October 14, 2009 | Tips from Us >
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The Grouse Grind is considered “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”, but the Stawamus Chief trail comes a close second. I know this because my thighs are still burning two days later.
This past weekend, three of us tackled the Chief to burn off calories from the previous night’s indulgent camping dinner (Kraft dinner, marshmallows, wine). I was looking forward to checking out the second peak route, as I’d only been to the first peak on previous Chief hikes.
The first and second peaks share the same trail for most of the journey. It’s steep, rocky and rooty. The trail was busy, but not packed, and there were lots of dogs hiking with their owners (patting friendly dogs is a good excuse for a break).
Near the top, the trail splits and the route to the second peak gets a little more challenging than the route to the first. Like the first peak, there are chains to help climb up and around the huge slabs of rocks, but they required a little more attention.
That being said, though, there were some children (maybe aged 7 and 10?) with their dad on the route; we stopped to give them a hand climbing the rocks and chains. They did great! It’s always awesome to see young kids out in the woods. They took it slow and steady and made it to the top with everyone else.
It took us an hour to hike up, and less time down. The trail was dry, but if there was a recent rainfall it would have slick, especially on the rocks.
The view of the water, mountains and Squamish was fantastic, and it was neat to see the first peak from the second peak. If you have the energy, I’d recommend the second peak over the first to avoid crowds. Feeling really energetic? There’s a third peak with even less people.
October 13, 2009 | Tips from Us >
Port Moody, Hiking
Find more information about Port Moody - Hiking
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Our good friend and colleague Mark suggested the Diez Vistas when asked for a recommendation on an intermediate hike in the area that would result in good exercise and a spectacular view. The Diez Vistas trail delivered on both and then some!
Leaving our car in the Buntzen Lake parking lot (free!), we headed up the trail on a glorious October Saturday morning. We were ahead of most of the hikers and had the trail to ourselves. Having done the Grouse Grind I was a bit aprehensive that this was going to be another "put your head down, one foot in front until you get to the top" climbs but I was pleasantly surprised that while it was no walk in the park, there were sufficient breaks from the switchbacks to look up and enjoy the trip.
The hike to the first peak (of ten thus the name Diez Vistas) took us just over an hour. The trail is well marked and maintained. There is a sneak peak view about ten minutes before the actual viewpoint so we kept going as the majority of the climb has been completed and the summit at 570 metres has been reached. As with all spectacular sights, we didn't actually see the view until we came around a large boulder and then it hit us. Indian Arm, Deep Cove, the City of Vancouver and as far as Vancouver Island were all within our vision. It was really something special.
We understand there are nine more viewpoints that meander the top of the ridge ending at the far end of Buntzen Lake but we chose to retrace our steps due to time restraints (and because a fellow hiker said that we had just seen the best one). Perhaps we'll get back up there again another day and do them all!