2023 January 1 – New Year’s Day

Six intrepid Loopers and 4-legged companion Tucker met at the trailhead on Cliffmont Road in Deep Cove. We took the no longer so Secret Trail up to Cove Runner/Rain Dancer trail. We then made our way along the trail at a leisurely pace, passing several rushing creeks along the way. We also passed, and exchanged New Year’s greetings with other hikers out enjoying the fine weather.

Upon arriving at the powerline just above Quarry Rock we paused for a snack break and to admire the view across to Belcarra and Burnaby Mountain in the distance. As we were leaving some fog briefly rolled in below us. We ascended via the Baden Powell trail and took it up to where it crossed Indian River Road. After a brief walk along the road, we descended via an unmarked trail back to Rain Dancer trail, where we retraced our steps back toward where we had started.

We then took another unmarked trail which offered a steep descent into Deep Cove, where we made our way down to the main street, picking up Sandy along the way. At that point Dave left us, taking Tucker home to feed him lunch. Honey Doughnuts beckoned so we stopped to reward ourselves with doughnuts and coffee. We then continued down to the waterfront where New Year’s Day celebrations were in full swing. At that point we rendezvoused with Michael, Jean, and Larrie near the large bonfire. We missed the Penguin Plunge, but Michael had recorded some of the action on his phone.

After a brief chat with the others we headed home, satisfied that we’d made fine use of the the first day of 2023!

Photo credits to Diane, Jon, Michael


Sun Run 2022

This year’s Loopers Sun Run team had a record 16 participants, of whom 14 chose the virtual experience and 2 chose to do the official race.

April 21 – Group walk at Burnaby Lake

On April 21st 11 of the team members, along with 2 Looper supporting members, gathered at the east end of Burnaby Lake under light rainy conditions. After the traditional, slightly soggy, starting selfie (note the fine display of brollies) we headed west along the south side of the lake. Not too long after we set out the rain abated and it remained mostly dry until very near the end of our outing. The trail meandered through the woods with only occasional views of the lake, with some stretches along wooden walkways.

Upon reaching the west end of the lake the group stopped for a rest and snack break. We were intrigued (confused?) by the site of someone apparently power-washing the field in the distance. (A telephoto shot and subsequent examination of the area indicates there was a strip of asphalt there, possibly a landing strip for model planes that are flown in the area.) Snacks included peanut butter power bars, kindly provided by Angela H. (recipe below).

The final stretch of the walk was back to the east along the north side of the lake. We hit the 10km mark at Piper Spit, where another stop was made to do some bird-watching. Alas, the notorious Mandarin duck was nowhere to be seen.

Upon reaching the end of the lake we crossed the Cariboo Dam just as the showers started again, and arrived back at our starting point.

April 22 – Deep Cove

Kathy and Don got their 10.4km (with +/-179 m elevation), based on Don’s Gaia app, all around Deep Cove with Maisy. They stopped for lunch at A&W, dinner at Scratch kitchen, and a long set of “afters” at the yacht club. Great Day!

April 24 – The Official Sun Run

Congratulations to Fred & Alan for their stellar runs today, coming in first & third in their age category in the official Sun Run!

Alan’s comments on the day: Not quite as busy as previous years, but still quite a crowd. I enjoyed it.
Fred and I managed first and third place for our age group!

Fred’s remarks: It was a magical day. In spite of the early predictions for rain, the sun was out and the energy around the starting line was very positive with smiling people moving to the music and taking it all in. When Alan sent me the text showing where we were placed, I was completely gobsmacked. A perfect ending!

2020 Aug 11-13: Return to Manning Park

The third annual trek to Manning Park attracted a smaller group of Loopers this year. Alan and Jon arrived first, early on Tuesday afternoon. Since accommodations were not ready, they drove to Lightning Lake and hiked the loop which circumnavigates the lake. The lake is made up of three distinct sections: a bay to the north, a central section where the day use area and kayak and canoe rentals are available, and a larger southern section which is less travelled. At the south end a trail continues past several other lakes.

After completing the loop the two returned to the lodge and checked in to one of the chalets. By that time Angela and Catherine had arrived, and Dave (who had hiked Elk/Thurston in Chilliwack on the way) appeared shortly after.

The Lightning Lake Loop: Alan and Jon

— Jon N


On Wednesday morning, Ralph and Maurice arrived and the group proceeded by car to the trailhead, not far from the lodge. The first part of the trail follows the Similkameen River. At the junction where the Windy Joe Trail meets the river trail we parted company with Angela and Ralph, who continued along the river.

