Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend Hike: Brandywine Falls Provincial Park

           This past Saturday found us headed up the Sea to Sky Highway once again- into the mountains that make our hearts happy and our feet itch to get moving. We sped past our favourite camping spot- Porteau Cove- made a quick stop for lunch provisions in Squamish and continued up into the hills towards Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. Just off the side of the highway lies an unassuming looking rest stop and picnic area- however the scores of tourist busses are a sure sign something spectacular is near by. The falls themselves are a short 300 meter stroll from the parking lot and are sure to impress- hence all the tour busses- folks hopping off- taking pictures of the falls and hopping back on their air conditioned luxury coaches- they have no idea what they are actually missing out on!

           While the falls are a must see- at 70 meters tall how could they fail to impress- the real magic lies deeper in the forest. A number of hiking and biking trails were recently added and the park expanded to over triple it's size to include habitat for a previously endangered frog. Pick and number of trails and you will not fail to be disappointed- away from the crowds we headed out through lush forest towards the Calcheak Suspension Bridge along the Cheakamus River. Pausing at the look out and gazing down the valley towards Daisy Lake was positively vertigo inducing- bringing me back to the reality that we are all so tiny and in the vastness of the mountains and the world in general- we are really just specks on the globe- humbling.

        The wind blew hot and dry up on the ridge- bringing to mind the Thunderbird who reigns the skies flapping his wings- as we continued on up into the power line cut the sun showed no hint of knowing it's the end of summer. While we didn't make it all the way to the suspension bridge the Littles did really well- it was really hot and they just weren't digging a forced march- so as soon as hiking stopped being fun we just turned around and headed back to the van.

          Both Littles collected their fair share of rocks on the hike- immediately noticing the chunks of lava along the side of the trails- much speculation about weather or not we were on an old volcano was bandied about. The were right- we were all interested to learn that the valley walls are compromised of at least four basaltic lava flows-almost 34,000 years old- amazing!

      With the hot sun beating down on our shoulders and the warm summer winds blowing down the valley it's hard to believe summer is coming to a close. Each time we head out in the sunshine from now on is like a gift- we can never be too sure when the rains will return. This hike was such a treat- so much of this area is unexplored by our family yet- so many hikes so little time!

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