Capilano Canyon, 13 Feb 2016

Opinion

This has become one of our go-to hikes for something more challenging that Stanley Park but longer than a walk around Lighthouse Park. Even in the rain it was remarkably pleasant wander – not difficult, not really even challenging but a good little leg stretcher. Alas today was just too rainy to bother getting the camera out of my pocket; we just walked up to the hatchery and back again.

Fact

The trail has definitely seen some upgrades over the past few years and is much less muddy than it used to be with some sections now a nice firm gravel surface. (Looking back on the report I wrote last year I clearly have the memory of a goldfish these days as I made exactly the same comment…) We wore runners and our feet were still dry at the end of the hike despite the rain. The side creeks were running nicely and would have made for good flowing-water shots.

We parked in the usual place under the Upper Levels highway at the end of Keith Road.

Our only wildlife sighting of note was a downy (or hairy) woodpecker on a tree stump. No dippers like last year. It’s still too early for anything to start blooming.

Distance: 8 km
Elevation gain: 100 m

Story

Not much to say today: we set off under cloudy skies with the expectation of rain, which was duly fulfilled. Our primary aim was just some exercise, and we succeeded in that. It was deliciously peaceful in the forest, though the Capilano River was loud. The pitter-patter of rain on the hoods of our jackets added a little extra white noise. We ambled along, encountering far fewer people than on previous visits (which meant fewer obnoxious trail runners and dog walkers), and enjoyed a pleasant couple of hours.

The rain caught up with us and was enough to keep the camera tucked away safely in my pocket. Not even Grandpa Capilano could entice it out. The spray coming off the water cascading over the Cleveland Dam was quite voluminous and I would have needed a waterproof case to even consider taking out the camera. I don’t remember seeing the water so high over the weir by the fish hatchery. We trudged over the Cable Pool bridge and aimed for some shelter. It was easy enough to keep warm while on the move, but after calling in at the hatchery for a comfort stop, we had cooled off and needed to hoof it for a while to warm up again. We returned via the Pipeline Bridge where we met up with the Capilano Pacific trail once again, following it back to the car.

There seemed to be a medical emergency at the Capilano Suspension Bridge as the back gate was open and a couple of paramedics were standing around. We caught a glimpse of someone getting help on the boardwalks around the big Douglas firs and wondered if someone had slipped and hurt an ankle. All was back to normal on the return so we’ll never know.

It was nice to be reminded how wild the river and canyon felt, and how a place so close to residential and urban areas can still feel like a bit of wilderness.

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