I absolutely love Cypress Provincial Park. Love it. We’ve enjoyed lots of hiking up there in the summers, and in the winter we have enjoyed snowshoeing and last year we even went sledding up there!
After last weekend’s hike being derailed by my sore muscles and unexpected-flatter-than-normal terrain, we wanted to do a real BC style hike this weekend! We chose St. Mark’s Summit, which is accessed by hiking the Howe Sound Crest Trail (East) from the Cypress Mountain downhill ski area.
This is one that I’ve been wanting to do for a few years! Here’s a view of the Lions from part way up –
It was a little difficult to find the trail head, but once we did, the trail was well marked, and offered a nice challenging hike for the day. We started before noon, and packed sandwiches up with us to eat at the top. It took us 1 hour 50 minutes to get to the top, and 1 hour 30 minutes to get back down.
The elevation gain listed on the Vancouver Trails website is accurate, but a little misleading, since there is a huge section of up and downhills, followed by a huge downhill before starting the switchback trail up the mountain to St. Mark’s Summit. So, the actual amount of uphill is more like 650 or so meters.
This trail was very rooty and the dirt was so dry it was slippery. I’ve done a fair bit of hiking and I have never actually bailed before, but I managed to bail 3 different times on this one – 2 times my shoe got caught on roots, and once, my ankle decided that it was not going to be doing it’s thing. I guess the third time, I managed to save myself from a full bail, and only landed on 3 fingers (unhurt, but with more dirt under my fingernails than I generally like). And each time was on the easier (read: non-switchback) terrain!
I think we did pretty well powering through, since we only too 2 30 second breaks the whole time (other than I quick lunch).
We didn’t stay at the top any longer than we had to, because the bugs were so bad. Even with bug spray, they were still biting.
See, proof I made it up –
The West Coast Crest Trail extends all the way to the Lions (you can see Mount Unnecessary in the foreground and the Lions in the back ground on this pic) –
The view from the top was totally worth the trek up the mountain. It was a gorgeous day for a hike. Every year we go on a hike or two up to the top of a mountain, and I always say we should do more hiking, but we never manage to. This year, I think we’re actually going to manage it – we have a few more planned already, before snowshoeing season starts!