Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Hikes with Kids: Lower Falls Trail (Golden Ears)
Recently we've had great weather and Stefan and I have decided it's time to get the kids back into hiking. For the last month or so we've had over 90-100 degree temps, and very few people (including us) have air conditioners in their homes. It just doesn't normally stay that hot for so long--a few days, yes, a month? No. We're not remotely interested in doing hours of strenuous work in the dire heat, we want to be in the water.
As the heat broke about 10 days ago, we decided we need to get a few more hikes on the calendar before the summer is over. I actually love hiking in the Fall, and don't mind the rain a bit. The tree covering is so dense you barely feel rained on, just a bit damp--even through the winter, but the views are only spectacular in the summer with clear skies.
We have to keep the hikes age and ability appropriate for our kids, and so that means roughly 6-7km is the longest stretch we can go with them in tow. That's fine, since you can barely throw a stone up here without hitting a hiking trail. Last weekend we found a hike near us, about a 30 minute drive away, called the Lower Falls trail of Golden Ears mountain. The entire mountain trail from bottom to peak is a 12 hour hike, but this popular trail with the campers (Alouette lake) is only two hours or so up and back, and you get to peak at the Falls!
This, to me, is not really a hike, it's a nature path. The website said easy, and I was amazed that this got the same rating as Quarry Rock. QR was much more technical, nearly straight up, with a lot of root systems and boulders everywhere. This...was a gravel path with a bit of an incline. Ani struggled on this but the only thing I can think of as why (since she ran down the QR trail!) is that she didn't really eat a lot of food the night before. We take more snacks and water than we think we'll need and take breaks when the kids need it, and we almost always run out of water except Lukka's backpack bladder, so we know they're working hard!
The views on this trail are pretty incredible. This area in the photo above was a popular swimming destination. Those little specks on the white rock right before the treeline are people about to jump in! It's very shallow and very clear here, and we didn't spot a single fish. Grabbing this picture was actually a bit of a hassle, since there must have been a bee nest nearby--they wouldn't stay away from me.
The mosquitoes were really biting up here, too, but if you keep moving you're not bothered by them. We sprayed everyone before we left the parking lot but it didn't seem to do any good (and yes, I use deet in these woods!) because if you stop for a break, they're everywhere.
The biggest tip for hiking this trail is GO EARLY, especially if you're on a weekend. On our way back down we couldn't believe how many people were heading up. Those falls you see in the background would have been so crowded with people and dogs. We passed probably 100 people or more heading back down, around 10:30AM. Go early to avoid bugs, heat, and crowds, and you'll enjoy the cool morning hike, and you'll actually get a parking spot!
We're heading up to Squamish with some friends this weekend for a hike, so another post of hikes with kids coming soon!