Windy Joe: Alan, Catherine, Dave, Jon, Maurice

Carrying on up the Windy Joe trail, we soon reached the summit at 1825 meters where an old fire lookout has been maintained. At the top of the lookout is a pelorus, which was used for accurately locating forest fires. We stopped at the top for a lunch break before starting our descent. There were fine views in all directions.

While it was past peak wildflower season, there was still a good variety to be observed. The only wildlife spotted was a spruce grouse along the trail, who was totally unconcerned with our presence.

The walk back down was relatively quick and we were soon back at where we had parked the cars.

— Jon N

Similkameen Trail: Angela and Ralph

Angela and Ralph continued along the winding trail beside the Similkameen River, enjoying the warmth of the day, the gentle noise of the water, and the humming of busy insects. Our intention was to take the trail for a few kilometers, cross the river and join  the Beaver Pond trail, and loop back to our starting point via the Canyon Nature Trail.

We were chatting and so we hardly noticed the Similkameen Trail sign. And in traditional Looper style we paid no attention to the Trail Flooded sign a little further on. However, after crossing one sturdy metal bridge we discovered that the next bridge — a much smaller, wooden one — was washed away and we could only continue on our planned route if we were willing to risk balancing on slippery-looking boulders and probably getting our feet wet. So after carefully considering our options, we returned to the Similkameen Trail sign.

This time, we noticed a small arrow at the bottom indicating a narrow path off to the right. We took it and found a path that we could continue on for several kilometers. The trail was overgrown but passable. When we reached the end of Angela’s map, we retraced our steps and headed back. Total: a little over 7 kms.

We returned to the chalet, shared a bottle of fine Provençal rosé, and waited for the others to arrive and share the day’s experiences. Ralph and Maurice headed home after that, and the people staying at the chalet started thinking about dinner.

— Angela R


Skagit River Trail: Alan and Jon

On Thursday morning Alan and Jon packed up, made their farewells, and headed for Sumallo Grove near the western boundary of Manning Park. From there they hiked south down the Skagit River trail. The full trail is about 15 kms but they just hiked down about 5 kms and returned.

On the return journey was a short side trail, overlooked on the way out, that went to an old mine site that included an abandoned truck, some collapsed shacks, and an old boarded-up mine tunnel. Nearby was a waterfall.

Three Falls Trail: Angela, Catherine, Dave, Emma, Scott

Emma and Scott came to stay at Manning Park for Wednesday night and so there was a Brent/Runnals family hike to Three Falls on Thursday.  We started from the Strawberry Flats parking lot. The path passed the downhill ski area and some alpine-flowered meadows; then it was mostly a traverse along forest trails with some stretches of large boulders that we had to pick our way over. There was some downhill towards the third set of falls (meaning, of course, an uphill stretch on the way out). We saw Shadow, Nepopekum, and Derek Falls. Total about 9 kms.

Angela, Catherine, and Dave then headed back to the chalet, but Emma and Scott stayed to do the Lightning Lake loop before joining us at the chalet for a fine dinner.

— Angela R

2019 August 13 – Skyline Trail in Manning Park

A contingent of 14 Loopers once again made the trek to Manning Park for an alpine outing.  A small advance party arrived on Monday night and checked out the facilities, primarily the pub. The remainder of the crew arrived from various directions the following morning and we gathered in front of the lodge before car-pooling to our starting point.

The hike started at Strawberry Flats, near the downhill ski area.  The first kilometer or so was a relatively flat stroll through a meadow before the trail began to rise through the woods.  The route was a steady, but mostly gentle uphill climb, with the occasional steeper section.  Along this portion of the route there were a variety of fungi and mushrooms to observe.

The trail got a little steeper and went through several switchbacks as we ascended.  Once we got higher up we emerged into the first alpine meadow.  The flowers may have been a bit past their peak but they still made a pretty display.  After stopping to regroup and have a short snack break we pressed on.  We soon came to a ridge where there were views back to the northwest.

Rounding a turn we proceeded along a slope with views to the south.  Directly south was Red Mountain and further south and east was the jagged peak of Mount Hozameen across the border in Washington State.  There were a good variety of wildflowers along the way.  After following the slope east we came to a junction where the Skyline I trail turned north, and Skyline II dropped down to the south.

We turned north on Skyline I and after a brief climb and walk through the woods we came upon a beautiful alpine meadow with an array of flowers and a panoramic view to the north and east.  We half expected Julie Andrews to come dancing across the meadow!  We stopped here for lunch and spent some time absorbing the views.

