In the winter when I’m backcountry skiing, of course I use ski poles. While many people use poles for summer walking, I haven’t.
My curiosity was aroused last week when, last week, the Warden of the Bowen Island Ecological Reserve escorted a group of us into that untracked little wilderness. High in the hills is a small and magical fen. While it was a bit damp underfoot, and very springy, I was surprised that we could walk on the surface of the bog.
At one point while interpreting the bog, the Warden took his walking stick and plunged it straight down into the peat. It was all plant-matter, and offered a minimum of resistance. He never reached the bottom of the fen.
I found myself asking about the sturdy walking stick that the Warden found useful all day. “Oh, it is made of Ocean Spray, and that is a common plant on Bowen Island.” Denis Lynn said that he was clearing out some by his house, and if he found a suitable piece, I could have it. Denis presented me with my new walking stick later in the week!
Yesterday, Sunday, was a stunning late-summer (ok, early fall) cool sunny day. A couple of us wanted to walk in the hills, and the closest big mountain to Bowen Island is Mount Strachan. Access is an easy drive from West Vancouver up the paved highway to the ski resort. There is a trail, but since the resort is closed, we decided to enjoy the views and open sky by rambling up the ski slopes.
From the From the broad ridge of the sub-peak, there is a fine view of my Bowen Island. We were amazed to see that all of the vast Georgia Strait was cloaked in shining veil of fog. Somehow, Bowen Island and Howe Sound were clear.
Not everyone who heads up this hill bothers to scramble over to the real peak. It is worth the extra time because the views are outstanding. In the winter, the ski resort considers it to be out of bounds, and that might explain people’s reluctance. Also, it is not easy walking. The descent from the sub-peak to the col is steep and slippery.
The climb up to the summit is a little bit easier.
The summit is a secure dome with outstanding views in every direction.
For the record: That walking stick is made of Holodiscus discolor, also called, ocean spray, creambush, and ironwood.