Select from list below to jump to a specific area on this site.
| Latest Posts |
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Frenchman Mountain - via Sunrise Pass, January 2023
In Vegas for a conference and snuck in a day prior to hike Frenchman Mountain. Located on the east side of the Las Vegas Valley, Frenchman offers outstanding views the entire LV metropolitan area including The Strip, Red Rocks, and Spring Mountains beyond. It hadn't been a particularly productive December and early January for us, save for an impromptu ski trip to
outside Golden, BC to close out '22 and ring in the new year. That said, with relatively marginal ski conditions prevailing through early '23 it was nice to get the heck out of dodge and enjoy the warm January sunshine of the arid southwest. Just might make a habit of it!
Anyway, we Uber'ed ourselves to the "trailhead" located off NV 147 at Sunrise Pass, hopped the gate, and started plodding up a gravel road that leads through a small valley towards a saddle visible in distance. The road is obviously used to service the telecommunications equipment up on Frenchman's summit and as such leads all the way there. At times the road is littered with loose softball sized rocks making for somewhat tedious travel and poses a hazard to one's ankles. Up n' over the saddle and down to a pass of sorts before resuming the grind now up to Frenchman proper. Couple summits there on the ridge about the same in height - we tagged both to be sure and then wandered around taking in the sights. Great views of the LV Valley and beyond as mentioned, south towards Henderson, east towards Lake Mead and north towards the Valley of Fire - gotta check that out one of these days! The military jets flying in and out of Nellis AFB added some noise pollution to the day, but it was awesome seeing them fly circles around us!
Unable to reserve an Uber pick up from Sunrise Pass as we were resting on the summit, we returned the way we came hoping for some cell service as we approached the highway. No luck in that department but managed to score a ride back to civilization courtesy of a local couple and their friendly dog. Dropped off at the first gas station we came across and found our way to a taqueria for a quick bite and cold beer while waiting for our ride back to the hotel. Salud!
Low hanging fruit on a lazy pre-ski season November day. Chilliwack's Mt. Thom makes for a short hike culminating with a decent view overlooking said "metropolis" with the mighty Sumas Mountain in distance. Cultus Lake is visible looking south as well as some partially obstructed views looking north across the Fraser Valley. Snow and ice on the trail necessitated the use of microspikes, thus rendering this excursion into what we affectionately term a "spike hike". Interestingly, the peak and Promontory Neighborhood directly below lies just upslope from a landfill complete with swirling clouds of seagulls feasting on the piles of trash. Though we couldn't see nor smell anything foul from the trailhead or summit, I thought this an unusual location for one of Chilliwack's up-and-coming suburban neighborhoods. But I digress. Hit up Hillkeep Regional Park on Chilliwack Mountain's summit on our way home for somewhat better views looking out towards the Cheam Range and peaks flanking the Chilliwack River Valley.
Oyster Dome - via Samish Bay/Connector Trail, November 2022
Headed south for a TJ's run justified by a hike in the Chuckanut Mountains near Bellingham. With fantastic views overlooking Samish Bay with the San Juan Islands beyond, we made Oyster Dome our objective for the day. This is a popular hike starting from Chuckanut Drive leading to a lookout from a subsummit of Blanchard Hill. Linking Samish Bay and Chuckanut Connector trails, it's a little over 5 kms to this point. We enjoyed the views in the warm sun, identifying the various islands laid out before us and reminiscing about our many kayaking trips there. A short thrash to the north from here yields a spot where there are also some decent views of peaks bordering the Fraser Valley, namely the Golden Ears Group, Robie Ried and Judge Howay.
As we still had time to burn and were hopeful for more views, we proceeded to the true summit of Blanchard Hill next. Not nearly as good as Oyster Dome as expected but the trail there does pass by couple lakes for a little variety. Then returned the way we came, making a short detour to the Samish Overlook to catch a stunning sunset over the Fidalgo Tidelands and Whidbey Island with Olympic Mountains in distance. No trip is complete without a hydration stop if possible, so closed out the day at Stones Throw Brewing in B'ham. Cheers!
Belcarra Mountain - via Springboard Trail, November 2022
Belcarra Mountain is the highpoint of the peninsula separating the mouth of Indian Arm from the eastern end of Burrard Inlet. While there are no views from the summit proper thanks to it being forested, there's a rocky outcrop nearby with great views (apparently) overlooking the area where Burrard Inlet turns into Indian Arm. I say "apparently" because fog robbed us this view, despite it finally burning off shortly before sunset. Interestingly, the summit area was free of fog, but the short descent to the lookout brought us below the cloud deck. Bummer! To make things more interesting, we made a loop approaching via Springboard Trail then right onto a lesser defined trail up n' over the summit and lookout, and returning via the 1986 World Round Hill Loop and Admiralty Point Trails. Anyway, no great objective but something to do on a lazy November day and keeping it close to home. Wrapped it up with a pit stop at Yellow Dog Brewing for apres!
Hunter Lookout - Hunter Lookout Road, November 2022
Hunter Lookout, Hunter Logging Road, Hunter Road Trail, whatever you choose to call it, is a glorified forest road near Mission, BC that culminates at a landing with a phenomenal view overlooking Stave Lake with Mount Robie Ried and Judge Howay rising conspicuously from the opposite shore. To get there, law abiding citizens must endure a boring walk along a muddy forest road about 4 km each way thanks to a gate and signs indicating that vehicular trespassing is prohibited. I wouldn't normally make a special trip for this, but it's all I could come up with to salvage the day after bailing on American Mountain near Hope, BC. Marginal snow coverage and annoying bushwhacking got the best of me, and by extension my hiking partner Kevin, despite the worst being behind us by that point. Live and learn. Went back for it the following May and had a much better time of it, but that's a story for another time.
Anywho, being pressed for daylight that November afternoon, I blew past the gate, conveniently ignoring the no trespassing signs and motoring up as far as the road would take us. As we were flying blind by this point, I missed the final left turn and instead proceeded into an active logging area with the sound of chainsaws and trees falling all around us. Should have been our first warning, but instead we parked and proceeded on foot in search of the lookout like a couple idiot tourists. Some views from here, but nothing close to advertised. A bunch of rubbish I was thinking to myself, and then right on queue a large truck pulls up the driver of which very much displeased with our presence. We leave immediately as commanded, but soon stop at a junction we suspected was the one we should have taken earlier. Parked here for some silly reason and hoofed the remaining ~1 kilometer of rocky road to reach the elusive lookout right at sunset. More idiot-tourist "oohs" and "aahs" action and posing for photos only to notice our "friend" in the big truck barrelling up the road towards us. We got a good talking to this time around and threatened to lock us behind the gate! Scurried down hoping not to draw his ire any further, adding insult to injury by badly rolling an ankle in the process of doing so...or in this case injury to insult!