True North - Page 3
Howe Sound Crest Trail
If adventure running and peak bagging are more your style, then the Howe Sound Crest Trail will undoubtedly satiate your thirst with a true mountain experience. At just 30 kilometers in length, it may be difficult to grasp why most groups take a full day to complete the route. When you throw in the mandatory photo stops and an optional scramble up the most famous rock in the lower mainland of B.C., The West Lion, which the Lion's Gate Bridge was named after, you'll be looking at over six hours, even for the fastest runners.
From downtown Vancouver two protruding sisterly peaks snag your attention as you gaze upon up at the alpine environment. The Howe Sound Crest Trail takes you straight through the middle of these outstanding natural features and provides ready access to one summit via a slightly exposed rock scramble. Along the way you'll be rewarded for your efforts with a panorama of peaks as far as the eye can see. You'll also be rewarded with clear sight lines as far north as Whistler, and as far south as Washington State. Punctuating this perfect postcard setting is the sprawling Pacific Ocean down below.
"The Howe Sound Crest Trail is one of the most challenging and rewarding mountain runs that I've ever done," says Peter Watson, manager of the premiere running store on the North Shore, North Shore Athletics (www.northshoreathletics.com). "I took over 100 pictures the first time I completed the route!"
Adding to the full-day time frame for this point-to-point run is a necessary car drop. Just remember to pack your emergency supplies and leave the whiners at home. With 6000 feet of climbing, 9000 feet of descent and some exposed rock sections, this adventure is for experienced mountain runners.
The Knee Knacker
Traversing the three local faces of Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour mountains is an unparalleled, point-to-point, mostly singletrack route. The Baden Powell Trail goes all the way from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Panorama Park in Deep Cove, a distance of 30 miles, and all within the North Shore's boundaries. Virtually all of North Vancouver's trails lead to the Baden Powell (BP), as the BP virtually transects the midline of the entire network.
"I live three houses away from a trail that gives me direct access to the BP and some of the most amazing wilderness on the planet," says Ean Jackson, who is half of the partnership behind a local running club known as Club Fat Ass (www.clubfatass.com). "There's no place I'd rather live than in North Van. Show me another place where a person can have bears in their backyard and a 15-minute commute to the financial district, and I'll run my next 100-miler backwards!"