Our last day here in Manning Park was wonderful. The day dawned cool, but quickly heated up under bluebird skies. A perfect day to drive up towards Blackwell Peak, and hike in the meadows to see how the wildflowers grow. We almost considered biking up, but the almost 1000’ gain in 16 km dissuaded us, and we are glad we did not. The road was actually quite narrow and without shoulders. More importantly there is no straight piece in the road, so it would have been very difficult for traffic to go around us. Loytää had no trouble. Bill, on the other hand, tried to move his seat away from the door, as we went along some cliff edges without guard rails. It’s good that I was driving.
Our first stop was Cascade Lookout. A beautiful spot that gave us 270 degree views of the surrounding mountains and foothills. We are so close to the US border, that one of the hiking trails ends on the border and the terminus of the PCT is on one of the mountains here. This park is a wonderful 4-season playground. There are numerous trails for mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, horseriding, lakes to paddle and in the winter there is cross-country and downhill skiing. In fact, snow from Manning Park was trucked to the 2010 Olympics; snow cover is much more predictable here. And this all within 3 hours of Vancouver! An awesome resource.
We enjoyed the views and went another 8 km uphill, on a dirt road, to a trail head for our short hike. The Paintbrush Trail promised wildflowers (ie Paintbrush!), and there were some. But the meadow was not full of them. Again, the cool spring, and late onset of summer weather seems to have delayed the peak a bit. it didn’t really matter. We enjoyed what flowers were there, and the stunning views all around us.
We continued further and did a 4 km loop. It was a short hike, but it was really lovely because we were up high and out of the green tunnel. We even found some snow on the trail.
We were back by mid-afternoon to enjoy some sunshine and relaxation in our campsite.
But, it must be almost time to come home:
• bacon is finished
• wine is almost finished
• no more potato chips
• fridge is starting to look bare
Tomorrow, we just have a 3 hr drive to the ferry, with a planned stop at 5 Guys for our favourite burger that is not available on the Island. We will be home late afternoon.
What a fantastic trip. It had all we were hoping for: family time, wonderful time in the mountains, scenic drives, great paddling, beautiful hikes and we thrived, while living in a van, for 2 weeks. We realize we can do these longer trips and will start planning where to go next!