2017 December 3 – Deep Cove to Seymour’s Pub


Eighteen Loopers met on Cliffmont Road in Deep Cove on a brisk but sunny morning for our final outing of the year.

We  walked through the woods along some neighbourhood paths, making our way to the Old Buck Trailhead.  We then followed various trails including Old Buck, Empress, Bridle Path and the Baden Powell trails to get to the Seymour River.  We descended to the pipe bridge crossing the river.  In the canyon below we observed  two hardy kayakers in the river.

After admiring the view we climbed the steep flight of steps on the west side of the river, from the top of which the trail continued to ascend via a series of switchbacks.   Arriving at the top we reached the junction with the Richard Juryn Trail by which we made our way down to Lillooet Road.  After a brief walk through the adjacent cemetery we made our way to Seymour’s Pub, where post-hike refreshments were enjoyed.


2017 November 5 — Fisherman’s Trail

Twenty of us gathered on a cold, sunny morning in early November at the very last car park on Lillooet Road. Our plan: to walk in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve along the Seymour River (hike #30 in “109 Walks,”  7th edition). The estimated distance was 13 km on trails and paved road, rated easy.

On the previous Sunday, many of us had been out in shirt sleeves enjoying the last of the warm fall weather. But during the week the temperature dropped 20 degrees C and we had snow flurries in many parts of the Lower Mainland. Fortunately, November 5 dawned clear and sunny.

We began walking near Rice Lake, heading down Homestead Trail to the river. As we walked down, down, and still further down, the realization dawned that eventually we would be coming back up. However, the trail was beautiful with a carpet of needles and bronze and gold leaves underfoot and tall trees each side. Our guest from Norway, Bjørg, enjoyed the BC scenery.

There were a number of mountain bikers on the trail and a few dogs (in spite of the “absolutely no dogs, ever” sign where we joined Fisherman’s Trail), but we shared the trail and it was all very civilized.

The river appeared to the right and Tour Guide Fred directed us to a viewpoint where we could see the peaks of Seymour Mountain with a frosting of fresh snow.

There was a slight detour where we missed a turning, but after some debate, consulting of devices, and checking with a passing cyclist we corrected our course and headed up the Hydraulic Connector towards the Mid-Valley Picnic Site.

This was a great place for a stop, with a sweeping view of the three peaks of Seymour and the ridge of Suicide Bluffs. There was a picnic bench and two Adirondack chairs nicely situated to take in the view. We also noted a very large object covered in blue tarpaulins off to one side: it turned out to be a large model of a spaceship waiting to be filmed for some upcoming production.

The only downside of the picnic site was that it was very exposed and so we didn’t stay too long after lunch.

We returned on the same trail, as planned. The sun was lower in the sky now and it was a little colder, so we were pleased to be moving again—until we came to the uphill part at the end. Most of us kept moving at a good pace. A few stopped part way up to catch their breath. Some might have employed the cunning stratagem of stopping to take photographs several times on the way up.

We finished the day with a stop at Seymour’s Pub at the Holiday Inn on Old Lillooet Road.

Photographs by Jon, Angela, Michael, Bjørg, Suzanne, and Paul

2017 October 1 – Alouette River Dykes


18 Loopers (or 19 if you count the new Loopers mascot Belle) convened at a trail-head on the Alouette River in Pitt Meadows.  It was a beautiful sunny morning for a walk.

This was possibly the flattest Loopers walk ever, along the Alouette River Dykes.  Our route took us East past the junction of the North and South Alouette.  We followed the south shore of the south branch east to Neaves Road, where we crossed the river and retraced our route along the north side.

Upon reaching the confluence of the two branches, we paused for a lunch break and then headed back east along the south side of the north arm of the river until we once again reached Neaves Road, where we crossed via another bridge.  We stopped briefly to observe an historic cairn and to view the cranberry fields being harvested.  We then proceeded west again along the north side, eventually returning to our starting point after crossing a third bridge.

Post-walk refreshments were consumed at Stomping Grounds Bistro in Pitt Meadows.


2017 September 3 – Buntzen Lake

Walk #74 in 109 Walks

On a hot Sunday at the beginning of September, 13 Loopers assembled at Buntzen Lake for what promised to be an easy to moderate 10k trail around the lake. We’d been warned that parking could be an issue on a long weekend, and so it proved for two Loopers who gave up and went somewhere else.

The rest of us milled about at the beach until chivvied into place for the starting selfie. Then we set off, walking counter-clockwise around the lake. It was a hot day, so we appreciated the shade in the forested parts of the trail and the glimpses of a tranquil blue lake.

