Golden Ears Provincial Park – Evans Peak

Golden Ears Provincial Park – Evans Peak

I went on my first hike with Vancouver’s hiking group, Wanderung. I loved it! Wanderung is a outdoor club with a couple of thousand(!) members. I signed up for their mailing list, and then quickly heard about a walk that I’d like to take part in. It was organised by a really sweet lady, Danica. As I don’t have a job yet, I could head south on Monday morning to meet her and go hiking! We were originally planning to climb a mountain over the US boarder, but as I’ve never been before, I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to enter with my UK passport. So, just to be safe, we headed to Golden Ears Provincial Park to explore Evans Peak. If you’d like to try the same walk, you can find a map and instructions for it here and a video about it here.

I woke up at ridiculous o’clock, even earlier than Marc needed to for work! I have mostly been exploring Vancouver on foot, so I am not very used to public transport here yet… But as I was meeting Danica in Surrey, I needed to take the sky-train followed by a bus out to what seemed like the middle of nowhere. Once I made it to our meeting place, I realised that neither of us knew what the other looked like! Eep. I was early, so I sat watching drivers faces as they drove in, to attempt to work out if they were looking for someone. This actually worked. When Danica arrived, she seemed to be looking for someone. When she saw I had hiking boots and trekking poles, she headed over to say hello.

This part of the world has taken sooo many place names from the UK. We drove through Guildford, in Surrey! It’s the Canadian version of the start of our walk along the North Downs Way, which also started near Guildford in Surrey(!) As it was just South of the city, this all felt totally normal to me. That is, apart from the part where you drive for less than an hour to find yourself in a lush, green provincial park!

Golden Ears Provincial Park is amazing! It used to be a logging area, so the there are excellent roads to the start of the hike, and to many other hikes if I can come back!! We needed to drive quite a long way into the park to the car park just below Evans Peak. There were quite a few cars there before us, and one other hiker who seemed to have just returned with his doggo.

There was a gap in the trees from the car park, so we got to see the spiky shape of Evans Peak, before we started. Neither of us had done this walk before, so we weren’t sure if what we had seen was actually the peak we’d climb! It looks more pointy from the side, and you can’t see the long ledge at the top like the photo above. It looked pretty impossible with a sheer rock face! We both figured we’d go as far as we could, and turn back if it became too hard.

The start of the walk is incredible. It is one of those areas where all the trees are covered in moss. We followed a sign to a “view point trail.” This path was well laid, not too steep and really easy to follow. After about 20 minutes we crossed a creek. Then, soon after that we turned off the main trail onto a steeper route with a handwritten sign to Alouette Mountain and Evans Peak.

This is where the walk started to get more difficult. We were climbing up this steep pathway for over an hour. It was quite a cool day, so there weren’t too many bugs, but we both ended up a bit sweaty. My legs were really starting to feel that happy-climbing burn so I stopped quite a few times to take photos of the trees!

Danica said that this path had been marked out by a Vancouver hiking club. They had left pink ribbons for us to follow, and they were easy to find. Every time we looked up wondering what was the best way, there’d be another pink ribbon to guide us.

Eventually we made it up onto a ridge where a little more light streamed through the trees. To my surprise, we could see the top of Evans Peak! We were over half way, but it is still quite an intimidating sight when your legs are already a little tired! From here the walk becomes marginally easier, curling around the mountain to head towards the main peak.

In the other direction we had a view of Alouette lake. Unfortunately the clouds had come in a little, so although we could see it through the trees, I couldn’t get a particularly good photo. Slightly higher up the ridge we also had a good view of a long waterfall.

Then we reached a wall(!) It wasn’t like one of those metaphorical walls that people hit when they run a marathon. It was just a large cliff face in the direction we wanted to go.

There was a sign that said “Wilderness Route Evans Peak”. It did seem like quite an epic route through wilderness! Luckily the pink ribbons came to the rescue, showing us the way. We needed to scramble up rock faces using tree roots like ropes to pull us up. I even had to hug a tree at one point as it was the only way to help me up the slope. This was easily the hardest part of the walk so far… and it made me a little nervous for the moment when we’d need to climb back down!

BUT despite the hard-core-ness of the walk, we made it! When we arrived at the top of Evans Peak, all the surrounding mountains were in the clouds, but we saw a few glimpses of a super spiky mountain, that I started to call Sharks-Fin Mountain. We sat down to eat and look out at the view, and slowly Golden Ears Provincial Park started to emerge from the clouds. The water down below is Alouette Lake. We made plans to swim in it while we ate lunch.

