You can’t blame a Vancouverite for wanting to get into the mountains come summer. Think about it: For six months the sun is a fiction, so when it does finally arrive in June we want to get as close to it as we possibly can, which means scads of people ascending the beautiful peaks that grace the North Shore.
And so it was that I headed up to Mount Seymour this past Sunday to get a little bit closer to that elusive sun, and check out just how much snow had melted after another long winter.
As you can see from the photos, winter is still hanging around on Mount Seymour, but luckily not so much that climbing to the top requires anything beyond basic hiking boots. For the most part, the trail is still snow-covered, but the going is relatively easy, and the abundant white stuff makes cooling off a snap when the sun is beating down on your sweating scalp.
Unfortunately, like hikers, mosquitoes are also out in force at this time of year, and if you’re planning on heading up the mountains with someone who isn’t quite ready to move quickly, you may regret it. Luxurious pauses on open rock faces to enjoy the view? Not so much. Relaxing while you dig into your leftover chicken sandwich? Think again.
With acres of snow melt collecting in a thousand little ponds, the bugs have ample breeding ground at the moment, and you’ll notice it as soon as you get out of your car in the parking lot. In other words: bring the bug spray.
Of note, we ascended at approximately 11 am, and found that by the time we returned to our car two hours later, the bugs had almost completely disappeared. It could have been the breeze that had picked up in the interim, or perhaps just the bugs taking a mid-day nap, but worth considering if you’re planning on heading up this coming weekend (or if you need a handy excuse for sleeping in for an extra hour on Sunday morning).
To me, though, Mount Seymour is a treasure in that the views are there almost the entire hike, with so many scenic vistas you could fill the memory card on your digital camera before you reach the top. With another week of mostly sunny and hot weather on tap for the Lower Mainland, the amount of snow on the trails of Mount Seymour will drop to an even lower level by the coming weekend, making it even easier for hikers.
As it stands, intermediate and higher level hikers will have no trouble making it to the First Peak and beyond, while more novice hikers might have some trouble with the incessant bugs and somewhat tricky footing and may want to wait until late July before heading up the mountain.