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.