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It was looking like this week-end was going to be a bust for enjoying the back-country. Both of my regular companions were unavailable one due to spouse demands the other due to a work-place injury which may keep him off the roads for a few weeks. So what was one to do? Well I do have two other sons, one of which had just started a two week vacation. So I booked Nick in and off we went. He isn’t experienced with driving the FSR’s so this gave me my chance to visit the park again. Nick always enjoyed it there so it was a win-win location for us.
Being close and easy to reach we decided to leave around 10AM and be on the trails before 11:30. Well our goal was easily met if the traffic and road construction were under control but they were not. The Freeway leading up to the Port Mann Bridge was backed up for a couple of miles and then the rest of the highway from the bridge to Cassiar Street was slow. So what should have taken around 15 minutes took more like 45! I really don’t like waiting on the parking strip!
Eventually we arrived in West Vancouver and stopped at the small mall where we picked up a few items for lunch. It was here that Nick informed me that I would need to do the rest of the driving! I guess the traffic got the better of him. We finished our purchases and quickly made our way down the hill to the park. Being near noon it was already quite full, which was a major concern I had about coming this late in the morning. But as we arrived at the top section of the parking area, we found a spot that had recently opened up and we grabbed it before anyone else tried – it helps being in a big truck!
With parking settled we did a quick radio test to determine what would work for us, my hand-held into the UBC repeater was what we settled on. Once we organized our packs and I grabbed each of us a walking stick, we were off to the start of the Arbutus Trail. These eastern trails are much less used than the west side trails and so it gives one a more secluded feel to the park which is always enjoyable to me. We made our way past some lovely large trees that provided cool shade for our hike as it was now past noon and starting to get rather hot. The clouds that covered the whole sky when we left home were now quite gone and the temperature was rising rapidly.
We continued along the trail until we reached the rocky point on the south-eastern end of the park, this area is named – Eagle Point . I really quite enjoy this section of coast and when we arrived we were quite alone but as we ate our lunch several other groups came by to enjoy the view. I took a number of shots of the rocks and tidal pools. There were quite a number of boats crossing the bay from majestic sailboats to fast noisy power boats. I really would like to get out on the water again.
After lunch we continued along the trail to the main camp area of the park where large crowds were gathered. I took Nick to the traditional view point looking down on the Lighthouse where I took a single picture of it. Then it was off along the Shore Pine Trail to Jack Pine Point (also called Shore Pine Point). We arrived at the point and made our way to a section of the rock with a great view of the lower rocks and the entrance to Howe Sound. It really is a spectacular location. I noticed that many of the Arbutus trees were showing severe stress due to the lack of rain this year. Some had died or at least they looked like they had. It is a shame as they seem to be fairly slow growers as they cling to the rocks. We stayed here a while as we rested from the hiking so that we could get a good dose of the beauty and fresh air.
After we had our fill, we set off along the trail for Juniper Point where I have taken many amazing photos over the years. Along the trail we met an overly energetic dog which the owners had to keep calling back to them, I’m sure it did the hike a dozen times to their one. Soon we came to the Juniper Point trail and shortly into it Nick pointed out a tree stump that when alive had grown in some very interesting shapes. Once at the point we joined a group of visitors and rock climbers. It really was far too popular for my liking. But then it is good that so many are now enjoying the great view from the rock cliff.
We took a short rest here and I gathered a number of additional shots. My favourite tree was still perched on the rock face looking much as it has in the past. It sure would be a shame if it was gone as it adds the character to the place. Once done with the photos we returned to the trail and continued on to the truck. Nick was definitely glad to be back, he had reached his limit for the day. It took only a short while to pack up and then I had the opportunity to drive us home. The drive actually went very smoothly - only the one slow-down between Cassiar and Boundary roads, but the other direction was not so fortunate. Once home we unpacked and relaxed. It was a nice trip and I enjoyed the return to the park. It was the lighthouse radio week-end so I guess I should have done some HF work from the lighthouse but I wasn’t really prepared for that and will need to plan for it next year.