We stopped for lunch at the less populated beach at the north end of the lake. At this point, three Loopers cooled down with a swim. Five gluttons for punishment headed off on the McCombe Lake loop.

Post-lunch, we all returned on the west side of Buntzen Lake. There were some packed trail sections here that were out in full sun — a good reminder to refresh the sunscreen and stay hydrated.

We crossed the lake on the floating bridge and headed back to the starting point. Consensus on the beverage stop was quickly reached and we settled in at St. James’s Well in Port Moody for refreshments.

2017 August 6 – Galiano Island


For our third consecutive island expedition 11 Loopers caught the ferry at Tsawwassen, arriving at Sturdies Bay on Galiano just after 10am.  After a brief reconnoiter of the area the group stopped by the Sturdies Bay Bakery and Cafe for pastries and coffee while awaiting our final two walkers who were arriving from Pender Island.

Once the group was assembled and the starting selfie was taken we headed out on the road.  The first spot of the day was Bellhouse Provincial Park, adjacent to Sturdies Bay and with a view across Active Pass to the Mayne Island lighthouse.

From the park we then backtracked up the road and continued westward, pausing occasionally to graze upon blackberries growing by the side of the road.  We then descended through the woods to a beach in Matthews Point Regional Park.  As we strolled the beach we could watch the Vancouver and Victoria ferries as they passed each other in Active Pass.

Ascending from the beach we proceeded up to Bluffs Park, which provided yet another view of Active Pass, this time from the heights, where another pair of ferries was observed in transit.  After admiring the view from the bluffs we made our way down through the woods, emerging back near Sturdies Bay.

Post hike refreshments were enjoyed at the Babes in the Woods Cafe, after which some of the group visited the local bookstore while others wandered down to the beach near the ferry dock while waiting for the ferry back to Vancouver.


2017 July 2: Bowen Island

Bowen Island
Bowen Island

Word of the day: Crow

We originally planned to go to Galiano Island for this month’s walk, but since it was a long weekend and one of the ferries was out of service up until the last minute we chose a closer island destination.

We travelled on the 10:05 sailing from Horseshoe Bay. Some of us bused; others parked in a secret parking lot and walked through a trail to the ferry terminal (apply in person for the location of said secret parking lot); Carol and Sandy had to pay $15 to park for the day; Fred and Joette found no parking and so missed the boat.

It was a perfect, sunny day for the short ferry ride. We docked in Snug Cove and walked up to the library for the starting selfie. Then we headed off to the right on Union Road and into Crippen Regional Park.

The walk was a loop, mainly through wooded trails. We passed signs of extensive beaver activity. We walked to Killarney Lake, where the lilies are planning to take over the world, and stopped there for lunch. Although it was a beautiful day, nobody felt inclined to do the second loop (to Dorman Point Lookout) and we voted to head back and search for cold beverages.

On the way, a sign forbidding trespassing proved irresistible to certain members. See clear evidence in the photos, below.

Some cultured and sensitive Loopers stopped to walk through the Bowen Memorial Garden (and were rewarded with a spectacular view). Others headed back to look for an establishment capable of handling 16 people at short notice. The Barcelona Tapas and Wine Bar was the lucky winner and we enjoyed sitting out on the patio imbibing Four Winds IPA or the hard-to-resist Prosecco on tap.

After brief jaunts to a bookstore, a clothes shop, or a purveyor of icecream, according to individual desires, we returned on the 3:10 ferry.

2017 June 29: Baden Powell Trail (part 1 of 4, take 1)

Route map

A subset of the Loopers are tackling the Baden Powell Trail in four sections, starting in Deep Cove and heading west. Today a group of four (Lise, Janet K, Jean and Michael) got a head start on this project, walking from Deep Cove to Lynn Headwaters; a larger party will walk the same route tomorrow: stay tuned for their report.

We set out from Jean and Michael’s front gate and walked from there to the Cove and the Baden Powell trailhead. It was a beautiful day for the hike: blue sky, cool air at the start (8:12 am). Lots of nice new trail construction on the way to Quarry Rock: apparently it had been quite a while since I’d walked this section. Starting just after 8:00 am on a weekday makes a world of difference: very few people were using that section of the trail. And from Quarry Rock onwards there were even fewer. From Lynn Headwaters entrance we caught buses back to Deep Cove via Phibbs Exchange.

One web page on this section of the Baden Powell Trail states that the overall elevation gain is 420 meters to Lynn Canyon; Map My Walk calculated 676 meters gained to Lynn Headwaters. Neither figure takes into account the fact that there are several instances of elevation gain and loss (and gain and loss and gain), since we cross two good-sized rivers: the Seymour and Lynn Creek. There are a number of extensive staircases too (as a challenge to Group 2, walking tomorrow, it would be interesting to get their estimate of the total number of stairs: we lost count). I want to note in particular the section of trail heading downhill towards the Seymour River (just beyond the fork with Mushroom Trail): it is very steep in parts (walking sticks are helpful) with a lot of loose dirt and rock, making the footing a bit treacherous.

