By: Kim Regala, Staff Writer
I’m no fan of snow in the city and on the roads just as much as the next gal, but there is something enthralling about experiencing snow up high in the mountains. As this cold season finally reaches its end, I decided to venture off one last time into the winter forests of the Mount Seymour Pump Peak trail. With a backcountry route known for potential avalanche activity, this hike is the perfect mix of thrill and escapism and brings a newfound version of peace and quiet outside of city life.
The trail can be found to the left of the Mount Seymour ski run, just past the Dog Mountain trail. Looking at the path from below, the incline appears neverending and certainly intimidating. However, as soon as you get past this first struggle, the entire trail is fairly manageable, with a balanced amount of uphill and downhill slopes. While the tedious climbs definitely tested my non-existent calf strength, the occasional downhill sections that soon followed offered a nice break from the mild strenuousness of the uphill portions.
Mostly surrounded by tall, snow-covered trees, the whole scene cultivated a calming and peaceful atmosphere. Nearing the halfway mark, the trees eventually cleared out to reveal the various ski runs that surrounded the mountain. This was quite a contrast to the quiet nature sounds I experienced on the earlier portions of the hike, but it was equally entertaining to witness skiers and snowboarders passing by. At the same time, it created a nice distraction from feeling all of the exhaustion from the journey.
After nearly two hours, I reached a sign that read, “marked access ends here,” which informed me that I was at the end of my hike. At this point, the thick fog had already settled in, covering any chances of seeing a mountain top view. Mount Seymour is widely recognized for its gorgeous lookout of the Lower Mainland and Coastal Mountain Range in the summer and, frankly, I was initially disappointed that I couldn’t witness it all. However, as I sat there in the midst of all the heavy mist — the path I’d just come from no longer visible — the more I admired the complete stillness of the space. To say that it felt like I was floating on a cloud would be no exaggeration. And, while I’ve certainly been on plenty of summer hikes that offered a similar sense of serenity, it was in this completely isolated, snow encased environment that I felt the most disconnected I’ve ever been from everyday life.
As if that wasn’t rewarding enough, the journey back solidified my love for this trail. Coming down the mountain, those sections that had been steep inclinations on the way up had transformed into endless snow slides on the way down. I spent most of my descent on my butt rather than on my feet as I swiftly drifted down the trails.
I certainly don’t condone setting off into the Seymour Mountain Pump Peak trail when there is a high avalanche risk, and you should definitely not embark on this hike on your own, as you may lose yourself in the fog. I do, however, strongly recommend this trail to anyone looking for a little bit of a getaway from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver life.