Monday, September 28, 2009

Hanes Valley

School's trucking right along...somehow my first midterm is already next week!! Ridiculous

Anyway, there are sometimes I wonder if it might have been easier just to go to school in Ontario. Most of the time though, Vancouver/BC definitely stacks higher in the plus tally. I decided this year I wanted to try and take a little more advantage of those pluses (and do something besides ride my bike) so I joined the Varsity Outdoors Club.

Saturday I headed out for my first hike with a friend and met up with 10 others from VOC to do a 20km hike that involved ~1200m in elevation gain...and we were told up front that over the first 10km we would only go up 300m.

The first 10k was a relatively tame, maintained trail up to Norvan Falls that I had actually done last year.

Along the first bit of trail

Norvan Falls

Things got a little more exciting after that with a river crossing (although the water was low enough for us to use the rocks rather than shimmying across a log) and a very swingy suspension bridge.
Suspension bridge

After a break for lunch we started our main elevation gain of the day up a valley of skree. Half way up we were all definitely panting and the group had split in half. Definitely was a bit of a scramble, but was probably the funnest part of the hike. Lesson of climbing skree however was to not go in a tight single file...had a couple "ooops sorry rooock!" moments. After climbing up the skree section of Hanes Valley we still had a little more climbing to do before we reached the top of what I think was the Crown Pass. We were rewarded with an amazing view at that point out over a few mountains. Pretty cool feeling being so isolated so close to such a big city. At that point I think we were probably 5 hours in and just had a bit of up and down to get over to Grouse Mountain where most of us took the Gondola down (one keener decided to hike down that side, but I was pretty satisfied with 6 and a half hours of hiking).

clearly enjoying the skree

Back down the valley

At the top

At the top of the valley

Looking back over to UBC from the top of Grouse

Two captive grizzlies they have as a tourist trap @ the top of Grouse

Aaaand to top it all off we got to Grouse just in time to watch their "Lumber jack" show while we waited for the others to make their way up... no complaints from any of the girls.

Time to buckle down with school a little bit and actually try and learn some vertebrate names and phylogeny and chemical stuff. Next adventure is going to be Thanksgiving Weekend. VOC does their "Long Hike" that weekend up in Squamish which is actually a day of rock climbing instruction, followed by a day of hiking or rock climbing. Should be fun... I got dragged out to the gym today so did some bicep curls n such in the hopes that I'll actually be able to hoist myself up the rock face. Being a cyclist has certain disadvantages...

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