Need to escape the fog? Head to Vancouver’s North Shore (Part 2)

Photo credit: bruce... | Flickr

Photo credit: bruce… | Flickr

For the last two weeks, downtown Vancouver has been lost in a blanket of fog: a unique meteorological phenomenon known as an inversion.  But at higher elevations, the sun has been blazing down, bringing a stretch of weather to the North Shore that’s more like August than October.  In my last post, I described a drive up Cypress Mountain to find the sun. Here’s a great hike to do once you’re on top.

Above the inversion on Cypress Mountain, I decided to take advantage of the suddenly summer-y weather with a hike to Hollyburn Mountain.  I caught the trail near the cross-country ski area, next to the B.C. Parks map board.

A few minutes later, I was sweating and feeling the burn of the sun as I ascended a steep gravel path along some power lines above the nordic ski area.  Fellow hikers – caught off-guard by the unexpectedly sunny weather – had tied heavy coats around their waists and were stashing fleeces alongside the trail to pick up on the way back.

The route dog-legs to the left at a warming hut used during the ski season.  I followed a winding path through an alpine meadow, riddled with small lakes and thick with berry bushes.  Eventually, the trail veers into thick forest and begins climbing steeply along a series of switchbacks.  Every so often at a clearing, I’d take a look back down at the fog far below and pity the poor city dwellers trapped beneath.

The final stretch of the hike gets a bit steep.  I huffed my way up the last few hundred metres of rugged, rocky trail and emerged from the forest onto the jagged 1,326-metre peak of Hollyburn Mountain.  About a dozen other hikers were there, taking advantage of the incredible weather and feeding the resident Whisky Jack birds out of their hands.

I sat down, wiped the sweat off my face and admired the unusual view.  Instead of Vancouver, the Georgia Strait and the Gulf Islands, there was only cotton candy – a puffy, perfectly flat layer of cloud, tinted pastel shades by the low angle of the sun, as far as you could see.

The Hollyburn Mountain trail is seven kilometres and moderately difficult, requiring about three-four hours round-trip.  Vancouver Trails provides a great description and map.

Anyone else been able to escape above the inversion? Let us know below. 

For more updates on Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.  

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