This is really two trips added together – one of which was a trail run last night, the other was really just a camera walk – around the trails and lakes near Hollyburn Lodge at First Lake. I didn’t really plan a route, it was just an ad-hoc “let’s walk up here” kind of thing. The trail run followed most of the route of the shorter Five Peaks route (the Sport Course), though I turned round before I lost all the elevation I would need to regain (I’m not that good a runner yet :-) Today I hoofed it up the Powerline trail to the warming hut before following Baden-Powell back down to Hollyburn Lodge and then out to the overnight parking lot.
The trails themselves were nice and dry and in as good a condition as any North Shore trail. Since some of them are cross-country ski trails, I found myself spending more time in the sunshine than I expected, and it was surprisingly hot. This was the first time I travelled on some of the trails that passed by the various cabins. I was really surprised to see so many hidden among the trees, and in use too. Some fallen trees had been sawn into planks, someone was chopping firewood and the smell of woodsmoke filtered through the forest.
The bugs were annoying in the evening – the black flies and mosquitoes seemed to be hungry and were quite direct: no buzzing around your ear first, they’re straight in for the blood! I picked up a couple of bites. However, I didn’t notice any this afternoon so it must have been a dusk thing.
The best thing of all was that I encountered very few people on the trails, so it was really peaceful. It was hard to believe the city is only a few minutes away, and it felt like a very different place compared with the crowds in winter.
OK that was the second best thing – the best thing was the number of flowers in bloom :-) Lots of Queen’s Cup and bunchberry, quite a few patches of violets (the violet-coloured kind, not the yellow ones) where it’s damp, a few green bog orchids, partridgefoot, even some fresh coralroot and the odd purple daisy. Second Lake has lots of deer cabbage and a new flower for me: northern star flower. And there’s still more Queen’s Cup to come. Even better was that all those forest flowers for which I normally have a hard time keeping the camera steady were out in bright sunshine making it easy to get some of the best photos of these flowers that I’ve ever taken. That made me very happy, and glad to have wandered these trails.
It’s really quite lovely to walk these trails now and I should remember to do so again next year.
Total distance: 8 km
Total elevation gain: 200 m
Photos on Flickr