This was supposed to be a fabulous snowshoe trip up to the first peak of Mt Seymour in fresh soft snow. Trouble is, the access road looked dodgy at 9am and none of us felt confident to proceed. The road up wasn’t really the problem, though it was a bit snowy despite the recent passage of the snowplough. No, the problem was the coming snowstorm which seemed to be capable of dropping a fair bit of new snow onto the road, and thus making it hard for us to get down again. A quick discussion between the drivers had us all agreed that it looked like we should opt for Plan B instead (hammered out over hot drinks in the Lazy Bay Cafe).
So Plan B it was: time to head for Deep Cove. We parked the cars and leaving our snowshoes behind, the 11 of us headed off to pick up the Baden-Powell (B-P) Trail. This was the biggest group I’d hiked with for a while, so it was going to be interesting to see how many hikers I’d get chance to speak to, especially as most of them were new to me :-)
The B-P trail is one of those `boring’ trails in my mind. No views to speak of, not much variety along the trail and a ton of slippery roots and mud. One to save for a rainy day when you simply have to get out. And here we were: a rainy, well OK snowy day and nowhere else to go. It fit the bill just fine: somewhere to walk with a group of like-minded folks. About half-an-hour in is the most interesting point: an open rocky bluff with great views of Deep Cove and across Indian Arm to Diez Vistas and Eagle Ridge. Time for the first photos of the day.
Then onwards up through the next stretch of woods and out onto a road for a few hundred metres. Back into the trees and about 20 minutes later we came to the Mt Seymour access road. Which was completely snow-free. Well we could do nothing but laugh at that. And inwardly kick ourselves: the other Wanderung group heading up to Seymour would have no problems getting up or down that day. Fume. Resting here, we opted for an early lunch, making good use of the nearby picnic table. We were glad we’d brought hot soup!
After lunch we eye-balled the map and decided to continue along the B-P trail and then take a loop which headed up the mountain to another picnic area, then down to the Historic Mushroom and back again. Feeling fit, fed and in need of warming up again we set off on our extended hike. Until now most of the trail had been snow-free, which just a little in open areas. That changed as we trudged uphill and the footing became a little more slippery in places. We crossed the road again (always a little nerve-wracking) and into some very dense forest: despite the fact it was around noon, it felt like twilight among the trees it was so dark. Photography was out, which was a pity as there were some good opportunities along this stretch.
More snow on the trail as the trees thinned out and then we were at the picnic area, the highest point on our hike. Such bright daylight again! We stopped for refreshments (hot tea) and a group photograph:
As they say, it was all downhill from here, but not all plain sailing thanks to the layer of ice underneath the snow! We crossed the road again and down along a very slippery old logging road (a couple of spills here and there), until we reached the Historic Mushroom. Don’t laugh. It’s true: there really is (or rather, was) something called the Historic Mushroom. I suppose when it was new it wasn’t called `historic’. Anyway, the history is that it used to be the parking area before the road went all the way to the top. Someone built a roof for an old tree stump and that became a bulletin board. Of course, once the new access road was built there was no need for it and it fell into disrepair.
I had noticed the Historic Mushroom on one of our maps and had always wondered about it. And now I had my answer.
Turning away we headed back downhill over old corduroy logging road and back to the B-P trail. Then it was a matter of re-tracing our steps back to Deep Cove. It was cold and snowy (about an inch had built up on the cars) and what better way to end the hike than to replace all those just-burned calories in one go with a delicious fist-sized doughnut from Honey’s :-) Turned out nice then, a longer and more enjoyable hike than expected. Not bad for Plan B.
Distance: about 13 km
Elevation gain: about 500 m