 3 hours to the peak from were we met them). They were much younger and faster than us, but that still would mean peaking at dusk, descending to the meadows as it gets dark, and full darkness back to the vehicle. Yikes! I try not to give advice in these situations, but managed to get out that I wouldn't be doing that!



General Directions
http://www.trailpeak.com/trail-Brandywine-Mountain-near-Whistler-BC-527

Great pics from the top from another TR: http://forums.clubtread.com/27-british-columbia/58257-brandywine-mtn-june-7-2015-a.html

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Somewhere in America

Started thinking this morning about a number of things: reading about the the Trump mess in the US and the palpable increase in hate this has spawned.

The vileness of the campaign rallies have crossed a line. How can the people who have been chanting 'Lock Her Up' (and Trump labeling Hillary as a criminal), accept her as their President in November?

The long-standing tradition of respect for the opponent as a good citizen offering a different vision is out the door. This is a long way from Al Gore stepping aside and putting support behind 'W' after the Florida hanging chad fiasco.

And then my mind went to another topic: music. Reading Tim Falconer's 'Bad Singer', about a clinically bad singer (him) who is still emotionally affected by music and trying to understand why.

I've never been one to emphasis the emotional effect of music, I'm more of a shut-up-and-play guy, but with these two topics in my mind, I was somehow drawn back to a song by 'Was, Not Was' called 'Somewhere in a America'.

I dug out my LP and played it. It's such a great song. It does what a good pop song should do: captures the spirit and emotion of the times and reflects it back in an artistic rendering that has an emotional effect. I felt better after listening to it.

The musician in me can de-construct the song with respect to tonality, rhythm, timbre (harmon-muted trumpet solo), which still doesn't explain the emotional effect: both melancholy and hope.

The lyrics are in reference to the Reagan era('no show-biz beginners, making global decisions'), which seems like 'Leave it to Beaver' land now with Trump lurking, but apply even more so now.

 It also helps to know that Somewhere in America, there are still people thinking like this. Have a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PGV1Xofhcg
   

Somewhere in America

Started thinking this morning about a number of things: reading about the the Trump mess in the US and the palpable increase in hate this has spawned.

The vileness of the campaign rallies have crossed a line. How can the people who have been chanting 'Lock Her Up' (and Trump labeling Hillary as a criminal), accept her as their President in November?

The long-standing tradition of respect for the opponent as a good citizen offering a different vision is out the door. This is a long way from Al Gore stepping aside and putting support behind 'W' after the Florida hanging chad fiasco.

And then my mind went to another topic: music. Reading Tim Falconer's 'Bad Singer', about a clinically bad singer (him) who is still emotionally affected by music and trying to understand why.

I've never been one to emphasis the emotional effect of music, I'm more of a shut-up-and-play guy, but with these two topics in my mind, I was somehow drawn back to a song by 'Was, Not Was' called 'Somewhere in a America'.

I dug out my LP and played it. It's such a great song. It does what a good pop song should do: captures the spirit and emotion of the times and reflects it back in an artistic rendering that has an emotional effect. I felt better after listening to it.

The musician in me can de-construct the song with respect to tonality, rhythm, timbre (harmon-muted trumpet solo), which still doesn't explain the emotional effect: both melancholy and hope.

The lyrics are in reference to the Reagan era('no show-biz beginners, making global decisions'), which seems like 'Leave it to Beaver' land now with Trump lurking, but apply even more so now.

 It also helps to know that Somewhere in America, there are still people thinking like this. Have a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PGV1Xofhcg
   

Monday, August 04, 2014

Double Trouble - HSCT + Hanover Mtn.

GR and I decided to do a double whammy this year: Howe Sound Crest Trail plus Hanover Mountain.I had always wanted to do the HSCT and Hanover is the last of the Howe Sound mountains for GR to bag. So, game on.

Day 1 - Porteau cove to Brunswick Lake.
Got dropped off at Porteau cove at 10am. Hiked up the gravel road and trail and arrived at Deek's lake around 1:30pm. Had a nice cold swim and relax before moving on.


Left Deek's around 3:15, nice walk up the creek, past Hanover lake, then on to Brunswick arriving at 5:15pm. The hut is a couple of hundred meters above the lake, with a beautiful view of Brunswick lake to the east. GR stayed in the hut, I set up my tent. Had the place to ourselves. Beautiful night watching Brunswick lake change through a range of blues, darkening as the night went on.
Hut and the Pup
Brunswick Lake - nice place for a beer.

Day 2 - Hanover Mountain.
Left camp at 8:45. Hiked 30 minutes up the trail to the offshoot to Hanover. Left the main backpacks and started up towards Hanover. Not much of a trail, hard to follow. Up the scree field to the twin chutes. Lots of talk on the web about which one to take. Big chock in the right, so GR decided on the left. Lots of challenges up this chute, a few ropes to help a long the way. Arrived at the top at 12:15.

Left and Right chutes - we went left.

Top of Hanover. Brunswick mountains from the north.
Back at the packs at 1:45, rest stop, then on to Magnesium Meadows hut by 4:45.   

Met a couple on the way to the meadows, then camped beside them. They told us where the water was, a small questionable tarn, but GR found a stream a bit to the north of the hut. Going south, Magnesium Meadows is the last water. We found this out from a number of people hiking through. Stock up here if going south.

