|August 2006: More updates coming soon. The tall bridge near M. Canyon is now decked! The approach is also scheduled to be decked eventually - A. fell off the bridge near the approach and broke a rib (back in April), so the project got a little sidelined...|
|This project began in the Spring of 2002 as a personal passion of Andre's and is still in progress today.
Always meaning to carve an "express route" into the forest lying east of upper St. Mary's Ave., Andre began scouting for possible routes through the thick, bushy scrub below the area of the St. Mary's connector trail.
This relatively short stretch proved to be the most time consuming of what would eventually become a many-kilometer long mountain traverse.
The rewards proved to be sweet, however, and a further extension was planned. Over the course of the winter of 2002 / 2003, Andre threw himself into the hard, heavy labour of extending the trail above the St. Mary's connector, beyond the powerlines and uphill through a patch of green forest (while the surrounding area is notoriously brown) towards the aluminum bridge on the Baden Powell.
|The path above Braemar wynds through new spring growth.|
|Remains of a fire long ago|
The trail bypasses St.Mary's Rd, creating a lower entrance to the forest and connecting Braemar Place (between St. Andrew's & Regent) to the St. Mary's connector trail.
The Dreamweaver crosses the St. Mary's connector trail, jogs up to the powerlines close to the Alexander's big red house and cuts an almost straight path through lush green forest in the direction of the aluminum bridge over Abelard Canyon on the Baden Powell trail. The main Dreamweaver jogs left (west) about half-way between the powerlines and the bridge, travelling straight uphill for a while before beginning its westward journey along the mountainside.
It crosses many well-used trails such as Groovyula (sp?), the St. Georges, the Baden Powell, Lower Bitches Brew and Executioner. This easy and scenic trail is gaining popularity with local hikers and mtn. bikers on a cross-country circuit, and has been called one of the most picturesque trails on the North Shore by well-seasoned outdoors-folk.
|"The Rock" (below St. Mary's connector) - Andre and I renewed our vows and exchanged new rings atop this rock in 2002 for our 10th anniversary.|
|The Second Extension
This is the stretch built during the winter of 2002 / 2004 that leaves the St. Mary's connector just past the Alexander's big red house, jogs up to the powerline and tunnels into the thick forest opposite. Once inside, the forest opens up and the trail takes you up through a refreshing patch of green forest. Most of the surrounding forest remains brown and dead-looking from the heavy logging decades ago, but Andre scouted specifically for scenic stretches heavy with green.
|View of Burrard Inlet, Burnaby and SFU from under the powerline cut.|
|Using the mulch on the ground around thins decaying stump, Andre carved the trail around the remaining pillar. For many months the ground was quite soft and would fill your boots, but after some heavy rain and more foot traffic, it's now solidly packed in as though it had always existed.|
|Third Extension and The Bridges
The third extension began to evolve early in 2003. Having scouted numerous routes to Mosquito Creek Canyon over the years, Andre decided to extend his trail into a long mountain traverse with the ultimate end being at the bottom of the cut on Grouse Mtn.
There are two main bridges in the first section of the third extension, and one long, tall one next to Mosquito Creek Canyon. Somewhere around this time our most excellent friend, Ian, became interested in the trail work and joined Andre in the construction of these bridges. Ian brings with him the impressive qualification of being a professional rigger, and together they masterfully constructed sturdy, artistic bridges that give the fairy-tale fell to the trail. Elves must be lurking just around the bend...
|The first bridge, also known as "the Huck Finn" bridge. Note how it meanders around the trees above the canyon.|
|The on / off "ramp" to the Huck Finn bridge. Rocks line the edge of the etched-in path.|
|A Douglas squirrel on a Douglas fir eating a Douglas cone...|
|The second bridge, before completion (seriously strudy). This one crosses the creek that runs down alongside Bitches Brew and from this bridge you look down on the rickety bridge on the Lower Brew.|
|Mosquito Creek Canyon Area
Andre tied the Dreamweaver into an existing section of nearly-forgotten about trail (ancient logging track) just west of Executioner. Much work was needed on this stretch, and he and Ian were quite thankful for my 2003 birthday gift to Andre; a very small 'Stiehl' chainsaw.
|To carve through this fallen log took more than just a few cuts!|
|Old growth cedars above Mosquito Creek Canyon. Notice how wide apart these giants are spaced and the crowded undergrowth competing for space.|
The trailbuilder stands in "the gateway" to the canyon
|The Infamous Cable Bridge
High above Mosquito Creek, a deep canyon slices through the forest. Too tricky to run a route down it and up the other side, Andre scouted for a chance log that may have falled across. With great forturne he not only found a log, but one with massive girth and stability. It stretches 70 feet across the gorge and is about 20 feet tall at its mid-point. Doesn't sound too high until you're standing on it!
Immensley proud of his find, together with Ian the two set about axing and grading a flat surface onto the rotund beast. Not an easy task, made only harder by the deep winter cold, sleet, snow and short days. Much of the work involved in fine-tuning this crossing was completed after dark and in the snow during January 2004.
Ian contributed a 100-foot long cable which was strung across, and anchored as a means of a railing for the crossing.
A tree-mendous (ha ha) fortress of roots met any traveller crossing the bridge at the opposite side, so a "re-direct" bridge over the last part of the canyon had to be constructed. The two photos below show the completed cable bridge and the re-direct bridge in construction.
|Left: Spikes were driven into this tree for a re-direct cable to be anchored about 25 feet up to properly anchor the cable crossing.
Andre phoned me from Ian's cell while swaying in the branches of this tree - at 7:30 on a January evening in the wind and heavy sleet!
Right: A giant looms in the spring sunshine.
|Ian prepares pickets for the re-direct bridge (off-ramp) of the main cable crossing.|
|Etched into the hard slope, the Dreamweaver makes its way into Mosquito Creek Canyon|
|Visitors! Gord and Angie make their way through the jungle above Mosquito Creek|
|Mosquito Creek lies far below...|
|Come back soon for more updates as the Dreamweaver weaves its way west of Mosquito Creek through stunning old growth among trees with a girth of up to 30 feet!|