After we’d eaten, we decided to leave our bags and wander further along the top of Evans Peak. It turned out to be a really gorgeous ridge walk, but we had not actually made it to the top yet. Oops. It was good that we’d been confused though, as it meant by the time we’d visited the real peak, the amazing Edge Peak and Blanchard Needle (the one I had named Sharks-Fin Mountain) had emerged from the clouds. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the Golden Ears Mountain that the park is named after. Those clouds were just too stubborn.

There is a placard at the top that says this peak was named after a father and son who went missing in this area in the 60s. It is really sad that such a gorgeous peak has such a sad story behind its name. I hope they made it to the top to see all these views before they got lost.

Danica mentioned that there is a trail to the lower part of Edge Peak, and that you can climb up to explore snow caves in the summer. We could still see quite a lot of snow over there, and there were so, so many huge waterfalls swooshing their way down the cliffs. That must be another stunning area to explore!

Evans Peak was also quite full of heather and pretty flowers. We didn’t see many wild flowers on the way up the mountain as there is so little light for them beneath the trees. However on the rocky peak, flower roots seem to squish into any tiny space they can, providing an even prettier view and lovely fragrances.

We spent about 40 minutes at the top looking around, eating lunch and taking photos. But eventually we had to attempt the steep climb down. We had to go really slowly as the path was so steep and slippery. It’s always harder on the way down compared to the way up. This just meant we had to really concentrate. BC is really dry at the moment, but I imagine this would be even worse when the path is soggy. It wouldn’t be a good idea to attempt this in the rain!

I didn’t take too many photos on the way back down. I was concentrating so hard on not tripping or slipping! The path was quite dusty and slidy. I was incredibly glad for my trekking sticks!

It’s really interesting that you notice different things on the way down compared to the way up. This walk was the same route both ways, but somehow I noticed even more on the return journey, maybe because I wasn’t trying to catch my breath!? We found these cool flowers. I called them moss roses, but I have no idea what the really are. They were really small, about the size of a fingernail and some of them were a really vivid pink. Pretty aren’t they!?

Just over halfway down Danica mentioned that she was starting to have jelly legs. Mine were okay at that point, but a little later, I noticed my legs were shaky too. It is such a funny feeling when you have tired legs that decide to turn to jelly, just when you need them most! Anyway the steep section of the mountain did feel like it went on a bit longer than I expected! I was sooo ready for a dip in the lake!

We did make it down the steep section eventually. We could tell we were almost back down to the car park when we found ourselves back in moss-land. I love the way the moss on maple trees grows into these gorgeous arches. It all looks bright green, fluffy and beautiful.

So, we made it back to the car park. But, as were both warm and sweaty, the lake was calling us! I felt a few drops of rain. But it wasn’t enough to deter us from a cold splash in the blue-green water! We had meant to hike for an extra kilometre to the edge of the lake. But we found a small path that led to a beautiful section of river, so we dipped in there instead.

This looks beautiful right!? But ohmygoodness it was chilly! I dipped my legs in, just above my knees, then had to come back out because it was sooo cold! I went back in twice more and managed to let the water go above my hips…but I was still slightly too wimpy to actually swim! Maybe I could on a more sunny day, but woah glacial water is coooold! Danica was a hero and managed to dip her shoulders and head all the way in!

The amazing thing is, dipping into cold water really helped my jelly legs! They still felt a little tired, but I also felt like I could go on another hike. It must have done something, as although my legs did feel a little sore the following day, they were not even half as bad as after we climbed The Chief, even though this was far more elevation and a better workout!

So that was our challenging hike up Evans Peak. If you’d like to see a video about the walk, this is the one I watched before we left. The video uses a drone on a clear day, so that has even better views than we managed to see!

The organising queen, Danica, is on instagram. So if you’d like to see her other walks, you can find her here. 😀

Lastly, I found some amazing mushrooms along the walk. I wasn’t sure where to post them, so I’ll leave them at the end.

 

31 thoughts on “Golden Ears Provincial Park – Evans Peak

  1. You’re posting accounts of fabulous walks faster than I can read them! I will catch up though as I’m really enjoying your blogs.

    Footballers have ice baths now after heavy training sessions and matches because of all the benefits to the muscles. Didn’t realise you feel the difference so quickly. Guess it reverses any inflammation instantly. Interesting insight.

