Before I can tell you about today's snow shoe I have to first tell you a bit about my dad. I have an amazing dad who has taken care of his health his whole life. As long as I can remember he has been lean & fit. He rode his bike, roller bladed the sea wall, ran or hiked everyday. Last year we were in shock when he had a massive stroke. I drove to the hospital and got the horrible news...He had scarred heart tissue. It didn't make sense at first until my step-mom remembered 20 years ago when he was complaining of chest pain after a big move. After a whole day of pains, they just thought it was sore muscles from lifting furniture and boxes. Now it made sense...Sort of... but never for someone who was so good to his body, as my dad was. The doctors/specialists at the hospital figured there was a blood clot released during that heart attack and it took 20 years to show its ugly face again in the form of a stroke. After that episode things calmed down a little...On the outside my dad seemed fine but on the inside his language had changed. He could only understand small sentences and barely could speak. Paper and pens were his only way of communication. Luckily his memory was as good as before the stroke. After a long stay in the hospital he continued to hike and last summer we spent many days on the trails together. At the end of the summer he had another massive stroke and this time his vision in his left eye was weakened. My dad persevered and started to hike and walk again. This brings us to today and how he had always wanted to snow shoe. I had to act fast as the snow was melting. I couldn't have picked a better day. The sun was shining and the sky, a deep blue. My dad was alive and healthy and I was going to fulfill his dream...and this is our snow shoe together. I forever dedicate this trail to my dad!
When you are snow shoeing on Cypress Mountain on a BC Parks trail you will need to go to guest services and get a Backcountry Access Corridor Liability sticker for your jacket. They are free. If you are snow shoeing on the Cypress Mountain trails there is a fee and you won't need the liability sticker. I choose the Howe Sound Crest Trail because it is a 3 km in/out BC Park's trail. It's my favorite trail. I forgot that there was quite an elevation gain. The snow trails had thinned in width since I was there in January so I was a little nervous about coming down on the slushy switchbacks. There were a few bridges that were skinny and crossing them was tricky. I decided to slide down on my behind. I would make sure it is safe before embarking on this new skill people have taken on. I have slide into a tree before...just sayin'. The trails were well marked with large poles in them. The poles are there because the trail markers in the summer months are 11 feet up posted on the trees. With lots of snow on the mountains, the trail markers once high in the air are now nestled on the ground and hard to see. The trail is anywhere from 2-5 feet wide. In the beginning it is mostly flat but the last 1.2 km are switchbacks and you can get quite a bit of a cardio workout. There are no cliffs on the side but the trail is still on the side of a steep mountain with trees and you could get hurt, should you fall. At the lookout it was quite slushy so we choose to have our snacks just before it...It was stunning as you can see all of Howe Sound. Of course the lookout would have been better but safety first! I would bring a lunch and sit and eat your lunch while appreciating the beautiful views. It is hard to Google this hike/snow shoe as it comes up as 29 km. In the summer months you can continue on as far as Deeks Lake. For today with the top of the trails closed we just had some water, a snack and enjoyed the views. We also saw a few Whiskey Jacks just before the the climb began. If you fill your hands with nuts and fruit they will sweep down and eat from the palm of your hand. Don't forget your camera!!! For me, this day was indescribable...Who would of thought a man who is 68 years old, has Parkinson's Disease, had a massive heart attack and most recently two strokes that ended with low vision in his left eye would be snow shoeing...If you asked me that question I would say, my dad, that's who, and you can too! Happy & safe snow shoeing trails! For more information on Cypress Mountain: http://cypressmountain.com/snowshoe-tours or http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/