Drive up to Manning on Friday night and watch the Perseid meteor shower near the top of Lone Mountain (i.e. start of Heather Trail, beyond Cascade Lookout). In the morning, hike the Heather Trail through the flowering meadows, deviating to summit Three Brothers (aka First Brother), Second Brother, Third Brother and Fourth Brother.
Google Earth birdseye:
Google Earth 3d:
I wanted to get far away from the Vancouver light pollution and watch the Perseids somewhere with a good view of the sky. Since I've been meaning to check out the Brothers' area, and I knew you could drive way up the mountain, Manning Park seemed the ideal spot.
A surprisingly quick drive up from Vancouver Friday after work had me arriving at the upper parking lot shortly before the last light of the day was fading. I watched the skys for an hour or two - couple of dozen meteors, making it a somewhat disappointing meteor shower as compared to previous years.
Tried some long exposure night photos, but since my point and shoot maxes out at a 15 second exposure, I can only do so much.
You're only going to see something if you view these in a dark rook:
Up early Saturday morning to start hiking. The sunrise from up high was beautiful:
Google Earth 3d - parking lot to Buckhorn Campground:
It was already warm and the bugs were out, but a breeze kept things cool and kept the bity things in check.
It's a very well made and graded trail, the first stretch descending from the parking lot and making its way through the forest to the Buckhorn Campground.
A deer was eating at the side of the trail and eyed me:
Google Earth 3d - Buckhorn Campground to First Brother junction:
Past the campground, the trail starts climbing and soon enters the subalpine. My timing was perfect, as the meadows were in full bloom everywhere.
First views of Three Brothers (aka First Brother):
Getting closer to First Brother:
Google Earth 3d - First Brother ridge:
At the Heather Trail-First Brother junction I swung right and headed for the Brother.
More meadows on the climb:
Looking back on the First Brother ridge:
The ridge was easy going and I quickly reached the summit. Kept going a bit further along the ridge to get some more views. First Brother summit from further along:
First Brother summit:
Ridge to Second Brother and Third Brother:
Video 360 Panorama - Three Brothers (aka First Brother) summit:
This has to be one of my favourite panoramas. Taken from a little further along the ridge and showing First Brother summit, you can see the entire hike - from the starting point far left to the further Brothers summits to the right:
Google Earth 3d - First Brother to Second Brother:
I was surprised that the trail to First Brother was a there-and-back from Heather - there was no loop. One wasn't needed though, since the alpine meadows made for easy going. I retraced my steps off the First Brother ridge and then turned right and followed the mellow ridge over to Second Brother.
Second Brother summit:
Two lakes below Second Brother:
Panorama - Second Brother:
Google Earth 3d - Second Brother to Third Brother:
Again, no trail here but easy going meadows. View to Third Brother:
I dropped off Second Brother and aimed for the col between Second/Third. A very meadowy area, extremely lush and with probably the highest concentration of blooming wildflowers I've ever seen.
Video 360 Panorama - wildflower meadows:
The climb up the Third Brother was easy, although I must have been feeling the constant high altitude as I needed frequent brakes to catch my breath and slow my heart. Soon on the summit:
Fourth Brother from Third Brother:
Video 360 Panorama - Third Brother summit:
Google Earth 3d - Third Brother to Fourth Brother:
Unfortunately, you can't make a b-line from Third to Fourth Brother due to steep cliffy areas off of Third Brother. I therefore followed the gently east sloping shoulder off Third through meadows to rejoin the Heather Trail right at the Third Brother-Cousin Peak col.
More meadow rambling:
Dropping more elevation on the other side of the col, I eventually past the Kicking Horse Campground and kept going. Followed the Heather Trail until it got to its closes to Fourth Brother, then swung right and climbed up still more meadows.
The Fourth Brother summit required a brief boulder scramble:
Fourth Brother summit:
Looking back on the previous Brothers:
Looking forward along Nicomen Ridge:
Unnamed lake below Fourth Brother:
Google Earth 3d - High Brothers' traverse and lower Heather Trail:
Took a slightly different line off the summit and rejoined the Heather Trail.
Meadows back to Kicking Horse Campground:
Third Brother - Cousin Peak col:
Regaining the elevation back up to the col wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but by this time it was getting hot.
Taking the Heather Trail and flanking around 3rd/2nd/1st Brother was entirely in blooming meadows, and was beautiful:
There were many butterflys, but only one stayed still long enough for my camera:
Video 360 Panorama - meadows and wildflowers on the trail:
Panorama - meadows and Heather Trail:
Lots of people on the trail by this time, surprisingly the backpackers far outnumbered the day hikers. Despite the mellow and well graded trail, my legs/feet were really feeling it by the end... I think it must be because the trail is a hard hard packed dirt, rather than the more cushiony loamy forest that I'm used to. Either way, it was a great hike, and I'll be back there at some point to do some more exploring.