Shawn and I had done Deep Cove to Grouse Mountain along the Baden Powell Trail back in 2011, so we decided we’d park at Horseshoe Bay and hike the Baden Powell Trail to Grouse Mountain.
We got to the trailhead (which is a small gravel parking lot to the right of where cars pay to get onto the ferry at Horseshoe Bay) and started off a 6.15am
Unfortunately, due to poor signage got off course a bit (note to anyone else doing this hike, stick to the trail next to the Hwy and steer left). Did a bit of bushwhacking and got back onto the Baden Powell trail. It was steep up right away. Then I heard a hoot. I thought it was just someone hooting further up the trail trying to be funny and decided for fun I’d hoot back. Then it hooted back at me, and I hooted back. We went back and forth for 5 or so minutes and then we looked up into the trees to see a bird flying towards us, at this point we figured it was an owl. Lost sight of it and continued hiking up the trail. The Shawn looks straight up and says “it’s an owl, it’s staring right at me” and then it flew off. We noticed another smaller owl flying after it. We hooted back and forth a bit and saw it flying through the trees a few more times following us. I’ve been hiking awhile and I have never seen an owl on a hike before. It was really amazing. Wish we could have gotten a photo but it was too dark, and the owls were too far away and too darn quick for us. Based on their size and colouring – we guess it was either a barred owl or a short-eared owl.
We’d read up on this hike beforehand and someone had reported that it was “VERY dangerous” so I was anxiously waiting for this dangerous part through scree. Got to the boulder field and had no problem. It was very steep. I definitely had to use my hands a lot, but I never felt it was dangerous, though on hindsight, it would have sucked to fall at any point during this section (falling on rock would hurt!). Then again,tripping or falling on most any hike would lead to getting injured too.. so this hike was no more dangerous than most others I’ve done
We finally popped out at Eagle Ridge with beautiful views
It was pretty much downhill from this point on and we ended up at the Lodge at Cypress Mountain. On the way there, Shawn saw some rustling in the bushes and said “there is a bear in there”, at which point I quickly grabbed my bear spray at the ready..and we carried on away from the bear slowly. Then we had a lunch in the shade at the Lodge.
We’d been hiking for 6 hours at this point. aired out my feet and changed socks! Then we started heading for the trail to continue on.. and I heard “excuse me” from a distance and heard a tourist from the lodge restaurant inform us we were bee-lining straight for a bear. We skirted the bear and headed on our way..
Pretty much a rooty trail from this point on, no views to be had.
We popped out at the British Properties, never been there before. Very large expensive homes. We had been aiming for Cleveland Dam (not too far from Grouse Mountain), but due to confusing signage didn’t quite get there. We hopped onto the transit down to Marine Drive, got onto bus 257 to Horseshoe Bay and it pretty much dropped us off 200meters from our car. We’d been hiking for 11 hours today and covered 25 kms. I think next hike will probably be somewhere more remote!