Nice view looking west, especially of Mount Harvy. Starting here, civilization starts to encroach. Big change from Brunswick mountain hut. Can see the lights of Horseshoe Bay and Gibsons from the ledge overlooking the meadows.

Day 3 - Magnesium Meadows - The Lions - Cypress.
Left camp at 9:00, just like punching a clock... Long hard day of up and downs, arriving at Cypress parking lot at 7:30pm.

First, across the Harvey saddle, around David, and on to nice climb up James peak. Nice place to camp on the col between David and James, but, no water. Red shale at the top, but eventually found the trail down, then up again to Thomas. The twin peaks of Thomas have a rope and chain to help. Good idea. Straight down on the south side.
GR looking straight down. Lions in the background.

Down again then up (seems to be the theme of the day) to the Lions. Arrived north side of the Lions at 12:15, followed the trail through the twin peaks, then up the south side of the west Lion, a nice little bit of cliff hanging on the way.

West Lion from in between.
Arrived at the north peak of Unnecesary mountain at 1:15 for lunch.

Left again at 2:15. Unnecessary goes on forever, up and down at least 3 times. Completely unnecessary. Finally a long descent. The notes about the HSCT trail say this descent (ascent if going north) is 200 metres. It's a lot more than that. From there on out, it's a piece of cake. Gentle climb up to St. Marks peak by 5:30. Last half of the trail back to Cypress is gravel, and it must be new route, as it bypasses Strachan Meadows. Arrived at the lodge at 7:30pm.

Thanks to the kids for pick up and drop off.


Addendums:
Route: The recommended route is from south to north, ending at Porteau Cove. The rationale is the climb up from Porteau to Deeks Lake. But it seems to me the climb up Unnecessary is just as bad (or maybe I was just tired).  We did the opposite. Up from Porteau. The main purpose of this was to get a good start for Hanover. It was the perfect setup. Day one a 5 hour climb, then rest up for the push to Hanover. Nice.

People: Most of the people we met on the trail were experienced. Good to see people out there that know this incredible trail. A few cases of people who were completely out of their depth, but didn't know it.

The first was couple of guys who were planning on walking the whole way through (29km) in one day. When we saw them just north of the Lions, one was already looking shaky in running shoes. Yikes.

Another was a group of 6 on Unnecessary mountain. They were planning on making Magnesium Meadows (another 5-6 hours), but from what I could tell, it didn't look good. Slow moving and no water treatment gear. They asked GR if there was a water pump at Magnesium... I gave them 8 of my chlorine tablets, which would only be good if they got that far.

The last group were 3 smart young guys. Met them on the north side of St. Marks. They were planning on going to the Lions but had already finished their water. I guess I had already encountered the previous two groups where I had bit my tongue, so this time I said in my best soccer-coach voice: "No you're not". Maybe they recognized the way I said it, or my follow-up about times, but they said: "Yeah, thanks man, I guess we're not", happily turned around and went back. The smartest ones are those that turn back.

 The trail: This is an incredible trail. Whatever group had the vision to make this happen, thanks. It's not for the faint of heart, lots of exposed sections. And remember it is a 'crest' trail. It crests everything in its path.

Mountain names: I don't know much about how mountains get named, but it seems to be with a sense of humour. In this case, we have peaks called Mark, Thomas, James, and David, all good Christian names, thrown in with The Lions. Hmmm...

Links:
Good overview of the trail
Official BC Parks map
BC Parks trail description



Sunday, July 06, 2014

ghost in the machine

We finally got around to switching our Shaw cable service from analog to digital. I know, I know, it took a long time, but one of the reasons I procrastinated as long as I did was because of the FM radio stations that are bundled with the analog service, specifically KPLU, the NPR jazz station from Seattle hosted at Pacific Lutheran University.

Basically, our FM dial has been stuck on KPLU for the past 15 years. There's nothing else like it. This is the way a jazz station is supposed to be. I've grown accustomed to all the great programming over the years.

Marion McPartland's 'Piano Jazz' was a constant source of surprise and wonderment. I remember many times stopping in mid-stride in the kitchen as Marion and her guest went on another musical escapade. Think of it, what a great premise for a show: two musicians get together and talk and play live on the radio. Brilliant, and brilliant it was.

I must admit, Ken Wiley's Sunday afternoon 'The Art of Jazz' was lost on me until I visited New Orleans and saw the musical heritage of jazz for myself. From then on, I listened to it with a new ear and appreciation.

As well as: Saturday and Sunday nights All Blues, 'Stardate' updates, Car Talk-before they retired, great jazz programming anytime you turn on the radio - very seldom hearing a repeat, NPR news.

But, that's just the background: here's the real story.

After we had been successfully switched to analog to digital, I just thought I would try KPLU on the stereo. To my surprise it worked, and I went back into the kitchen listening to Joshua Redman. After a while I started to think the song was going on a bit long, so started listening a bit more closely. The song was in a loop, repeating itself about every 30 seconds.

I came back the next day to check, and we seemed to have regained KPLU. There was news on, but I didn't listen that closely. Next day and ever since, it's back to looping. It's now stuck on 30 seconds of the same song, don't know who (Not Joshua Redman and Shazam doesn't do well with jazz).

I'm calling this the KPLU 'Ghost in the Machine'; an echo of a time past. Snippets spinning out from the analog, bleeding inconsistently into the digital world. A shadow, an echo, no real explanation. I think all the William Gibson books I've read has helped in this interpretation...

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