A clear and sunny Thursday morning, and Maria had a 7 am meeting. So what should I do with it? I put some things in a backpack, grabbed my boots and the camera, and after dropping her off at work, I headed up to the Mt Seymour parking lot. I got there at 7.15am (via the Lazy Bay cafe) and drove to the end of the car park and picked a suitable parking spot. Not easy when you have several acres of tarmac to choose from ;-)
My first reaction when I got there was: Ah, how nice to be up in the mountains so early in the morning. My second reaction was: Holy s***, look at the swarms of blackfly! Suddenly it didn’t seem such a good idea. I braved the assault to grab my boots, which I put on inside the car. Then it was now or never: I got out of the car, locked it and began my hike. What a difference to the last time I was up here at the end of May: no snow left at all. I headed up the rocky Mt Seymour trail, talking to myself to alert any wildlife to my presence (except I probably talk too quietly). For a few minutes I entertained the thought of tackling Mt Seymour, but I’d said to Maria that I would do Dog Mountain so I thought it best to stick to that plan. Not that I expect to get lost…
I came to the turnoff for Dinkey Peak and realized that I’d never been there before. So off I went up the trail, brushing through dew-covered berry bushes and within a few minutes reached the small ladder to get onto the peak. Dinkey Peak is a nice fairly level open rocky area with pleasant views of, well, the car park :-) OK I could see other stuff too: Vancouver, Burnaby, Mt Baker and over the west, Grouse Mountain. I got out the camera to take a few photos which seemed to be the cue for the blackfly to attack! A couple of snapshots later and a hasty attempt at putting away the camera and I was ready to leave.
Funnily enough, once I was back among the trees, the flies disappeared. Happy with that, I carried on as the trail made its way over rock, root, water and mud. And snow! On the shady back side of Dinkey, I came across several snow patches including a very cute little snow bridge over the trail. A small dog could have got under the arch, but nothing bigger.
Soon I reached the junction for the trail to First Lake and turned to follow it. More rocks and roots and water. The trail is surprisingly rough, despite being relatively flat, and good footwear is essential. I reached First Lake and headed along the northern shore around to a point where the mist on the lake was back-lit by the morning sunshine. Made for a very nice photo or two. Now I was on the Dog Mountain trail proper and merrily traipsed my way through the heavenly-scented firs and hemlock forest.
The trail was much nicer than I expected with bits going up and bits going down, generally giving a pleasant little workout. Within about 15-20 minutes I came to the open rocky outcrop that marks the summit of Dog Mountain and spent a leisurely time soaking in the views. I could see Mt Garibaldi and Mamquam Mountain to the north, which I hadn’t expected. Other notable mountain views were of Cathedral (out-of-bounds in the Seymour watershed), Coliseum & Burwell, Goat Mountain and Ridge, Crown Mountain (the Pyramid and Camel), Grouse and the peaks of the Howe Sound Crest Trail: Harvey and Brunswick.
Ah, yes, it made the early start all worth it. Within a few minutes I was surrounded by a cloud of blackfly which had me wondering about my proposed breakfast stop, but it became clear that for the most part, the flies weren’t biting. So I let them buzz around, and did my best to persuade them from not flying into my ears, eyes and nose. I found my spot, made myself comfortable and savoured my Three Sisters blend coffee (from Kicking Horse Coffee Co) and a blueberry-bran muffin :-) Mmmm-mmmm. What a delicious breakfast :-)
I posed for a group shot (which I only just made it into!) and reluctantly dragged myself away back to the car. Retracing my steps, I realized I was less bothered about running into anything as my ears had become accustomed to the sounds of the forest. I made noise here and there, but mostly just enjoyed the peace and solitude. Back at First Lake I took a few more photos, mostly because I realized I didn’t know what the bridge looked it! I’d only see it covered in several feet of snow before :-) Then it was a steady wander back to the car, flower-spotting: Bunchberry in little sunny spots, Queen’s Cup on damp slopes, and Western Coralroot on the forest floor.
Before I knew it, I was back at the car, which was now surrounded by half-a-dozen others. Two and a half hours of peace and quiet: I hadn’t seen another person. Bliss.
Distance: about 7 km (book says 8 but that seems too long)
Elevation gain: about 100 m (book says none, but there’s a fair number of small ups and downs)
Photos on Flickr