Hanes Valley - July 21, 2019
To me, Hanes Valley is the biggest anomaly of the North Shore mountains. There is no place I have visited before that looks so unique compared to the very common North Shore mountain ranges. Last Sunday, I went back and visited an old friend that I last step foot in 3 years ago.
Anna, Laura, and I set off at 9:45 on a hot Sunday morning. The highs were expected to be 28C in North Vancouver, so of course we chose a hike that was 75% shaded and close to a creek. The hike to Norvan Falls is one I have done many times and while not being super eventful its cool to share the history of the area with those who aren't familiar. I was lucky to grow up five minutes from Lynn Headwaters and I am fascinated by the place. We were surprised to only pass about 25 people headed to the falls on a gorgeous Sunday morning.
We crossed the bridge and started making our way of the highway and onto proper trail. It was still very cool in the shade and was very comfortable. The previous time I had hiked the trail I made the mistake of turning off to Lynn Lake. While there is a sign there and flagging, if you aren't paying attention you may accidentally head straight and keep going to Lynn Lake so make sure you take this turn off. I found some really cool mushrooms on the trail (old Chicken of the Woods and some violet cortz). After talking to my buddy Steve McKenzie, he has noted with all the summer rain this has been an exceptional year for wild mushrooms in the NS mountains.
Turn left here, go straight for Lynn Lake!
Much easier crossing this log when its dry
Chicken of the Woods past its prime
We crossed Lynn Creek just under 2 hours, and started making our way up in the forest into the base of the valley. The forest here turns into some beautiful old growth that dodged the saw back in the 1930s. I assume it was too difficult to get the wood out this far. It was nice to see some giants that also provided some great shade. After some peekaboo views, we arrived at the helipad and stopped for lunch. Anna and Laura were stunned by this area with the cascading mountains and lush greenery on the avalanche paths. With views of Burwell and Cathedral in the distance, it really feels amazing stopped in here. After a quick lunch, we joined the other groups of hikers making our way up the boulder field. the sun was a scorching this time of the day around 12;30 and definitely slowed down the progress. I think we reached the top of the valley around 1:45 after soaking in the stunning views.
Big tree 2.0
View of the Forks, but where are the Spoons??
Am in the Rockies?
Classic shot from below
From here on out to Grouse was a gong show with all the unprepared hikers going to Crown. I was expecting a NS rescue call out after seeing some of the people in flip flops and jeans coming down the steep side of Grouse. I quickly sidetracked to 'summit' Little Goat Mountain and then carried on with Anna and Laura.
Little Goat Mountain Summit, two minutes from the main trail
The tram lineup was at least an hour long so we filled up the water and headed down the BCMC, with our saved money. I think Laura's knee and Anna's ankle did not like that, but I had a good time! If you haven't done this loop, I highly recommend it. The valley is so quiet and calming and is a great hike for a hot day. I'm excited to tick off some of the mountains surrounding the valley this summer or next. Overall the time was 5:45 with plenty of breaks and at a moderate pace.
Great stuff. Nice to see your hiking companions enjoyed it too. That boulder field is much longer and more strenuous than it appears when you first see it emerging from the forest near the NSR cache. On my hike I did side trip up Crown from Crown Pass, then linked descent from Grouse via Mtn. Highway back to Lynn which left me completely bagged.
I love this photo!
Love your TRs, many thanks. This is another one I must get back to, after decades since my last excursion there.
"I was expecting a NS rescue call out after seeing some of the people in flip flops and jeans coming down the steep side of Grouse" ... yes, no kidding. What the heck are people thinking? Actually they're not thinking at all. I once had to rescue a german couple up Joffre lakes, when the weather turned. They had no water, no food, wearing sandals. cold, dehydrated and suffering apparent cardiac issue from the climb ... ugh ... I'm surprised more people don't die out there.
I will add it gets worse and worse every day. This week they had to completely shut Lake Louise for all but essential traffic. Park & Ride parking lot (huge one, 2km south of Louise exit) filled by mid morning. In Canmore Grassi Lakes are brutal right now - rows and rows of cars illegally parked all the way back to Nordic center. Not much better further up on the Icefields. You can't find space on parks reservation service for any back-country campground, even if your life depended on it (and then people go anyway, wild camp without permits, throw food and garbage all over the place). Etc etc.
You report refreshed my memory of doing that hike. except I started from the BCMC trail and finished coming down Lynn Valley some years back, helipad had a resident hornets nest then. Don't know if you came across it ... actually was part of a geocache hike with a friend ... Love the look and feel of that valley, awesome place.
Crossing the creek was bit of an issue at the time, when the creek was high and the log you crossed was actually almost under water. Used a rounded lot in the vicinity.
Great stuff. Thanks also for your epic HSCT report (!).
Linking back to Lynn via Mtn Hwy does make for a great run-and-hike loop. No need for shuttle, and added benefit of running the Headwaters Trail + descent off Grouse is you can cut quickly through some of those crowds...
For my money the boulder field below Elsay is such a nice companion/alternative to Hanes. Always a joy to hop up or down, and a great way to launch up onto Vicar Ridge and on to Bishop. A favourite fast-paced ‘loop’ is Seymour Parking - Elsay Lake Trl - Elsay Lake - Vicar Lakes - Bishop - Vicar Lakes - Vicar Ridge - Elsay - Elsay boulder field - Elsay Lake Trl - Seymour Parking. Fun in either direction, and you can sub in the ridge/gully Seymour - Elsay route if you want to make it a truer loop. I think different variations of this have been described in detail on CT.
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