It stands in a clearing of its own creation, amid a forest that has somehow not seen the ravages of fire for over four thousand years. They call it the Hollyburn Giant, and though it’s merely a shadow of what it once was, this legendary tree has been estimated to be as old as 1400 years. Sometimes confused with the Hollyburn Fir, this Yellow Cedar grows on the opposite side of Hollyburn Mountain, and at a much higher elevation. It’s one of the many wonders of British Columbia’s Cypress Provincial Park Continue reading The Hollyburn Giant
It was late January. I’d been signed up for a winter snowshoe ascent of Mt Becher with the Island Mountain Ramblers for a while, but the weather had not been easy to predict of late. In the end, it had to be postponed for a week, but with a forecast of light snow and afternoon clearing, the trip was a go for Groundhog Day. Well, I’m no meteorologist, but that sounded good to me. I’ve only seen that movie about twelve times by now! Continue reading One Day Inside A Snow Globe
It was the spring of 2004, and I was poring over an old Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC) map when four simple words caught my eye: Owl and Talon Creek. The name alone sounded intriguing enough, but there was also a grove of trees there called the Pipe Organ Firs. Recently, I’d had the chance to meet Ralf Kelman, perhaps British Columbia’s most established tree hunter, and he had told me about Continue reading The Heart of Owl and Talon Creek
It was an early evening in October of 2009 when the phone rang. On the other end of the line was Chris, and we soon found ourselves in the midst of a friendly debate over where we were planning on hiking the next day. I had my mind set on Coquihalla Mountain via the west ridge, having seen it the year before while climbing Jim Kelly Peak. Barring that, I was up for a return to Cypress Peak, or maybe Cloudburst Mountain. Out of the blue, Chris uttered “Have you ever heard of Hemionus Mountain?” “No, I have no idea where that is.” “Well, I’m off to eat dinner right now, so while I do that you can look it up.”
By the time we reached the bench below Ben Lomond, it was half past decision time for me. I badly wanted to stand on that summit and look down on the Seymour Valley below! Problem was, I could not bring my knee any higher than my waist, and was having major trouble kicking steps. Ben Lomond Continue reading A Bad Case of the Bens, Part Two
Ben Lomond, to me, will never be just another mountain. Even from a distance, this sharp granite horn pierces the sky in a way that can only create a momentous first impression. The peak is located on the divide between the Seymour and Stawamus Rivers at the head of Clipper Creek, and this story, while it dates back some fourteen years, might as well have been yesterday in my mind.
It conjures up the grandest of images, like, say, the sturdiest of stone castles standing high on a bluff above the crashing waves of the North Sea, seemingly indestructible. While that may be fun to imagine, how many among you would have thought the name actually referred to a tree? Set deep within the forests of Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, Norvan’s Castle is, by volume, the fourth largest Western Hemlock on the planet. Its nine and a half foot diameter at breast height also makes it the widest one on record! The three trees that are of larger volume are all found south of the border on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula.
With the mercury dropping and the white stuff presumably on its way at some point, I’m reminded of one of the North Shore Mountains more underrated pleasures. That pastime, folks, is riding your mountain bike in the snow, and when I lived in North Vancouver, it was something I used to do whenever I got the chance! So why, you ask, would someone really want to layer on clothing, don thick gloves, and breathe in the cold, drafty winds of the Seymour Valley? Well, because it’s fun, that’s why!
“I’m not sure I remember that being there!” That comment, uttered by yours truly a few weeks ago, is one I seem to make more often these days. The thing is, I think I’m getting to the point in life where some memories seem crystal clear, while others seem so nonexistent they might as well be Continue reading Chester’s Grove, Back to the Future
Sometimes I ruminate on the passage of time. It’s peculiar, in that that some things seem to take an eternity, and others seem to flash by like leaves in November wind.
At any rate, as time relates to this tale, it has now been nearly a year and a half since I moved from North Vancouver to Nanaimo. As much as I’m enjoying the island life so far, occasionally I still find myself reminiscing about places I’ve visited in the North Shore Mountains. Brunswick Mountain, for reasons I’ll explain, comes to mind quite often! Continue reading A Monday on Brunswick