Snowshoeing on Dog Mountain - North Vancouver
Activity:When I was in grade seven, I wrecked my right knee playing volleyball. This was the beginning of my lifetime of avoidance. Not that I ever did it on purpose, or even thought about it, but anytime skating was on the agenda, I had homework to do. And skiing, I couldn’t afford (which was also the truth).
This is how I turned into an adult who never learned how to enjoy winter sports, or winter in general for that matter. Then I became a parent with three children who all knew how to skate, ski, and snowboard; not to mention a husband who still had the same skiing toque he wore when he was a teenager. I clearly did not fit in.
Then my husband came up with an idea: why don’t we try snowshoeing. He guaranteed I wouldn’t fall. This is how I got started. Now every year, when the kids’ weekend sports are winding down we try to fit in as many snowshoeing trips as we can.
This brings me to Dog Mountain. Kelvin got interested in Dog Mountain when we tried hiking it last summer. I would describe the hike as medium in difficulty, but having said that we saw several children and seniors going up. It takes about one hour and 15 minutes to go to the top and back. Surprisingly, the hike is easier with four feet of snow on the ground. The snow covers up a lot of the irregularities in the terrain, which I was complaining about last summer. (Remember I have a bad knee.)
Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera. The evergreen trees, laden with snow are incredible, as is the view from the top. You see Burnaby and the surrounding countryside. I was surprised to see the ravens again. I don’t know why, but I figured they might fly south or hibernate during the cold months. No, they were still there in full force bopping around, scrounging for food. Speaking of food, we passed a number of people with big knapsacks on their backs. Although we never asked them, we assumed they were planning a picnic at the top. Kelvin even spotted at group by the lake, who had pitched a tent overnight and were enjoying their morning cup of coffee.
As for the weather, it was picture perfect. Not a cloud in the sky. That didn’t last long: within minutes a bank of fog rolled in, which took care of our sun. The weather on the mountains can be temperamental. Don’t assume if it’s clear and bright on the bottom that it will be the same at the top, and vice versa.
The other predicament we had to deal with on the way down was a whole bunch more people. There must’ve been four times as many. Most of the time, passing isn’t a problem because you can take an alternate path. Sometimes, however, you have nowhere to go. A couple of times by snowshoes got tangled up against the snow-bank. I find them awkward to maneuver when the trail is tight.
By the time we got to the bottom (around 10:15 AM) the parking lot was full. One enterprising fellow followed us to our car so he could secure our spot. When we drove down the road, I could see why. People were parking a mile down the road. My advice is to go early.
If you don’t own snowshoes, Mt. Seymour will gladly rent you some of theirs. I’ve also seen ads in our local paper for guided snowshoeing at night. It’s capped off by a chocolate fondue. It might be time to hire a babysitter.
Details:Dog Mountain is located on the west side of Mount Seymour. Dog Mountain is a short hike from the top parking lot on Mount Seymour. To get to Mount Seymour you need to get to Mt. Seymour Parkway Road, which is the third exit off the Second Narrows Bridge (going north). You’ll see a big fat Canadian Superstore on your right. Pass that and stay on the Parkway for about 4 km. You’ll eventually get to a shopping plaza called Parkgate. Turn left at the first set of lights at the Parkgate Plaza. Then just stay on Mt. Seymour Road for about 7 miles and it will lead you up to the ski complex.
From the north end of the parking lot, walk north about 75 feet and you will see on your left, signs for First Lake and Dog Mountain.
Also check out the snowshoeing on Cypress Mountain