Most Loopers have now had their first vaccination shot, but Covid numbers in BC are still relatively high, so people opted to keep their walking groups small again: six or fewer, and to stay (generally speaking) within their local zones. One core Looper had to reluctantly sit out this month’s walk, due to an uncooperative body part; we look forward to her reimposing her will upon this rogue extremity very soon.
There was no photography theme this month, but keen observers will note that shots of water, and of trees (or other greenery) continue to be popular. As has become traditional, quite a few Loopers popped into the post-walk Zoom session, to visit, and to share trail tales. I’ll use the screenshot below to order the illustrated walk reports which describe this month’s outings.
This month marks an expansion of the Looper brand, to Vancouver Island — and a strong possibility that Loopers will go international very soon! See the final walk report in this blog posting for more details on these exciting developments.
Jon & Liz, Don, Bruce & Janet K, Adrienne: Two Creeks and a River
Jon led a group of Loopers on a modified version of the North Van two creek hike we did last August. We started next to Thomas Haas on Harbourside Drive and headed north up MacKay Creek. Upon meeting 15th Street we walked west to Pemberton and then took the Bowser Trail across to the Capilano River. After a brief hike up the river we ascended some stairs and recrossed Capilano Road. We then headed north, taking a tunnel under the freeway, and made our way to the west end of Murdo Frazer Park.
Heading East through the park, we passed the cottage that has featured in a number of movies and TV series. It is apparently currently closed for renovations. We paused to admire the duck pond which, unlike the previous visit, featured actual ducks as well as a group of turtles sunning themselves on a log. After leaving the park we faced another flight of steps as we made our way up and through Edgemont Village, passing along the way a large driftwood bear perched on the roof of a carport.
Shortly after leaving Edgemont Village we arrived in Upper MacKay Creek Park. After pausing to examine an open-air Covid cottage by the creek we stopped for a lunch break by a bridge. After our break we faced a final somewhat intimidating flight of stairs up to Sunnycrest Drive. From there we crossed over to Mosquito Creek and followed it down to Marine Drive.
Forced to navigate past construction on the Mosquito Creek bridge on Marine Drive we passed a kinetic sculpture of salmon swimming upstream. Two of the fish were not moving so Bruce, using his trusty walking pole and with an assist from Don, effected repair. We carried on, happy that all fish were now back in motion. After the detour we rejoined Mosquito Creek and continued back to the starting point. Total distance for the day was about 12.5 km.
Larrie, Heather and Kim
Sunday’s walk for me included Heather and Kim, starting with a drive on Indian River Road. Parking where the Baden Powell Trail crosses. We headed down hill toward Quarry Rock ignoring the closed signs and spent a few minutes on the rock with only a few people there, although still early at 9:30. Rather than continue along the Baden Powell, some of us know another trail called Rain Dancer by some, which is nicer and quieter, crossing six streams and through forest, and ran into Dave near the end.
Carol & Sandy, Julie & Alan
Alan, Julie, Sandy and Carol set off from Cariboo Place road along the Central Valley Greenway. It was a dappled sunlight walk along the Brunette River, where we marvelled at flora, rushing river, and interesting graffiti on some of the cement structures along the way.
We crossed Columbia St, went through Hume Park and into Sapperton – where we met gardening and dog-walking locals. We guessed our way up past the cemetery and into the ravine that separates the old BC Pen land from the Victoria Park area, where Woodlands institution once was. Our destination was the Woodlands Memorial garden, a peaceful place that has gravestones and markers for residents of Woodlands and Riverview who had died. We sort of “looped” as we returned along Columbia to the Greenway, and then back to the car along the Brunette River.
So thankful to be able to be outside walking with others on our 12k adventure.
I headed out from home on one of my favourite loops: to the Seymour River and back. About 10 minutes in, I ran into another group of Loopers (Larrie, Heather and friend) and had a short chat. Before I could get moving again, a family we know from sports came by and we caught up on the last year and a bit.
Back to hiking, I headed west on the Baden Powell, but switched to some biking trails to come out at the Seymour River at the (not so) new bridge at Twin Bridges. I crossed, headed up toward the Rice Lake parking lot, but cut off to the Richard Juryn Trail about halfway up, stopping for a snack at the lookout. I reconnected with the Baden Powell and followed it east to Bridle Path, and then followed that trail to the foot of Mount Seymour (for the last social catch-up of the day, with another sports parent) and then home.
