September 5, 2020 at 3:51 pm #11429Mark LathamMember
Five of us met at the base of Grouse gondola at 9:20am on a Thursday morning. Actually we were all there early, so caught the 9:15am gondola up, which was running a bit late. The covid-era gondola reservations were easy to get, especially since it was a weekday.
It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot. We walked down the Simic Trail to the base of The Cut ski run, where we met as planned with our sixth hiker. He had walked up the Skyline Trail from North Vancouver. The next 15 minutes from The Cut to “Mountain Highway” (an old overgrown Grouse access road) is confusing, with several possible trails to follow. But I had explored the options multiple times, and followed my usual route including 200 metres of easy bushwhacking.
We followed Mountain Highway to a waterfall on Mosquito Creek, stopping for elevenses. Then hiked up a slope via the “IROC Trail” into a darker rain-forested flat marshy area, emerging into the light onto “Grouse Mountain Highway”, a dirt/gravel access road in current use.
Where the “highway” turns sharply left, we turned off to the right, onto Pipeline Trail with its old disused wood-and-metal water pipe. This soons forks into a trail up Mt Fromme on our right, while we turned left onto the Erik the Red Trail. Nice views opened up northeast toward Lynn Valley and mountains beyond.
Besides being relatively unknown and little traveled, another appeal of this Grouse Circuit route is its variety of terrain. The Erik the Red Trail climbs briefly over a sunny boulder field, drops down to cross Whistler Creek, then ascends a forested slope for about an hour to reach Thunderbird Ridge. We turned right, to the viewpoint at the east end of the ridge trail, stopping for lunch.
From there the familiar trails back to Grouse chalet took about an hour and a half, at a relaxed pace to enjoy some blueberries along the way. 🙂
Traffic was heavy driving back downtown, with 15 minutes’ wait getting onto the Lion’s Gate Bridge around 4pm. Traffic seems to be normalizing back toward pre-covid levels. Oh well, the quiet was nice while it lasted! 😉
GPS track & stats:
Ascent: 546 m
Distance: 10 km
Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
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