Every year, when the snow starts to fall on the mountains that surround Vancouver, British Columbia, a large group of us head for the hills. Literally.
We grab our snowshoes, pack several stoves and hotpot pans, separate ingredients into vegetarian, meatatarian, and pescetarian selections, and trundle off for an epic dinner-in-the-snow. This time we chose Mount Seymour; named the #1 Resort for Snowshoeing in North America by Snowshoe Magazine.
While Mount Seymour has a variety of dedicated snowshoeing trails, and also offers guided snowshoeing tours, we opted to follow one of our favourite summer hiking routes on the mountain and headed westward from the main parking lot towards Dog Mountain.
Supplies were parcelled out amongst the guests and crammed into backpacks. As always, we are sure to practice No Trace camping techniques and pack out everything we pack in.
First Lake, about one kilometre from the main lodge, makes the perfect spot to host a large outdoor dinner party.
The lake freezes solid and provides a vast open area for dogs to race about on, with small hills on either side for little kids (and big kids!) to roll down.
While one group began preparations for dinner, another headed for the Dog Mountain viewpoint and little extra pre-dinner exercise. The trails are well packed and light-weight snowshoes (available for rental from Mountain Equipment Co-op in downtown Vancouver) make for a pleasant and easy hike. For those seeking more of a challenge, head off along the ridge in the deep powder. A great way to tire out the legs (and those of your four-legged friends).
Once you reach the viewpoint, keep an eye out for the very large, well-fed crows. They will happily eat any leftover snacks you care to offer as they pose for photos. There are chubby chickadees as well and Whiskey Jacks that will land on your outstretched hand.
After the hike, it was time for warming bowls of hotpot, and nips from thermoses of hot chocolate (and perhaps a few flasks for those of legal drinking age).
Then a snowball fight or two… (for the photographers among you, all the snow and occasional overhead fog can provide a natural ‘light box’ effect – be sure to bring your portrait lens)
And finally, home along the trail to the warmth of the car. Can you believe all this is a mere half hour drive from downtown Vancouver?
JerryBeagle, however, likes his car rides…
This is the first in a series about snowshoeing on Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains – see also Snowshoeing in Vancouver: Cypress Mountain
Snowshoeing in North Vancouver