After lunch and a last look at the view, we headed back the way we came, retracing our steps back to where the cars were parked.

On returning to the Lodge the thirsty Loopers were temporarily dismayed to discover that the pub was closed that day. Fortunately, much the same selection of beverages were available in the restaurant so the group convened there to debrief over beer and snacks, followed by dinner.  A few Loopers headed home after dinner while the rest stayed overnight at the lodge.


2018 August 12 – Subalpine Meadows in Manning Park

map12AugEight Loopers converged on Manning Park from a variety of locations: Chilliwack, Hope, and North Vancouver. We met at 10:30 but the cloud cover was still low so our organizer (AKA Glorious Leader Maurice) recommended we hang out in the coffee shop for a while until more of the cloud had burned off.

We drove up to Blackwall Peak to get to the subalpine region. The road was — interesting: the surface had a washboard consistency, apparently caused by 4×4 pickup trucks with no weight in the back, and there was a slightly unnerving sheer drop on the right.

At the viewpoint and the car park, there was some smoke from forest fires that made the outlook hazy. But by the time we’d been walking for ten minutes the smoke was minimal and the fresh, chilled air was refreshing.

We started out on Paintbrush Nature Trail and soon started to see alpine flowers. They grew thicker as we headed along the trail. Seed heads from the Western Anemone were predominant — and, although the white flowers would no doubt have been spectacular, the seed heads had a charm of their own.

We arrived at the upper parking lot, joining up with and then staying on Heather Trail, enjoying the ever-denser flowering meadows. We identified lupines, columbine, loosestrife, Indian paintbrush, cinquefoil, mountain valerian, cow parsley, Indian hellebore, and lots of others. The trail had some ups and downs (though those who ventured a mild complaint were told that on average it was flat).

We had a lunch break where we were joined by some quite assertive and hungry birds. Jon provided them with snacks and Don’s hat proved irresistible.

Eventually, Heather Trail joined Bonnevier Trail. From there we could see the Three Brothers. At that point we had been walking for three hours and the consensus was that we needed to turn back in order to be in time to wipe the bug killer off our faces and change our shirts for dinner. The bug killer, by the way, was not really needed: there were very few flying creatures and nothing was biting.

We were joined for dinner by a couple of Loopers who happened to drive over from Osoyoos. After dinner we repaired to a suite for a post-dinner beverage. Everyone was staying overnight and the beds (in the resort, anyway) were very comfortable. We hope the beds in the Westphalia were more comfortable than the park bench that tempted our leader on the return — though he seemed quite content.


June 30 – July 10, 2017: Baden Powell Trail from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay – a hike in 4 parts

An ever-changing group of Loopers set out to conquer the Baden Powell Trail travelling East to West from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay.  The hike was done in four segments over a two week period.  The total distance is about 50 km and so divided nicely into 4 segments of around 12 km each.  We were fortunate in having sunny, but generally not too warm weather for the entire time.

June 30: Part 1 – Deep Cove to Lynn Headwaters


On the first day of our journey 10 Loopers convened at the foot of Gallant Avenue in Deep Cove at 9 am.  After the obligatory starting selfie the group set off up the trail to Quarry Rock.  This trail is very popular and heavily traveled, with much of it on stairs and boardwalks.  There were a fair number of people on this part of the trail and enjoying the view from the rock.

We paused at Quarry Rock to admire the view and then continued on our way.  From this point on we met very few people.  The trail turned north and then west climbing above North Vancouver.  There were several descents and ascents to cross the Seymour River, another creek, and then down to Lynn Creek.  Upon reaching the bank of Lynn Creek we paused for a rest and snack before proceeding up the creek to the suspension bridge.  As we approached the bridge the number of folks on the trail increased again.

After crossing the bridge we continued north toward Lynn Headwaters Park, and after ascending yet another flight of steps we emerged near the End of the Line store.  Part of the group departed from the end point and the rest traveled back to Deep Cove via bus, where post-hike refreshments were enjoyed at The Raven Pub.

Note: A small group of Loopers completed this hike the day previous.  A description of their adventures may be found here.

July 2: Part 2 – Lynn Headwaters to Grouse Mountain


This morning 11 Loopers met at the appointed hour of 9:00 am at the End of the Line Store.  A few took the opportunity to grab a coffee and snack and we got an unsuspecting bystander to take the starting selfie before we headed up the road to Lynn Headwaters Park.

