All posts filed under: Canada

Hiking Al’s Habrich Trail in Squamish, British Columbia (PHOTOS)

Location: Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish Distance: 4.2 km one-way; 8.4 round-trip Trail type: Out-and-back Difficulty: Moderate Elevation gain: 354 m If this summer had a theme, it’d be “Sea to Sky”. Greg and I have spent a few weekends now, tracing the trails through the Pemberton Valley and Coast Mountains. Al’s Habrich Trail has been on my radar for a while. I had attempted it with a friend last September, though we arrived atop the gondola a little late in the day. Unsure, and apprehensive about the 5-hour duration and “challenging” designation, we opted to stick to the trails skirting Summit Lodge. What a disappointment. You could push a shopping cart along these tourist-laden pathways. Chatting with the lift attendant on the way down, he admitted that the conservative signage is warranted because the site is promoted as a cruise ship excursion. Damn. Al’s Habrich Trail This half-day excursion begins with a scenic 10-12 minute gondola ride. Exiting the lodge, hikers walk past the “dog parking area”, down a hill, past some mechanical equipment and a …

The Snowshoe Grind Isn’t the Hell-Hath-Frozen-Over Workout It Sounds Like

I had seen the Snowshoe Grind advertised on Grouse Mountain’s website. My immediate reaction was, “As if hiking the Grouse Grind isn’t torture enough.” Now, factor in the awkwardness of snowshoes. Sounds. Awful. Well, I’m here to debunk the Snowshoe Grind myth because my gal pal and I unintentionally did the damn thing last Saturday. And I was wrong. It isn’t the hell-hath-frozen-over workout it sounds like. It was awesome and it made me so grateful to live in Vancouver. First, the Snowshoe Grind is completely independent of the Grouse Grind. The trailhead starts atop the gondola, near the ice rink. Second, where the Grouse Grind is a 2.9 km, one-way trail, the Snowshoe Grind is 4.3 kilometres out-and-back. It starts as a groomed path, which keeps up for maybe a quarter of the way. Walking this bit, you’ll wonder whether you should have bothered with snowshoes at all. Soon enough, the trail narrows and leads grinders uphill through a pretty forest. Snow falls from overburdened tree boughs. The sunshine illuminates the diamond dust that blankets …

2 Girls Try (and Fail) to Find Barkerville’s Cheeky Past

How in the world did we end up in Barkerville? I was heading from Smithers to Vancouver and needed a place to spend the night to break up an otherwise 14-hour drive. Having never been to B.C.’s famed gold rush town – Barkerville – I figured it would elevate the task from arduous drive to touristic road trip. Lucky for me, my gal pal Alex had recently moved north. With Dawson Creek just a cool six hour drive to Barkerville, she hastily accepted my invitation. What is Barkerville, anyway? “Barkerville is a preserved and dynamic gold-rush town in the British Columbia interior. Each summer, its rich history during the Cariboo Gold Rush and subsequent gold mining in the area is demonstrated for visitors from all over the world.” – TheCanadianEncyclopedia.ca Prior to arriving, we knew little of Billy Barker’s boom town. All we knew was that we’re apt to geek out over B.C. history – like that time we hit up the Royal BC Museum exhibit, Gold Rush! – so this seemed right up our alley. And surely, a gold rush ghost town …

Hiking to Eagle Bluffs Viewpoint in Cypress Provincial Park, B.C.

Location: Cypress Provincial Park Park here: 6000 Cypress Bowl Road, Vancouver Hike Distance: 8-9 kilometres (round trip) Hike Duration: 3-4 hours (10:30 start/2:30 finish, 20-30 minutes at Eagle Bluffs) Difficulty: Intermediate What makes it intermediate? A 1.8 km uphill start Park website: env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/cypress Eagle Bluffs has become a very popular hike because the viewpoint offers unobstructed views of Vancouver, Georgia Straight, West Vancouver, Howe Sound, Bowen Island and Gibsons. I’ve been meaning to hike Eagle Bluffs for some time now, but when I first attempted it April 30th the trail was still too snowed in for my runners. I ditched and headed for Dog Mountain in Mount Seymour Provincial Park. Today of course, was a bright blue August Day. Only thing was, I didn’t have anyone to go with. Then I thought about the hundreds (thousands?) of people who would be hiking to Eagle Bluffs. So off I went. Finding the Trailhead After exiting Highway 1 to Cypress Provincial Park, drive until the road ends at Cypress Ski Area. Along the way you’ll surely see cyclists making the …