Today’s hike started around mid-morning and though we didn’t keep accurate track of the time it took approximately three hours in total.
With the destination chosen just minutes before leaving, we headed out to Brothers Creek on the North Shore. Following a hiker’s directions printed off from trailpeak.com we made our way to the entrance, already a fair way up the mountain. With a million dollar home sitting just below where the truck was parked, we headed past a giant sign erected by British Pacific Properties Ltd that essentially said “If you go past this gate and something bad happens to you, you promise never to sue us. If it’s clearly our fault, it’s still your fault. No suing allowed!”
The million dollar home had a thin layer of snow across its luxuriously-appointed patio, so our plans to avoid all snow on hikes seemed less than promising. The weather, on the other hand, was spectacular, with clear skies and temperatures hovering just below freezing.
The trail starts out as an emergency access road and as it continues upward through a number of switchbacks it narrows and becomes more of a regular hiking trail. The walking stick was definitely seeing some use here. The snow was thin and in patches to start and in some spots it was easier to actually walk on it rather than navigate across the icier bits of the path. As we continued to ascend the ratio of snow to exposed ground grew until we were up to our knees and in a few spots even deeper.
It is telling that the first four people we met (all on the way back, as there was not a soul up ahead of us) had snowshoes.
When we reached Brothers Creek itself the snow was piled up on the bridge above the railings. We elected to not continue on the loop that may or may not have taken us back to where the truck was parked and instead chose to take the 1.67 km detour off to a lake up yonder. It was here that we noticed the only real tracks in the snow were from snowshoes. We pressed on, the trail completely covered under deep snow, with only occasional markers on the trees serving as reliable guides. We came to a bridge of sorts. It was difficult to tell what it might have looked like in warmer months but now it was a tall and very narrow snow-covered line, with a cone-shaped hole in the snow leading down to icy water on one side and, well, just plain old icy water on the other. I talked Jeff into going first.
A little farther on we came to a point where it looked like our snowshoeing adventurer had some trouble determining where the trail was. Rather than crossing at the actual bridge over the creek here he had chosen to make his way on a loop along the edge of the creek and then cross through some brambles at a point where the creek narrowed. We spotted the bridge a ways to the southeast. It was very low and nearly obliterated under what was at least two meters of snow. Like the previous snow bridge, this one was very narrow but with the added bonus of not reaching all the way across, necessitating a small jump. Again, I volunteered Jeff to go first. I followed after, opting to use an extended walking stick from him to help complete the last step.
After making our way across the creek we found the snowshoe tracks came to an end. The actual trail, probably 10 meters or so away, was buried under virgin snow. We looked at our snowshoe-less feet and decided to turn back.
On the way back I totally psyched myself on the jump by spending way too much time thinking about it. I eventually made it, as the detour around it was too long. Convenience conquers fear!
We stopped at Lost Lake to have a stand-up lunch (nowhere to sit in those huge drifts of snow). Lost Lake was truly lost — completely buried under a thick blanket of snow. I forgot to take a picture. Oh well.
The return trip had us pass by three couples — a young man and woman with snowshoes, a couple of older men also with snowshoes and a pair of Australians, one of whom was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. He asked if there would be any ‘bairs’. We assured him that they were all too smart to come out in all this silly snow like us humans. The final group we met back at the entrance, a young threesome. One woman excitedly asked us if there was much snow up higher. When we replied that there was indeed snow aplenty she seemed positively delighted. Could not have been a local.
While it was a bit disappointing that we couldn’t complete the loop or get to the lake up top, it was still a great hike, with nearly perfect weather, some majestic old growth forest and a beautiful blanket of snow covering it all.
For reference, here’s the bridge at Brother’s Creek as seen in the summer:
And here’s what it looked like when we got to it: