Wednesday, October 28, 2015

And It Begins...

With some trepidation, I'm about to dive into production on my much anticipated hiking guidebook to Squamish. I've spent almost three years researching this project, doing as many of the local hikes as possible, and feel as though the time has finally come to put pen to paper, so to speak. Although this past summer was hot and smokey, it was generally very dry which allowed me to tie up most of the loose ends in my research and add to my collection of guidebook images.

The scenery in this area may be lovely, but one thing I've learned as I've worked to gather hiking data is you've got to be willing to push far to get the best views. Since we live at sea level, getting into the alpine is a task. It typically involves a long, steep slog through coastal forest or an aggressive ride up a forest service road in a high clearance 4-wheel-drive vehicle.

As many of these images show, we certainly have an abundance of fresh, clean water in this part of the world. In the heat of summer, nothing beats hiking into the alpine to cool off with a refreshing swim in a pristine mountain lake. We did plenty of that this summer along with purchasing a canoe to explore the lakes and waterways at the lower elevations.

Although it's far outside of the scope of the hiking guidebook, one of the best trips I did this summer was a climb up Mamquam Mountain with my friend Casey - the views we got from this area were outstanding. Mamquam is one of the iconic peaks in Garibaldi Park and a summit I can actually see from my house. Standing on top was very satisfying.

Pam and Elise have provided company on a great number of research trips, however I find going solo has it's advantages, too. When travelling alone, I can move at my own pace and linger for the best photographic conditions. Sometimes I find myself purposely travelling in circles to determine the best trail or hiking route, a tactic not favoured (or tolerated) by most hiking partners!

I've also enjoyed seeing these areas changes throughout the seasons. Spring is a time of snow-covered slopes and bright skies, summer brings waves of blooming wildflowers and fall sees the slopes turn orange and yellow as the alpine foliage prepares for winter.

Now that October is about to end, the temperatures are dropping and the serious winter rains have begun. The hiking season may be winding down, but with any luck the mountains will see more snow than last year, at least that's what the skiers are hoping for!

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