Monday, December 1, 2014

Stawamus-Chief Hike

This weekend we finally had beautiful weather and enough time to head to Squamish for "The Chief" hike. One of our old favorites it has become so popular that over the last 5 years it's come to rival the "Grouse Grind" for the must-do hike in Vancouver (even though I don't consider the grind a hike). I now only do the Chief when conditions are such that I can avoid crowds. In November when the trail is full of ice and snow, the peaks chilly with arctic winds, we met relatively few hikers and had a blast.

on top of the Squamish world
Ice and sun
Whereas 7 years ago when I first did this hike there were few stairs and it really did feel like a natural hike, nowadays the trail is mostly comprised of  man-made wooden or rock stairs, especially to the first peak.  There are 3 peaks in total and I normally climb the third, then second and call it done. Most people do the peaks in numerical order so you avoid any lineups going the opposite way. Also the trail down from 3rd peak is the most rugged and hardest on bad knees (we've got a few bad knees in our pack) so I prefer going up that way.

We start at the Shannon Falls parking
Just starting out
Seriously Mom? You want me to climb that?

I'm doing it! Whooop!

Whiskey was super stoked to get going, especially since she was shivering right out of the car. Of course as soon as we started the upward trail we were all shedding our layers and pretty soon down to one shirt.


Puppy on a mountain
On Third Peak
It's an amazing view from here
Looking north to Whistler
In the summer I would lie down and nap here
Watch out for chipmunks and crows that like to lure the dogs to the edge
Looking south from 2nd peak
The peak on 3rd was happily wind-free, and as we crossed the quick section to 2nd peak the sun was threatening to set. Coming down from 2nd peak is a challenge with a dog (many people don't attempt 2nd with a large dog) because there is a ladder and chain section. Whiskey was a little nervous but was carried down with no drama (except the Vizsla drama). Check out those sad sad eyes! She was gripping so hard, I sometimes wonder that she isn't human.

Heading down from 2nd peak
It's a good thing she's so used to being carried
Oh that sad face
the drama! It was too icy to put her down
awwwww

Here I'm happy I don't have a larger dog
We handed her down
For those that want to avoid crowds in the summer, a nice side trail off from Chief is the Upper Shannon Falls hike. I'm sure we'll do that one with Whiskey soon! I'm just super stoked that she's big enough now to do "proper" hikes.

Our hiking family

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