THE DEEKS LAKE TRAIL, OR A TASTE OF HEAVEN

The day started off on a sour note as my fellow hikers and I were greeted by a huge pile of snow at the trailhead of our initial destination, Black Mountain (adjacent to Cypress Mountain).  The bigger than usual snowfalls BC has experienced this past Winter has surprised even long-time residents, as most of my hikes so far started off on dry land but ended up in snow at the summit.  But since this one starts off at a higher elevation, we couldn’t even begin to hike without snowshoes.

So, the decision was made to cancel the Black Mountain hike.  Someone suggested we do the Deeks Lake trail instead, located about 10 miles North of Horseshoe Bay, in the beautiful Howe Sound Region.  The usual parking spot in that area was no more, due to the massive construction going on to prepare the Sea-to-Sky Highway for the 2010 Olympics.  We thus improvised a parking lot at the entrance of some gates to the Porteau Cove community .  Just about 100 meters behind that spot lied the trailhead to Deeks Lake.  No official signs told us this was the trail; I just followed the guys who had been there before and, obviously, even though no signs were visible, you could definitely tell this was a trail.

EDIT (2007-11-10): The construction is so massive right now that even the trailhead we used seems to be gone.  There must be another way around, but I couldn’t tell you how to get there.  Well, I know it’s possible to get to Deeks Lake from the Cypress alpine skiing parking lot too, using the Howe Sound Crest trail from there, but I think this would be a much longer hike.  I have no idea how the trail looks from this starting point either.

5 minutes into the hike, the trickle of a gentle stream caught my attention.  A couple more smaller streams and a few minutes later, we reached the first viewpoint:

Deeks Lake Trail, View of Mount Arbatan
I do believe this is Mount Artaban

Still on the first part of the trail, we stumbled on a gravel road.  The “so-soness” of the road gave way to a great trail once again, 2km-3km later with some fun obstacles to get past:

Deeks Lake Trail, Log Crossing
Anybody wants to limbo?

Deeks Lake Trail, Logs to Cross
Even though these logs may not have been intended to be part of the trail (wind storm victims?), I thought this was a lot of fun to scramble through

The forest was lush and impressive with its towering trees and stray roots garnishing our path:

Deeks Lake Trail, Towering Tree
We looked insignificantly small beside those towering trees

 Deeks Lake Trail, Stairs Made of Roots
Tree roots doubling up as stairs for us hikers (might be quite slippery on a rainy day)

3/4 of the way up, the roar of a tight but powerful little waterfall was the perfect spot for a break from the cardio intensive hike that is the Deeks Lake trail.  Most of us took a bite to eat there too.

Deeks Lake Trail, Waterfall
Spring-time is certainly the best time to witness this fierce waterfall, boosted by the melting snow

Deeks Lake Trail, Logs in the Waterfall
Lots of action going down there 

I would have stayed longer but the first hikers to get there were already heading for the summit and I felt pressured to tag along quickly.  About 30-45 minutes later, and some really steep sections, I finally made my way to the top:

Deeks Lake Trail, Summit
Feet in the snow, the summit finally comes into view


“Left” peak


“Right” peak 

Deeks Lake Trail, Surrounded by Peaks
In between the two peaks 

Deeks Lake Trail, Taking a Break
The perfect spot for a break along the frozen lake 

Wow!  what a magnificent view!  I just love it!  I had a little mishap as my right foot plundered through the soft snow into the chilly lake waters as I tried to sit on the log along the shore but, it was quickly forgotten as the enchanting setting made me forget all my worries, if only for a little while.  Unfortunately, once again, the faster hikers were ready to move on and I had to hurry up once again so not to let them wait too long for me (and others).  I’ll be back, with a smaller group who enjoys taking the time to savour the beauty of nature along with the workout it takes to enjoy the show.

The Deeks Lake trail was so much fun!  Lots of variety within one trail and some great spots to just sit and enjoy the view or the sounds of nature.  Even though I’m just starting to discover hiking in BC, I’m sure this one will have a permanent spot on my “favorite hikes” list.

Deeks Lake Trail, Porteau Cove View
Great view of Porteau Cove and beyond, facing North

CANUCKS FIGHTING TO STAY ALIVE

The neighbourhood just jumped up, so I guess the ‘Nucks scored a goal.  I went to a bar to see the last game and, after going home with the Canucks leading 2-0 after two periods, they sabotaged their lead with too many penalties and ended up losing 3-2 in OT to the Mighty Ducks.  Now they have no choice but to win the next three games, or else it’s over for them this season.

EDIT: No luck.  The Canucks are headed for the golf course.  They lost 2-1 in the second OT period.  See you next season, guys!