The walk up the road provided an opportunity to get loosened up before confronting our first climb of the day, up several flights of steps.  The trail continued to climb into the woods above North Vancouver, with a number of trails branching off.  For part of the way the trail was shared with mountain bikers.

After crossing several bridges we reached a sort-of viewpoint (much of the view now obscured by trees) where we paused for a brief break.  Continuing on we once again descended to cross Mosquito Creek and subsequently the East and West branches of McKay Creek.

From there the trail slowly descended to the base of Grouse Mountain where we encountered the bottom of the Grouse Grind Trail, with many folks headed up it, many of whom clearly did not know what they were in for.

We posed for the ending selfie at the base of the trail.  Some Loopers departed at this point while the rest bused to Lonsdale Quay where we reconvened at the Cheshire Cheese for our usual post-hike libations.

July 7: Part 3 – Cleveland Dam to Cypress Bowl


Today’s group met at the Cleveland Dam, having decided that Loopers avoid walking on roads whenever possible and we would thus skip the walk from Grouse Mountain to the dam.  This morning the group had expanded to 14.  The starting selfie was taken with the photographer not quite making it fully into the shot.

After crossing Cleveland Dam, once again the trek started with an up-hill climb (but no stairs for a change) with the first part under a power line just above the top streets of West Vancouver.  Eventually the trail departed from the power line and headed upward.  Shortly we descended to Brothers Creek where a bridge spanned the creek and offered a view of the cascade above.  On the other side of the bridge was an impressive flight of steps to take us back up.

We continued up Hollyburn Mountain and arrived at First Lake and Hollyburn Lodge, where we stopped for a lunch break.  After leaving the lodge we continued up the mountain, shortly running into patched of snow.  As we climbed we came upon a number of places where the snow covered the trail and we had to tread cautiously.

Following along cross-country ski trails we made our way down to the Cypress Bowl parking area.  Post -hike refreshments were enjoyed at the Crazy Raven Bar in the lodge at Cypress Bowl.

July 10: Part 4 – Cypress Bowl to Horseshoe Bay


This morning the group was back to 10 Loopers.  We met at the end-point, leaving some cars there and driving up to the start at Cypress Bowl.  The hike started with a trek up Black Mountain since every good hike should have a climb.  We stopped briefly at Cabin Lake where we were greeted by birds and beasts (small ones) and then admired the view from the top of Black Mountain.

From there it was a gradual descent to Eagle Bluffs where we stopped for a break and to admire the view over the city.  Obviously a popular spot because as we rested we were descended upon by various critters, winged and four-legged.

The rest of the journey was a more or less steady downhill trek, starting with a steep rocky descent down Eagle Bluffs.  This was followed by a trail, steep in places, through the woods and then a scramble down a boulder field.

The trail leveled out a bit and we made a slight diversion to pass near Whyte Lake where the group waited while Michael had a brief plunge into the lake.  From there it was another brief downhill trek to the trail-head across from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal.

After posing for the ending selfie at the foot of the trail we made our way into Horseshoe Bay where we de-briefed over beverages at the Olive & Anchor and congratulated ourselves for completing our mission.

2017 June 13: Loopers invade the Okanagan – KVR – Naramata Division



KVR - NaramataIn mid-June 2017 a group of Loopers spent several days in the Okanagan, operating out of a home on the Naramata Bench, just north of Penticton.  After settling in, our first expedition started not far from our accommodations.  We followed the old Kettle Valley Railway line to a tunnel overlooking Okanagan Lake.  The journey took us up a gently rising slope with views to the west over the lake.

Retracing our outward journey, we took a side trail which took us up to a camp which was used during the construction of the railway, at which point there was a stone oven, used by the workers who worked in the railway.  The stone oven itself was a trifle underwhelming, but still worth the visit.

Post-hike we lunched at Lake Breeze Winery.


2016 July 24: Norvan Falls


Eleven Loopers met at the Lynn Headwaters Park at 9:30am.  It was a beautiful sunny morning.  Part way along the route Jon, Bruce, and Janet K chose to take the higher route, re-joining the rest of the group at the debris chute, about half way to the Falls.

Upon reaching the Norvan Falls the group stopped for a lunch break.  There were a number of other groups enjoying the falls as well.  After lunch a few of the group had to try out the nearby suspension bridge before making the trek back to the starting point.

Although the graphic above indicates 12.47km, the total length of the hike was actually just over 14km (the GPS lost signal for part of the way).  Post-hike refreshments were enjoyed at the Black Bear Pub.