Last weekend I did my first Vancouver walk in the snow! I joined a lovely group of Wanderung people for a hike on the North Shore to Whyte Lake. We had planned to keep going along the Baden Powell Trail to West Knob viewpoint. However the snow and lack of visibility encouraged us to change plans and walk back along a Seaview trail instead. Wanderung is a hiking club with a few thousand members in Vancouver. Anyone can sign up and organise a walk and anyone on the mailing list can get involved. You meet different people each time you go. I love it!
It turns out that there are a huge number of trails on the North Shore of Vancouver. Luckily the man in charge of this Wanderung walk, Perry, seems to know all of them! When we started the walk, it was cold, but there wasn’t any snow. The Whyte Lake trail started at a car park just off route 99 in West Vancouver. Right at the start of the walk, you wander under the highway. It’s a cool, if concrete-y start to a hike!
The Whyte lake trail was really pretty. The snow started to fall pretty soon after we started, so we were walking through autumnal colours under glittering snow flakes. You can’t really see the snow in my photos to start with but it was enough to make the ground and the trees sparkle.
I saw a few cool mushrooms on the way. I guess autumn is a good time of year for fungi.
Whyte lake was a little flooded, so seemed a bit like a swamp at the edges! Apparently a beaver moved in last year and managed to raise the level of the lake, so now the pontoon is a little underwater. Still, it looked like it’d be a lovely place for a dip in the summer. This photo is from the flooded section at the side, rather than the actual lake.
After the lake, we turned off onto the Baden Powell trail and started to gain elevation. I found a holy tree that looked like an exclamation mark! Well, in real life it looked like an “i,” but I turned the photo upside down because exclamation marks look even cooler.
As we moved higher the snow piled up more and more. To start with it looked a bit like frosting on the ferns and moss. Then I found a cliff covered in icicles. Water had dripped down off the mosses and created some really long shards of ice.
Even higher, there must have been snow left from an earlier snowstorm because there was far more snow, especially on the branches of the trees. On the ground the snow was still powdery and slightly crunchy.
Can you tell, I was slightly excited to find myself in a winter wonderland!
I mean look at this! I was not expecting Vancouver to look this wintry so early in November. It was so, so pretty!
This is my favourite piled-up snowy photo of the day.
Despite the gorgeousness of the snow-covered trees, we decide that we should change plans. There wasn’t enough visibility for us to see the view from the West Knob viewpoint on Black Mountain. So we turned around and headed back along the Baden Powell trail in the other direction.
We only descended a few hundred meters for the world to turn back to autumn. Although now the leaves were slightly covered in frosting.
We crossed the road near Horseshoe bay and headed over to the Gleneagles Community Centre so we could warm up and have some lunch. It is a huge, fancy community centre, but it was really empty for a Saturday afternoon! We were all hoping for a hot chocolate, but it as so empty that the cafe shop was all closed. Ah well.
After lunch we followed the Seaview walk back towards the trailhead where we started. There were some good views down towards the West Vancouver yacht club. The visibility was pretty rubbish, but it was still nice to see partial views.
The Seaview walk is along an old railway line. The railway had suffered from quite a few derailments, even one that made a train crash off the railway and into someones house! Because of that, the railway line was abandoned, and has been turned into this lovely, flat walkway. It is pretty perfect for dog walking, even in the snow. The best dog of the day was a labrador that was carrying a MASSIVE log that took up most of the walk way! We all had to stand at the edge of the path to make room for that doggo!
Once we saw the massive bridge we were almost back to the start of the walk. It is really strange to see such a huge highway when you feel like you are walking in the wilderness.
My final funky view before we made it back to the trailhead near the start of the Whyte Lake trail. It was underneath the old, rickety highway bridge. This bright graffiti really stood out among the greens and browns of the forest. I can’t decide if this dude has a massive lip or a hipster mustache. What do you think?
So, that was my easy, but fun Wanderung walk in the snow. It seems like Vancouver will be pretty different with all the rain and snow over the next few months, but I am looking forward to seeing how it looks.