If you are in Vancouver and crave a quick gulp of alpine scenery, the North Shore Mountains can deliver. But you must be ready for some exercise. Brunswick Mountain, at 1788m, is the highest of the giants next door. Most of the 1550m ascent is through the trees, but once you pop out of them, the views are stunning: steep cliffs with the turquoise ocean below, speckled with islands. Even though you are close to the city, Vancouver is out of sight, which gives a distinct feeling of remoteness.
I picked up Madeleine and Asaf in the city and we drove to the trail head at Lions Bay, a posh little village just outside Vancouver. We started up into the trees, first on a narrow gravel road and then on a trail, which was easy to follow. After an initial climb, the trail mellows out for a while, just enough for a good breather. The air was very moist and the sky was white and foggy, and we were hot and sweaty. The forecast called for clearing around noon, and I was hoping that for once it would be correct.
After a few hours of hiking we finally left the forest, scrambled up some steeper sections and arrived to the summit ridge, where we spotted a baby. This nine month old baby had been carried up by his mom, kudos to her. As I followed the ridge to the summit, my friends appeared to be floating atop a sea of clouds. The sun had appeared, sort of, and the views were starting to clear: we could see Mount Hanover, Deeks Lakes and a piece of the Lions. We had a lengthy lunch and a short nap on the summit, in the sun. By the time we were ready to leave, the views had cleared enough that we could finally see the views I described above: azure coloured waters, which reminded me of days long ago in Thailand.
The descent went by, and I think my friends were beginning to think that bringing hiking poles (as I had) was perhaps not such a bad idea. I had been to Brunswick Mountain once before, but it was a complete white out, so I was sure happy to see the views this time. A friend once claimed that reaching a summit in bad weather (or failing to), is nothing to be sorry about, it is just a good excuse to come back. Then again, even now that I’ve been to Brunswick Mountain and seen the views, I don’t really need an excuse to return…