On friday, I rose at nought o’clock to meet Rachel and Meaghan at Georgia and Granville to catch the bus to Horseshoe Bay to catch the Ferry to Bowen. We hiked up Mount Gardner, taking the old skid trail which if anyone is wondering is the long way round. However, its much more enjoyable than the regular way up (follow the road, paradoxically named “Hiker’s Trail” all the way up for the regular route), which we used to go down again. It’s a serious hike – about 700 meters of elevation, only slightly less than the Grind. If you take the route we did, named “Old Skid trail South Peak”, the elevation comes in chunks – a strenuous section at least if not steeper than the grind followed by long flat sections where you work your way around the mountain. However, if you take the trail the “hiker’s trail” road leads too, the climb is even and ultimately less challenging – although less interesting as well.
The last section of the hike involves the use of ropes, mostly for descending, in order to achieve the North Summit Block. The North Summit Block is actually lower than the South Summit, (easily discernible when looking at Bowen Island from a distance), but the South summit does not actually offer a view – just a sense that you are on top, but can’t see off due to the trees (quite disapointing if you were expecting a view).
The view from the North Summit really is worth the hike. You can see both directions, a rare possibility in Vancouver, both up the Sunshine Coast towards Powell River, and South to the Olympic Mountains, Mount Baker, and Mount Ranier, as well as the City and Fraser Valley. If you could see from the South Peak, you would be able to see Vancouver Island aswell, which would make Gardner the best view in the Vancouver region period.