Sunday, 31 May 2015

Explore BC: Mount Seymour Provincial Park


Well folks, I've finished my sixth hike of the year and it's not even June yet! Since I made a resolution to explore more of B.C. at the beginning of the year, I'm glad that I've been able to regularly go outdoors when I had the time and right company. In fact, some of my friends say that it looks like I'm constantly hiking from my Instagram or Facebook updates.

For my most recent adventure, we headed up to Mount Seymour Provincial Park on an overcast Saturday morning. We had hoped that the weather would clear up later in the morning; however, it was not until we were almost back in the parking lot that we began to spot blue skies and clear rays of sunshine. Therefore, as a result of the clouds, mist, and fog, we were unfortunately unable to obtain any real view of the area from the peaks we climbed.

On a clear day, Mount Seymour's peaks offer gorgeous views of Vancouver, Indian Arm, Grouse Mountain, and a large section of the Coastal Mountain Range. For this reason, I had really been looking forward to reaching the summit and taking in the panoramic view. Sadly, nature does not always cater to our demands and we had to deal with several off-putting aspects on this hike. 


As I previously mentioned, that particular day was overcast and muggy-- not especially the best hiking conditions, but not the worst either. While driving up the mountain to the ski hill parking lot, we couldn't see farther than a few metres ahead through the intense fog (which was more than a little eerie). Honestly, it felt like deja vu after our hike to St. Mark's Summit a few weeks earlier: we parked in the lot (which was a lot foggier than at Cypress Mountain), used the washrooms (which were a lot older and messier than at Cypress), and began our hike at the bottom of the ski hill. From there, however, the differences began to pile up immensely. 

For instance, the trail to Mount Seymour's three peaks were almost entirely through open spaces of rocky terrain, with only a few passes through forested areas. We really enjoyed refreshing change of scenery from our other hikes; as well, the rocks were easy and fun to climb! Sometimes, it felt like we were walking through an entirely different country (or the beginning scenes from the sci-fi movie Prometheus). 


While the trail itself was very interesting and fun to navigate, I had major complaints about the hordes of flies that constantly swarmed us whenever we weren't moving forward. In fact, we saw several well-prepared hikers wearing head nets-- I highly recommend them for anyone planning to hike Mt. Seymour unless you enjoy ingesting extra protein on your way up and down the mountain! I don't believe that even insect repellent would do much to prevent these flies from swarming you due to their sheer population numbers. Luckily, these flies mostly swarmed and only a few bit; nevertheless, I would recommend wearing a light long-sleeved shirt or jacket to avoid insect bites as much as possible. 


Unlike many other hikes, Mt. Seymour is a dog-friendly area and allows trained dogs to roam unleashed along the trail. We saw quite a few cuties sniffing and running around!


Due to the lack of view on this foggy day and the persistent flies, we did not spend more than five minutes at the top of the two peaks we climbed. As a result, the hike (which has an estimated time of five hours on Vancouvertrails.com) only took us three and a half hours. We would have gone to the actual summit of Mt. Seymour (the third peak) if my significant other hadn't been quite against it. Since he wasn't keen on a long hike, Eva and I felt too guilty dragging him along to push him towards the third and final peak. 


As happens on just about any adventure, things can sometimes go a bit awry. Luckily for us, it was nothing more serious than taking the wrong trail back down to the parking lot. Since the signs can be a little deceiving if you're not paying attention, we somehow managed to take the trail going towards to Elsay Lake (which, by the way, was a difficult trail). After going down the trail for about ten minutes, we realized that we were definitely not on the right path and headed back for another ten-ish minutes. The cardio workout that we got on that tougher trail was enough to get our hearts pumping!


There was still some snow yet at the top! We braved the flies long enough to get a few snaps.


My lovely hiking companion Eva and I. We can only hope that our next hiking expedition will be filled with less flies and more spectacular views!

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