Saturday, October 29, 2011
MOUNT HARVEY + HSCT
Last Tuesday was an epically nice day! I knew that THIS DAY was a special one and had to be taken advantage of. Peter and I try and get out hiking on the Howe Sound Crest Trail (HSCT) every year for our anniversary, however, we failed to do it last year and I was eager to get it in before the snowfall. We normally run/hike the HSCT from Start (Cypress) to finish (Porteau Cove) however, this year we decided to switch things up bit.
(This was cool, the tree had grown over the rope...now that's what I call secure!)
(hiking the trail en route to the summit of Harvey)
(On the summit of Mt. Harvey)
We began our adventure in Lions Bay with a steep ascent up towards Mt. Harvey. This was a crazy steep trail, in fact, if the trail were any steeper we'd be climbing! We hiked steadily for 2.5 hours before we reached the summit. Trust me when I say that the uphill challenge was worth it. The view of Howe Sound and the surrounding area was magnificant. I never seem to bore of this landscape.
(The highest peak is the one we did, the smaller one is called Harvey's Pup!)
From there, we descended steeply towards the HSCT. It was a bit chilly up top and the footing was a little frosty, thus we were midful of every step, as falling would not be ideal (if you know what I mean). From there we stopped for a snack at the Magnesia Meadows Hut, which was built in 2008 by a group of West Van High Secondary school students. There was a Journal inside and we wrote a little blurb about our day and read over some of the others from days/months previous.
They day was so stunning that it was hard not to want to linger in the sunshine. However, I had somewhere to be at 6:30pm so we kept walking gingerly along. Normally, we run these trails (where running is an option), however, today, we hiked and simply enjoyed and soaked in the surroundings. We then descended down towards Deeks Lake. The colour of the lakes were not as turquoise as they are in the summer but still beautiful nonetheless. The last time we ran this trail we were with a group of friends (september 09') and we all stopped to jump in the lake to cool off. But today, the lakes were covered with a layer of thin ice and I was content just imagining what it would have felt like.
Before long we were on the long, wet, and slippery descent down towards Porteau Cove. We arrived there 8 hours after we began (a whole work day!). It felt so awesome to be outside for the entire day. And the kicker was that it snowed up there the next day!!!!! For some reason, that made my decision to seize the day even sweeter.
(There was still lot's of snow left over from last winter!)
I was pretty bagged after that hike, but I lead a Tuesday night Speed work session for the Mountain Madness trail clinic. Good thing I am the coach and I can make-up whatever workout I want. That day we did 10 x 1 min intervals. Short and sweet but effective! I was surprised how much pep I had left in my step after being on my feet all day.
I have had so many great memories on the HSCT and look forward to many more to come! If you love mountain running and enjoy great adventures, this is a trail not to be missed. Allow 6 (fast)- 8+ hours to run/hike it. Prime months to run this trail is August, Sept, and/or October.
Next race up is either the Whistler 50 mile and/or Deception Pass 50km.
See you in the trails!
(All Photos were taken by Peter Watson)