Wanderess: /won-der-ess/ - A free-spirited woman looking for adventure & new experiences, getting lost to find herself.

St. Mark’s Summit Hike – Cypress Mountain, Vancouver: Howe Sound

Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction. ~ E. O. Wilson

We decided to do an early morning hike we have never done before, so we headed to Cypress Mountain on the North Shore, a local ski mountain in the winter. It is about a 30 minute drive from doorstep to the north parking lot on Cypress.

Out of the parking lot you head north toward the right hand side ski lift. You pass the lift and continue on past the ski slopes until you reach the water tower, the Howe Sound Crest Trail goes right there.

Make sure you follow the orange diamond tree markers. Three times we altered our path and luckily realized that we weren’t on the right trail as we hadn’t seen any markers in awhile. Each time we were lucky enough to be able to easily retrace our steps, but it is a gigantic forest, and I can see how Search & Rescue ends up there a lot trying to find lost hikers. Also, we texted our kids so they knew where we were headed. It’s always important to let someone know where you are going.

The trail has some nice easy trail spots, with a lot of climbing. It also has some tougher spots of climbing your way through tree roots and rocks, having to keep your eyes on the ground. Going up is easier, coming down these rooty paths is a lot harder. I would recommend bringing hiking poles.

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Our first viewpoint was of the initial area of Howe Sound, loved the wildflowers here. In the background of the first photo you can see the ski slopes of Cypress.

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Just listen to this 10 seconds of peace:

We made pretty good time, and when we arrived at the summit it began to rain. Luckily we brought jackets since it was a cloudy day. The view is amazing! The entire Howe Sound laid out before your eyes.

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Soon the sun started peeking out, as we sat and enjoyed the view while munching on granola bars and drinking water.

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Sitting atop the world:

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Soon we we had a little visitor:

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I started feeding him out of my hand (Dr. Doolittle at it again) and soon I had two or three chipmunks rushing me for bits of quinoa granola bar.

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One even actually bit my finger, I have video evidence: (careful, I think I swear)

Then we had another visitor who wanted in on the food action, this large, ominous raven:

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He’s about 2 or 3 times the size of a crow, and look at that beak! Wouldn’t want to get pecked by that guy. I loved how he hopped around:

We sat awhile longer, just taking in that view. I can’t wait to come back on a sunny day!

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Time to head back down the trail. Going down felt just as hard as going up. By the time were were back at the car I felt like I was going to fall down. Feel the burn!

We may drag the kids up and make them hike it with us next weekend.

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