    1. I did another walk today, but without the cold did at the end…if my legs are dead tomorrow, then it must be the chilly dip that fixed them.

      Also don’t worry! I start a new job on Monday so I’ll start posting a little more slowly! 🙂

  2. You’re really getting a good taste for the local hiking! I actually haven’t hiked Evans Peak yet. Now seems like a good time knowing how slick that would be in the wet (doesn’t stop people tackling it though).

    The creamy flower in the middle of your triptych is called partridgefoot (my nickname on Twitter 😉 I think the pink ones growing on the forest floor are gnome plant – I didn’t even know about them until a couple of weeks ago. I’d been misidentifying them as something similar called pinesap.

    I knew you’d get a kick out of visiting Surrey 😉 It’s not quite as scenic as the county…

      1. Oops! Thank you for the heads up!! I just fixed it. I had remembered it completely wrong as wandering -lungs!

  3. Following on from the comment on ice baths, after a half marathon I used to do the hot/cold shower, it does seem to do good things to sore muscles! Back to your walk, looked like it was an interesting day out. I think I will be joining a group when we start nesting again. Love all the trees reminds me of NZ.

    1. I didn’t know you were a marathon runner!? Wow. The furthest I have run is 10km, so I am in awe of you!!

      Do you call it tramping in NZ? I seem to remember my Kiwi friend saying she was going tramping. You’ll have amaaaaazing walks there!

    1. The video someone else posted of the walk shows it could have been even more stunning on a warm day! I am actually glad it was cloudy though otherwise I would have been so, so hot!

    1. That’s okay Ritu! I can keep sharing photos, and then you can still see it all. 😀 <3

      I like walking in the UK though. It means even if you're not into hiking, you can finish at a pub for a roast dinner...so that way everyone will like it.

        1. Yaaaay! I just chatting to my parents on whatsapp, it looked a bit cloudy but they said it was warm – perfect for a wander. 😀

  4. The sky train/buses in Vancouver are wonderful! Fairly easy to use if a bit expensive ☺ Those ribbons are a lifesaver!! I’ve noticed different groups who do it in their own area and if I ever meet any of them, I’m buying them whatever they want from Tim’s! And I also get hit with the jelly legs in the middle of my runs- so frustrating when I have to ease off 😒 As always, fantastic post 😊

    1. I don’t think I have ever got jelly legs from a run. That probably means I never run for long enough!! You must be a running star!

      You are right abut the hiking clubs! It must be really hard work. I’d like to buy them a drink to say thank you too! There is a huge co-op hiking/sports shop here called MEC. The staff told me their membership fees go towards helping maintain things like hiking routes. I wonder if they help pay for things like the ribbons!?

  5. I love hiking as well. I haven’t been able to do it as much since I’ve had kids. They certainly keep me busy. I love your pics and this looks like an amazing place to hike. Thanks for sharing and planting the seed for me to get back into hiking. 🙂

    1. Yay! I hope you can! Maybe you can get your kids to come too!?

      My parents used to take me and my siblings (and our friends) up mountains when we were little. Me and my brother both loved it, but my older sisters hated it. To get them to love it, I recommend bribing them with icecream.

  6. Absolutely gorgeous! I love the commentary on how your legs were feeling as you climbed. The trek did not look easy, but what an accomplishment! Thank you for sharing your adventure! We recently returned from a very brief stay in Vancouver and got to visit the suspension bridge and walk the trails there. The rain poured from every possible cloud but I wouldn’t have traded those few hours for anything. The beauty of that rainforest is almost unbelievable.

    1. Oooh I love that area. We have been sooo lucky! Since we moved here as it has been sunny the whole time.

      We wandered around the Capilano suspension bridge. Is that the one you went to? It was sooo nice!

      I think there is another free suspension bridge nearby, but we didn’t make it to that one yet…

  7. Wow, this brings back memories – it’s a beautiful spot. I took my class on a camping trip to Golden Ears way back – it rained so much that we couldn’t even put the tents up! Looks like you had much better weather!

    1. Wow! It must have been completely different in the rain! How many kids did you go with? That must have been exhausting!?

    1. Heh! It is a really good excuse isn’t it!

      Plus, it means I end up with loooads of photos to choose from. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading Patricia!

      I started this to show my mum what we were getting up to, but it is great that other people can read and enjoy it too. <3

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