Upper Shannon Falls on a wet July 3rd

NSH Forums Trip Reports Upper Shannon Falls on a wet July 3rd

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    Upper Shannon Falls is many respects an ideal summer hike. On a hot , dry day you get to hike on a beautiful, lesser travelled trail on varied terrain mostly in the west coast rainforest. Some hiking and scrambling is required in places, and in those places, it can be slippery when wet, as evidenced by a slip and fall I took returning from a recce trip a few years ago. This resulted in a mildly torn knee ligament through which I had to hike for two hours to get back to the car. So when approached to lead a hike, I chose this for July 3rd.

    On July 3rd, 2011, with fairly wet weather forecast, I noted darkish clouds overhead driving across the north shore to go to Park Royal, with a clearing sky to the west. The optimism turned to anxiety after we turned at Horseshoe Bay to drive north, for in the distance was a dark rain cloud directly over Highway 99. “Wow!” said Gian with her English intonation, “scrambling in a thunderstorm. Bring it on!”. With 16 north shore hikers converging on Shannon Falls through pelting rain, I asked myself, would it be safe to do this hike? It was still raining as we drove into the almost empty parking lot. It became clear people were willing to go. As it turned out , the rain stopped just as people had completed the normal preparation process (gear assembly and washroom stop). So after introductions, off we went.

    20 minutes in, we crossed a bridge over Olesen Creek to join the Squamish Chief Trail. Another 20 minutes to the key intersection, where, straight up was the trail to the Chief summits, and to the right, the quieter Shannon Falls trail. The trail is for the most part lush and mossy and quite soft underfoot. Some steep sections are aided in part by notched logs and steps with hand railings. After a particularly steep section of trees, logs and rocks, we entered a narrow gully where we all sat cosily on flattish rock with a pretty viewpoint for elevenses , and got acquainted with each other. It was determined that the individuals in this group were born in ten different countries: England, the U.S. Turkey, Poland, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Singapore, Rumania, and, of course, Canada.

    After that a descent and flattening out. On walking past a lake of skunk cabbage, we began to hear the roar of water. The waterfall shortly after, then up to a flat section where it is not advisable to get in the water. There was a very large flat piece of rock in the middle of that pool of rushing water which one might be tempted to clamber onto it if the water level was lower: much, much lower.
    15 minutes up, including a mild scramble with a rope, is the best viewpoint of the hike: with views of the Chief, of Howe Sound and of course Squamish. Up to this point, the trail is very well marked, with screamingly purple diamond shaped markers, and is in very good condition. I then asked the group if they wanted to stay here for lunch before heading back, or move on , closer to headwaters, but where the view is not as good. This would have entailed an extra 45 minute round trip, assuming a 5 minute stop at the other end, and returning to the main viewpoint for lunch. The group gamely decided to explore further. In fact, most of us ended up having lunch up there, because, a few people wanted to explore further, and we waited for them. A trail has been built to go to Petgill Lake (by North Shore Hikers, no less), but that trail is now overgrown by alder. Perhaps one day, this hike can again be done as a crossover: Shannon Falls and Petgill Lake or vice versa, with cars at both ends.

    In the end, all 16 people successfully completed this hike in its entirety. 6 hours at a comfortable pace. No injuries, not even a fall. No rain. No complaints. Many thanks to Hedi for being my endperson.

    Thank you to the group: Janice, Jane, Sandra, Bengul, Murat, Carol, Beth, Trish, Linda, Michael, Hedi, Gian, Mahnaz, Chris, and Cristina.


    Patricia Morris

    What a leader!
    Driven and responsive and has fun.
    And writes the trip report too.
    Thx so much Gillian.


    Bengul Kurtar

    Thanks to Gillian for leading us last Sunday, on July 3. While driving from Park Royal to Squamish, we had the torrential pouring rain, as Gillian described. She was warning us that we might not be able to climb all the way up the upper section of the Shannon Falls at the beginning of the trail. it turned out to be a greet day. If you have time, please check my pics from the hike. http://www.flickr.com/photos/benrose/tags/uppershannonfallstrail/



    Thank you for your great pictures, Benrose. And to Trish for your kind words. ANd thanks to Chris and Natasha for your thanks, you are all welcome…

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