According to the Map My Walk app, we walked 15.46 km (probably a bit high, but close); elapsed time (including a half-hour snack break at Lynn Creek) was 5 hours 25 minutes. Full stats here. A selection of photos follows.

Red chairs

2017 June 4: Barnston Island


20 Loopers gathered at the appointed hour (10:30 am) at the parking lot near the Barnston Island ferry slip.  The weather was warm and sunny.  After the obligatory starting selfie the group boarded the ferry for the 5-minute crossing.  (Note: something went amiss with the “official” selfie so the photo here, taken by Gayle, is missing some participants – points awarded for determining who is missing.)

Walking off the ferry, the group proceeded in a counter-clockwise circumnavigation of the island.  The entire route was done on country roads.  Fortunately there was very little traffic to contend with.  There were more bicycles encountered (it is clearly a popular cycling destination) than motorized vehicles.

There is a small park at the east end of the island and we started down a trail to the shoreline, only to discover that the trail was flooded and impassible.  Undeterred, we returned to the road and continued our journey.

About 3/4 of the way along the route we were greeted by Carol, approaching from the other direction.  Shortly there-after we entered a small park at the northwest corner of the Island for a rest and refreshment stop.  From there it was a short stroll back to the ferry.

The group re-convened at the Baron’s Manor Pub for a post-walk debriefing and sustenance.



Jug Island

2017 May 7: Belcarra Regional Park Duo

Route map
Route map

This month’s walk was the Belcarra Regional Park Duo, Walk 72 (page 148 in 109 Walks, 7th edition).

Although some foolish Loopers who didn’t pay attention to the description envisioned a sort of figure of eight arrangement, the reality is two separate out-and-back walks, both starting and ending at the Belcarra Picnic Area.

Walk 1 is north beside Bedwell Bay to a beach across from Jug Island, returning on the same trail — a 5.5 km walk, rated moderate, on “trail, packed.”  The second is south to Burns Point and back, 5.2 km, rated easy, on rough trail.

A record number of Loopers showed up at the car park adjacent to the picnic area: regulars plus two out-of-town sisters, two neighbours, and an out-of-season cross-country skier—a total of 20. The day was mainly sunny, with a cool breeze: walkers were able to revel in the late but very welcome spring weather. Shorts were sported by many.

Walk 1 was enjoyable, albeit with more ups-and-downs than anticipated. The group assembled at the picnic area for a short break and then set off for Walk 2. Carol joined us for Walk 2, bringing the total number to 21.

The walk will live in infamy because, for the first time, a Looper was left behind, contrary to Commandment #1 as recorded in last year’s Walk the Fraser / May 1 post (scroll down to below the photographs). At the beginning of the day, Larrie apparently decided to avail himself of the facilities and while he was temporarily absent the group left! Larrie then took off to Burns Point while the rest of the group headed to Jug Island Beach. Shockingly, he was not missed until the group assembled on the beach and did a head count.

Larrie being a self-sufficient Looper (Commandment #4), there was no problem. But our leader was shaken to the core and has offered once again to abdicate. Nobody being willing to assume the frightening level of responsibility required, his pleas were in vain and he is stuck with the role.

The St. James’s Well Irish pub was once again our choice for post-walk refreshments.

2017 April 23: Vancouver Sun Run


The intrepid Loopers Sun Run team gathered at Georgia and Richards for the annual Sun Run.  In spite of threatened rain it was a pleasant cool morning.  At a few points in the morning the sun attempted to poke through the clouds.  There was a brief sprinkle of rain as we approached the finish line.

As usual it took some time to reach the actual starting line at which point the team soon split into several groups, regrouping at BC Place at the end of the race.

Official team results:

 20. 17:42:45 Loopers             (1:46:17)
  1  1:34:04  Alan Ballard                                 
  2  1:36:50  Gordon Briggs                   
  3  1:39:04  Julie Atchison                     
  4  1:44:52  Carol Anderson                    
  5  1:47:56  Sandy Ross                                
  6  1:49:33  Sandra Dallin  
  7  1:49:34  Ralph Sayle   
  8  1:53:37  Dave Brent   
  9  1:53:37  Angela Runnals  
 10  1:53:38  Elizabeth Nightingale 
 11 (1:53:39) Jon Nightingale

Post run we gathered at the New Oxford Pub for refreshments.  A fine time was had by all.