A great day to be out hiking, although slightly busy on the better known trails. The quiet of the woods was punctuated by bird calls and the occasional “Whoop whoop” and “Yahoo” of mountain bikers in the distance.
Jean & Michael, Fred & Joette, Lise & Chris
This month’s walk was more of an urban stroll, the six of us meeting near the gazebo in the rose garden of Queens Park, New Westminster, where we took the traditional Starting Selfie, before starting our stroll through the quiet streets nearby. The neighborhood is rich with heritage homes, many of which bear placards giving the date of construction, and the name of their original owners. Michael used an online “Virtual Tour” of the heritage homes to learn certain key facts about each listed home, and prizes were offered (but, alas, not awarded) to the person who could come closest to the date of construction. Many of the trees along the streets were in blossom, and Joette used an app to try and learn the Latin names for each (with moderate success). Spotting a local butcher shop, Fred popped in to pick up some beef jerky for later.
Midway through our stroll, Joette offered to take us on a tour of a heritage home undergoing renovation, for which she had done designs. The house in question was built in (I think) 1904, and the renovations are quite significant in scope (as photographs of the interior show).
After the tour, we strolled back to Queens Park, where we had the First Picnic of the Year, featuring (among other goodies): cheeses, rhubarb muffins, cheddar and onion scones, strawberries, dolmades and (of course) beef jerky.
Carolyn, Maurice & Anne
The Whip-Poor-Will/Sandy Cove Trail in Harrison Hot Springs is where to go to experience fresh lake air, sun sparkling on water, birds chirping their springtime, happy chatter and see the vibrant new green glowing in the fern laced forest. Three lively Loopers (Anne, Maurice and Carolyn) set out (with a lakeside picnic lunch in mind) on a beautiful spring morning.
The trail is not long but it has a lot of bang for the short buck! Starting out along the lakeshore in front of the Harrison Resort Hotel one gazes up the lake to a view of the scenic, snow-capped Breckenridge Range. And behind you is the Trail mascot.
Once past the historical, original pool site there is a rocky trail up from the lakeside to head inland. The elevation gain does require a little bit of hand over hand climbing in a few places. Once past that, town noises disappear and it becomes a quiet meander through a beautiful rainforest and an open fern glen on the way to the Harrison River. Once at the river, the big rocks are an enticing place to sit in the sun and enjoy the view down the Harrison River.
From there the trail narrows heading north and scrambles above the river at the base of a giant rock wall draped in brilliant green moss as it wends around massive old moss-greened log stumps and blow downs. Soon, one arrives at the start of the Harrison River and a viewpoint of its brilliant, deep blue-green hue, then onto the Whip-Poor-Will Point and light beacon.
The Loopers took in the stunning lake view while relaxing on a strategically placed bench. It was a perfect spot for a leisurely lunch.
From there the trail continues on its loop back through picturesque woodland, across the aptly named Sandy Cove (which could be a great place to nap in the sun), past shady, cool copper-coloured ponds hidden in dense, verdant undergrowth. It meets at a junction and joins the original trail back down the rocky slope to the lakeshore.
The entire walk-about takes approximately three hours at a leisurely pace to take in all the views, photo ops, plant identification, etc. as well as a picnic. Make the 4.5 km walk longer by continuing back east, past the hotel, to the far east end of the Lagoon and walk back around the lagoon for some more panoramic vistas.
Karina & Penny
Since I’m currently staying on Vancouver Island, I walked with Penny Vanson this month. We did 3 walks with starting selfies for each walk and a toast to our success at the end of the day. 😎🥂
Walk 1 was in the Judges Row area of Qualicum beach. This was a neighbourhood walk including steps down to the beach, along Judges Row and along the beach. Walk 2 was at Little Qualicum River Fish Hatchery. This was a very peaceful walk through the woods and along the river, not many people to be seen here.
The purpose of Walk 3 was to see Mt. Arrowsmith, although by the time we got there the clouds had rolled in so the view was not as spectacular as we’d hoped. All-in-all we did about 13,500 steps.
Finally, an update on my move… After spending more weeks than anticipated to finalize my affairs in Canada, I’ve booked my flight to the Netherlands! This took a bit of doing and will require 2 well-timed pre-departure Covid tests but I’m all set to depart on Saturday, May 29th. I think Jos and I will be in quarantine for the June walk, unless we can book and get a negative Covid test after 5 days in quarantine per the Netherlands rules. I’ll keep you posted!