Peak Sports Mailbag: Hiking

Ask and answer both SFU and non-SFU related sports questions. This week: Hiking.

Photo credit / All Trails

By: Dylan Webb, Sports Editor

Hello readers of The Peak sports section,

Our Peak Sports Mailbag topic this week is hiking and our host is The Peak’s Sports Editor and hiking aficionado, Dylan Webb. 

Thanks so much to all of our readers for submitting their hiking-related questions, and my apologies if your question didn’t make it into this week’s edition. Usually, the Mailbag host will only answer three questions. Don’t worry though, as all questions submitted count for an entry into the raffle draw whether or not they are addressed in the Mailbag. Now, onto the questions!

Question 1: What’s the most dangerous hike in Canada? – Gab

Somehow, the Grouse Grind has consistently been ranked one of the most dangerous hikes in Canada, and even the world! I think this is an absurd conflation of difficulty with danger, and that a lot of the danger of hiking comes with lack of preparation. Based on this, I’ll have to go with the Canol Heritage Trail in the Northwest Territories. I chose this hike given that it’s firmly embedded in grizzly bear country, it takes 22 days to complete, and it requires multiple major river crossings. Numerous pre-arranged food drops are required to complete it as well. 

Question 2: Do you have any tips/advice for hiking with dogs? – Jen 

Answer: This topic is wildly debated amongst the hiking community, with some valuable perspectives on all sides of the discussion. The primary point of contention is the on-leash vs. off-leash debate. While I was an off-leash hiking proponent early in my hiking career due to the freedom and excitement it allows for our canine companions, I’ve definitely changed my position on this as I’ve moved on to undertake more significant hikes that take us deep into the wilderness. 

While off-leash hiking may be suitable in a particular set of circumstances that includes a high level of obedience on behalf of the dog(s) and a hiking trail that is not significantly populated by wildlife or other hikers, I’m now a strong proponent of on-leash hiking. 

After traversing many trails with my pooch friend, I’ve come to realize that dogs can gain just as much enjoyment hiking on-leash, without many of the dangers, such as wildlife and steep slopes, associated with off-leash hiking. If you keep your dog on-leash, the dangers associated with hiking are greatly reduced, if not eliminated. And don’t forget, dogs get hungry and thirsty too, especially when they’re exerting themselves, so bring some snacks and water for yourself and your dog friend. 

Question 3: I live in Pitt Meadows and commute to SFU. What are some of the best hikes closer to where I live? – Sam

Answer: There are two hiking locations I’d like to highlight here. I say hiking locations, not hikes, because the two areas I note here contain multiple hikes of varying difficulty. The first is the Widgeon Valley National Wildlife area that includes the Widgeon Falls and Widgeon Lake hikes. These hikes are awesome because of the abundance of wildlife, and the fact that both hikes also require a short, enjoyable canoe ride. The Widgeon Falls hike is best defined as an easy hike, as it takes only a couple hours round trip. 

On the other hand, the Widgeon Lake hike is best described as extremely difficult. You must adhere to a very tight schedule and be in extremely good physical condition to complete the Widgeon Lake hike in one day, but I’d definitely recommend making it an overnight camping trip so you can enjoy the journey without rushing. 

The second is Pinecone Burke Provincial Park. There is an enormous variety of possible hiking routes contained in this park, with the Coquitlam Lake Viewpoint hike being my personal favorite for its unique blend of epic views, moderate difficulty, and reasonable travel time (three to four hours round trip). 

If you would like to participate in future editions of the Peak Sports Mailbag and be entered in a raffle for an end-of-semester prize, here’s what you can send to

  • Sports-related questions that our weekly host will answer
  • Weekly theme ideas to guide our questions

Or: sign up to host the Mailbag (and get paid)!

Thanks to all of you SFU sports fans for blowing up my inbox!

The next original Mailbag theme is: kyudo

The kyudo Mailbag host is: Nicole Magas

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