Monday, October 31, 2011

Brother's Creek Loop

 A nice way to start a hike. At first look we thought these might be Chicken of the Woods, but after reading my reference book once we got home, I knew right away that they weren't. I'm guessing they are Velvet Foots (or is that "feet"), but without a more careful look I can't be certain. Mushrooms were abundant, and the edible we saw the most were Angel Wings, but we didn't collect any since they were quite damp and we had a long way to go. However, I thought if we had collected all along the way, we'd have quite a haul (a soggy haul).

Anywho...onto the hike. In the summer I had run part of this trail with my trail running group, and we had taken a side route that wasn't on the planned itinerary, but was a route that I remember commenting on how beautiful it was.
 db and I wanted to hike on Sunday, but the early morning rain made us a little lazy about heading outside so we took our time with breakfast and getting our day started. However, I was still up for a hike in rain or whatever weather was out there.
I remembered this side route we had run and looked it up, and found a nice loop hike listed that we could do in an afternoon. It also seemed like a good rainy day option since it wasn't about fabulous views or mountaintops.

The trail I was most interested in is called the Fire Access Road, which is actually the McNair Skidway.  "This trench is visible in several locations across the mountainside and was known as McNairs 'Fore & Aft' skidway.  In the early 1900's loggers pulled (skidded) logs down this trench by a steam powered cable system (steam donkey).  The logs were then transported to the waterfornt via a logging railway.(...) In the 1950's this old truck road was used to haul logs off the mountain." (from
 It's really not much of a road. It's a double track, rocky route that slowly ascends through a variety of forest up the mountain.

The weather was in our favor since the rain had stopped. It was foggy and damp, but we would remain mostly dry.

My interest to return to this trail was for the cedars. Once we left the Baden Powell trail and started up the "road" the forest was quite eerie. db suggested that the old stumps, logged in the early 1900s, reminded him of death (seems extreme, but it was eerie and we were thinking that it was a good Halloween trail). The fog amongst the tall trunks and these old massive stumps without much greenery around did make this section quite spooky.

The rain that we have had lately did mean there were several smaller streams along the way and at times the trail itself was a bit like a stream. We eventually reached the large cedars that I had remembered from my run in the summer (like the one two photos above). The trail was much greener along this section and very beautiful. Photos don't really give you a sense of the size of the trees so I didn't take many tree photos. db did take one of me hugging a tree (ha!), but I'll save that for another day.

The trail narrowed more and the scenery changed again and became more lush with more leafy foliage, and even more moss (is that even possible in the forests here?) and soon we could hear the creek.

This junction also leads to Lost Lake and Blue Gentian Lake, but we decided to stick with the chosen loop. We had had enough of climbing for one day, and knew that once you reach this point of the loop and cross the bridge the descent starts.
 The sound was incredible as the water rushed past us and over a small cliff. It was such a contrast to being in this area in the summer when it was completely dry. We didn't go to the creek then, but I'm sure it was probably just a small trickle since all of the other creeks we crossed at the time were bone dry.
 This is such a nice little marker and bridge. Most creeks aren't marked in this way, and I found it rewarding to see the sign because it felt like we had reached a destination. In better weather, we might have picnicked here.

Much of the descent followed a cliff edge that looked down at the creek, so we had the sound of rushing water as we negotiated our way through the soggy trail, and we had some impressive views of the creek at times. The Brother's Creek trail is very narrow and was quite damp, so we had to be careful with our footing and step around lots of muddy puddles.

At the next trail marker, we took the turn that had a narrow staircase down towards the creek and a bridge to cross it again. This is where we say this waterfall, and I remembered this section from the summer run because we had stopped here to break and have a snack. At that time the waterfall was a small cascade that seemed quite pretty. However, on this day it was a rushing waterfall, and we had to yell to talk to each other as we stood on the bridge. From the edge of the bridge we could feel the cool breeze generated from the water.

Our last ascent was up away from the waterfall (another staircase) before we started the rest of our descent that ended on a West Van. street where we had parked the car.

This was really a wonderful hike, and I think the damp weather made it even more beautiful.


mister anchovy said...

Great shots!

Wandering Coyote said...

That looks like an amazing hike and I love the mushroom shot! That's a lot of mushrooms!

Anonymous said...

That is breathtaking. Simply too beautiful. I want to go to there.