Well we always said we’d leave this trail for a rainy day… Sure enough, the forecast said rain and for once they were not wrong. We met up with Dawn and took advantage of having access to two cars to do this one-way trail. We parked our car at the base of Grouse Mountain and drove over to Lynn Headwaters park to begin the hike. The rain was steady but not heavy.
I had done a good portion of this trail a couple of years ago, also on a rainy day. We set off up the staircase into the trees, pausing briefly for breath at the top before following the distinctive orange triangles with the blue fleur-de-lys logo. There isn’t much to say about the first part, especially in the rain :-) It starts off in pleasant, if muddy, open second-growth forest, crosses the old Grouse Mountain Highway before heading into mixed desolate and recovering second-growth.
The rain kept us company but the trail was surprisingly un-muddy given the wet spring we’d had. We chatted and hiked at a comfortable pace, not really taking much notice of the time or landmarks. We just passed the time and kept our legs moving. After probably a couple of hours we reached Mosquito Creek, the turnaround point for my 2008 trip. We stopped before the descent to the creek at a slightly more open area, ostensibly with a view of Stanley Park and the city…. We ate a quick lunch here before heading down to the creek.
By now it had actually stopped raining and we spent a few minutes following the trail up to the old dam. And what do you know? The sun even showed its face for a bit! We hurried on over the creek as we all badly needed warming up again. A brief stint of uphill work got the blood flowing again. We paused at the top where we encountered a driveway for a house at the end of the road. It looked like there was enough room to park a couple of cars and later I found that one of the hikes in 103 Hikes actually does use this spot as its trailhead.
The second `half’ of the hike we had done back in 2005 following the Mosquito Creek cascades hike in Dawn Hanna’s book. If we’d remembered the trail at all we probably wouldn’t have bothered with this section…. Most of it is in the gloomy second-growth forest: dark, very little greenery. The only thing to brighten this stretch was a gorgeous patch of pine sap, about a dozen or so of the little saprophytes were poking their way up through the carpet of needles. One of the few good things to come from hiking through such woodland.
Further on we followed the braided trail over the two branches of Mackay Creek, two narrow ravines washed clean of any soil and vegetation. Looking at the map and the satellite imagery I realized that the scars I can see from our apartment correspond to the slide areas on Mackay Creek, further up the mountain from where we crossed. It’s always nice to piece together such info.
More desolate forest, followed by a small patch of more open, greener forest and we soon reached the base of the Grouse Grind. There were warning signs everywhere saying that the trail was closed due to maintenance. I remember they were working on it when we hiked up last August on Adib’s birthday. Of course, that didn’t stop those poor addicts who simply have to hike the Grind…
As the Grind was officially closed, we had to take a side-trail out to the parking lot, which dropped steeply down along the fence. Then it was a matter of a few yards back to the car and our next destination: the Bakehouse in Edgemont Village for coffee and a pumpkin ginger muffin! A great way to end a rainy-day hike.
Distance: 10 km
Elevation gain: 350 m
Photos on Flickr