Saturday morning I ran with a group of friends to Norvan Falls and back from the End of the Line General Store in North Vancouver. A map of Lynn Headwaters Regional Park can be found here.
We found parking right away and once everyone had arrived, we headed down Varley Trail to the Lynn Headwaters bridge. We took a right on Lynn Loop and continued down Headwaters Trail to (almost) Norvan Falls where we turned around due to time constraints.
On the way back we ran along Cedar Mills Trail and the other side of Lynn Loop back to the bridge. From here, we added a little extra distance on to our day by running up the Baden Powell to the junction with Mountain Highway. We turned around and went back to our car via Varley Trail again. The total distance was about 21 km.
It was a super hot day but the shade of the tree cover provided some relief. Near the end of the run, we dunked our feet in Lynn Creek which felt amazing!
When I got home, I sat down and soon realized that it was nap time. I managed to take a quick shower before passing out on the couch in my hot, stuffy apartment where I had a delirious, sweaty sleep. After I woke up, I decided to hit up the mall for some Vega gels and some sweet, sweet air conditioning! I’ve never been so happy to be at a mall! I also picked up some awesome Saucony socks.
— Brie Hemingway (@briehemingway) June 28, 2015
Not wanting to go back to my place, I headed to the gym which was a cool temperature to stretch my legs out on the mats. I made sure to hydrate and eat well to recover and prepare for my epic Sunday run day!
Three of us headed back to Lynn Headwaters to tackle the Hanes Valley Loop on tired legs. We headed out to Norvan Falls again but for the first time ever when we got to the bridge there, we crossed it!
We had our packs full of water and food to keep us going through what we new would be a long and challenging trek. I had researched the route ahead of time which was described as difficult and for experience hikers only. Before I left my place, I had loaded the route onto my Suunto Ambit3 so I would know if we were on track.
About 1 km past the bridge, we turned left at a junction onto Hanes Valley Route. The trail was less traveled, narrower, and more technical. It was also really beautiful! We came across a few other groups doing the same route.
The trail took us out into the open valley where we saw a helicopter pad and an equipment stash for the North Shore Rescue. I have heard that Hanes Valley is a hot spot for NSR.
There can be snow there much of the year and the weather can change quickly. In the summer, it is HOT. The valley is open and the rocks radiate heat at you. Even at the best of times, the rocky slope is challenging.
We were relived when the trail ducked back into tree cover for a while before we would begin our big climb up the boulder field.
Up to this point, the trail was marked well. From here, we had to follow piles of rocks with flagging tape tied around them or the odd stick with tape hanging off it. On a sunny, clear day, it was easy to find our way. In rain, snow, fog, or in the dark, this would have been very difficult! We took our time along this section, careful not to let rocks tumble into the person below.
We rejoiced when we made it to the top of the boulder field and went back into the shade of the forest. However, we still had a fairly steep uphill trek to Crown Pass. At the junction, we took a left and followed the Alpine Trail to the Grouse Mountain lodge bypassing Little Goat Mountain and Dam Mountain peaks.
By the time we reached the Grouse Mountain lodge area, all three of us had ran out of water. We filled our hydration packs full of ice cubes at the cafeteria and then added water at the fountain. Ice cold water has never tasted so good!
After a short refueling break, we ran down Mountain Highway to the junction with Baden Powell which would lead us back to our car. Along the way we came across a grouse with its babies. It was pretty concerned about us, and almost charged as we tried to walk by it.
We felt a few drops of rain as we ran along the Baden Powell. When we got back to the car we went to Lynn Creek to dip our tired feet into the cool water. It felt amazing and was so refreshing! It also cleaned off a layer of dirt from our legs.
The trail run/hike was 31.5 km and took us about 8 hours. This brought my weekend total to over 50 km and my weekly distance to 78 km! I feel more confident about my training for Squamish50 and am hoping I can keep up these big back-to-back training runs.