2014: Year in Review

Another year over, a new year to look forward to. This year we were happy to make it to a few peaks that have been on our radar for a while now (Brunswick, Crown and Brandywine in particular), and explore Strathcona provincial park on Vancouver Island, which has been on our list ever since we first visited in 2005. We didn’t seem to get out backpacking as much as we would have liked, but our tropical vacation in Hawaii is partly responsible for that. I mean, really – who goes to the tropics in summer? :-) However, I wouldn’t change what we did as we had a great time exploring the Big Island and Kauai. This year we also finally returned to the Mt Baker area, albeit for only one trip, and enjoyed a simple overnight trip to Lake Ann. I’m always happy to see glacier lilies, but after the disappointment of seeing very few in Blowdown Pass I was very happy to find a few small meadows decorated in yellow in Garibaldi provincial park.

After our eye-popping trips to Lake O’Hara, Glacier NP and Athelney Pass in 2013, we weren’t sure if we’d do any hikes that were anywhere near as spectacular. I think we found a few though, and we certainly enjoyed everything we did. Our top five highlights for the year are:

  1. Mauna Loa: hiking up to the summit of a peak we’d eyed from afar on many occasions was a dream come true, even if we didn’t quite make the summit itself;
  2. Brandywine Mountain: one of the easiest to reach (relatively speaking…) and yet most spectacular summits we’ve ever stood on, I could make an annual trip here and never tire of it;
  3. Castlecrag Circuit: the dark horse, this hike surprised us with its amazing variety and challenges along the way;
  4. Crown Mountain: the real peak of Vancouver, we can see the summit from our living room so it was satisfying to finally sit on its summit;
  5. North View & Maze Loop trail (Joshua Tree NP): another surprise, hiking in the desert in the spring is a riot of colour, and a complete contrast from the dark greens of Vancouver.

So what does 2015 have in store for us? We missed seeing the Rockies this year so we might have to arrange a trip out that way. I still have unfinished business with Golden Ears and Needle Peak, and we still have plenty of reasons to return to the North Cascades. You can be sure I’ll be out looking for glacier lilies as the snow melts!

Brunswick Mountain, 10 Aug 2014

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