Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Morning Hike On Brunswick Mountain

I took a bit of an unintentional break from hiking for a little while there, and then all of a sudden I got to go on five different hikes in a few week's span! HOOZAH for fitness and fun at the same time! But seriously - my muscles knew I'd taken a break from uphill hiking... my calves/hamstrings were SO SORE after these hikes. It was a good incentive for me to get back to a good workout routine - which I have, by the way ;)

One of those aforementioned hikes was a quickie but a goodie - only about 2 hours total - up some of Brunswick Mountain in Lion's Bay.

Brunswick Mountain is a pretty steep hike in Cypress Provincial Park and is the highest peak in the North Shore Mountains.

At the tail end of December, David and I bopped out of Vancouver and up into Lion's Bay - a village on the Sea-to-Sky Highway between West Vancouver and Squamish:

Driving from Vancouver to Lion's Bay to hike Brunswick Mountain

We didn't bring crampons or snowshoes - on purpose. It was sort of a "We'll take our chances" type of deal, knowing that we'd do what we could and turn around if we found ourselves in any icy conditions for which we weren't prepared.

We parked at the trailhead, booted up, and began our hike up a steep logging road. It was much steeper than a typical trailhead, so I was sweating within minutes and had to stop to layer down. I actually had to stop and layer down a couple more times as we wound our way up the dirt road - until I was down to a tank top!

Eventually we came to a fork where the logging road took a right-hand turn towards The Lions, and a wooded trail continued straight ahead. Here we jumped onto the wooded trail to head towards Brunswick Mountain. I'm always happy to be in the woods when we're hiking - I definitely prefer it over hiking a logging road.

Hiking towards Brunswick Mountain in Lion's Bay, BC
Not long after we began on this wooded trail, we had to cross a little creek... 

Crossing Magnesia Creek on the trail towards Brunswick Mountain

It was a bit deeper than it looks in these pictures. I like to take extreme caution when crossing even small rivers, because I've made the mistake of falling knee-deep into a cold river before and #LEMMETELLYA it's a quick way to ruin the rest of your hike.

Crossing Magnesia Creek on the trail towards Brunswick Mountain

Here was the view looking up the mountain from the creek:

Magnesia Creek on the trail towards Brunswick Mountain
.  bit of a mangled mess!  .
You might think that all woods around here look the same, but they don't really. These woods were particularly interesting because if you looked through the trees, it looked like a disaster zone - countless trees were knocked down in every direction. These pictures don't do it justice...

Hiking through the woods towards Brunswick Mountain

Fallen trees in dense woods as we hike towards Brunswick Mountain

Fallen trees in dense woods as we hike towards Brunswick Mountain

There were also lots of these interesting overhangs above us on the trail, where land has eroded to expose tons of beautiful roots:

Exposed roots on a woodsy hike

The higher we walked, the more we encountered patches of snow until eventually we were walking over a completely snow-covered trail beneath us:

Trail towards Brunswick Mountain

A frozen rain drop on a branch in the woods.
.  frozen droplet  .

At first the snow wasn't really a big issue for us because the trail wasn't so steep that we were having any trouble without crampons. But just after a particularly steep portion turned into a flattened out field with a nice (albeit foggy) view of Howe Sound below...

Howe Sound from Brunswick Mountain

Foggy pictures of Howe Sound from Brunswick Mountain

View of mountains from Brunswick Mountain

View of Howe Sound and islands from Brunswick Mountain

View of foggy Howe Sound and islands from Brunswick Mountain

... the terrain turned steeper, narrower, rockier... and icier! Even if we'd successfully make it UP further, it would have been a real biatch getting back down. So we conceded that we'd probably come as far as we could, and we turned around.

We were able to sit on a log in that field to enjoy the Subway lunch that we'd packed, as well as some deliciously warming peppermint tea and a Mars bar. Can't go hiking without chocolate, I always say.

Tree rings on Brunswick Mountain in BC
.  ringseses  .

I really liked how close this hike was to Vancouver, compared to so many other hikes we've done. Sometimes Squamish seems foreverrrrrr away, so Lion's Bay was nothing compared to that drive.

This was certainly not the most involved or exciting hike that I've done since moving to Vancouver, but it was challenging in that it was quite steep. If we'd made it further along, we would have encountered a section where we'd have to do some scrambling before reaching the summit... which would have been cool. Maybe another time when we've got crampons!

Have you gone on any cool hikes lately?

Do you know what tomorrow is??? You'll have to check back tomorrow to find out!

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  1. those foggy view pics are amazing. you always make me want to dig out my hiking boots!

  2. Okay, yes, my jealousy meter is at a full 100%. haha!


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