I Didn’t Know Snowshoeing Can Be So Much Fun!

By:  Scouter John Wong

As an outdoor activities coordinator together with Hazel Wong and Jeremy Tam within the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group, I take the scouts out into the forests and onto the mountains throughout the year. Because of my Kilimanjaro Summit trip this November, the season started later than usual. However, we made it up by having 2 snowshoe trips back to back on December 26 and 29.

The first one was meant for beginners doing the flatlands around the Yew Lake in Cypress Park in West Vancouver (WV). The second one was a more challenging one going up to the peak of Black Mountain and back. We met at the St David’s United Church, WV and car pool up the mountain to reduce our carbon footprint.

Make sure you check out our trip photos at the bottom!

December 26, 2012 Snowshoeing Trip in Brief

I always feel good when I take new people up the snowy mountain because it is a magical place when we can become young again. In disguise by the great fun, we get to reconnect with Nature once again lost by urban living, and just as important, to learn the skills of safety and survival in the Great Outdoors.

Cypress is a great venue because of its proximity to the city and where Canada won its first gold medal as a host country of the 2010 Winter Olympics. During the winter season, the weekends are always busy and Dec. 26 was no exception. We got our free back country pass and headed toward the trailhead where there is an avalanche warning sign because, every year, people gets lost, hurt, or even died when they don’t respect the mountain terrains and weather systems.

Not far from the start, there is a fork in the road. The one to the left goes up to Black Mountain and the one to the right goes to Yew Lake and Howe Sound Crest Trail. The snow on the trail is already compacted due to use. I warned the group about tree wells and creeks where many people get into trouble when they go off trail without knowledge.

It was snowing at the start but it got lighter as we go deeper into the woods. We would occasionally have photo-op and snack/water stops along the way. It does not take long to feel the remoteness of the wilderness as we see more white than green and the sound of the skiers fade away. I often go for silence in a moving meditation, but today it was all fun and laughter.

After a while, we exited the forest onto the Pump House Road and headed towards the Howe Sound Crest Trail. At the fork, instead of going uphill to the Lions/Bowen Lookout, we went straight and turn left into the forest again. This time, the real fun begins as we go off-trail which the snowshoes are designed for. We go through narrow passages between trees, up and down the bunny bumps, and meander from view point to view point. The fresh air and beauty is breath-taking. We are so alive and in the present moment that all stress melted away.

We went back into the Old Growth Forest before finding a good spot for lunch. Jeremy got his gas stove out and made delicious noodles. I use a shovel to make a bench with foam insulation for the girls. Other did snow angels and had fun with snowballs. As always, the whisky jacks pay us a visit and we rewarded them with nuts and bread crumbs.

After lunch, we crossed a lake and reconnected back to the trail back home, but not before another snowball fight. Yes, we all became kids again. It is a magical place indeed.

Come play with us next time!

“We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing…”Benjamin Franklin

December 29th, 2012 – Snowshoe Trip

Anthony Lam

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