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Gashes in the forest caused by fire, blowdown or human intrusion are quickly filled in by pioneer species such as fireweed or salal. Quick growing red alder and maple soon take over, being themselves supplanted in turn by Douglas fir once soil has stabilized. Eventually shade tolerant climax species such as western red cedar and western hemlock will come to dominate. The whole process can take centuries if not millennia. Immature fireweed plants can be cooked whole like broccoli while the young leaves can be used as salad greens. Fireweed is high in both beta-carotene and vitamin C. During pre-contact times fireweed seed fluffs found utility as pillow stuffing.
Illustration by Manami Kimura
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Baden-Powell Centennial Trail:British Properties to Grouse Mountain E-mail
(7 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   

Level: Moderate
Distance: 5 km
Time: 1½ h
Elevation Change: 240 m
Season: May to Nov
Map: 92 G/6
Access: #250, #251, #252, #253, or #257 bus from West Georgia Street to Park Royal. Change to the #254 British Properties bus and get off at the corner of Crestwell Drive and Eyremount Drive. Follow the latter uphill to Millstream Road to regain the trailhead where the previous description leaves off. For a shortcut, after disembarking, follow Crestline Road uphill, making a left onto Henlow Road then a right onto Millstream Road. Near the end of Millstream make for the gate uphill and to the left which marks the start of Brothers Creek Fire Road. The Baden-Powell Trail is just minutes away.

This section is the least interesting and, except for the big trees halfway through, could otherwise be easily skipped without missing a thing. From the end of the previous section the Baden-Powell Centennial Trail flattens out, continuing for 1½ km through the forest past the bridge over Brothers Creek before eventually cutting downhill through the suburbs again.

Temperate Rainforest: Forest mists condense on a spiderweb.
Forest mists condense on a spiderweb.

To reach the big trees follow Incline Railway Trail uphill. After crossing a bridge to the opposite bank of a nameless stream the cordoroy road and one-time rail bed streaks straight up to the cable railway loading site at its end. Rusted cables, rails and cooking pots are all that remain of the logging operation that laid waste to the hillsides hereabouts in 1911. Just before reaching the top end of the road the Brothers Creek Fire Road veers off to the left. A few steps further on, a well-marked trail to the right leads down to the the ghostly Candelabra Fir. Though dead, this 61-metre leviathan is not yet down. Just beyond the dead one a 43 metre Douglas fir can be found still thriving. In between the two note a cedar school marm tree, ripped in half by weight and weather but still alive on one side. Return to the fire access road and continue uphill for 10 - 15 minutes to discover a large grove of mixed red and yellow cedar that the loggers largely overlooked. Mountain bikers have opened up numerous side trails for those with a keen yearning for further exploration.

Turn back and stay with the Brothers Creek Fire Road to return to the Baden-Powell Trail. On the way down look for the foundation of a shingle mill dating from 1912.

You'll spend much of the next two kilometres travelling along a narrow power line right-of-way of behind the houses of local residences. Mercifully the final third of the trail plunges steeply down through Capilano River Regional Park ending up at Cleveland Dam.

Walk across the top of the Dam and on to Capilano Road. The #236 Lonsdale Quay bus will take you to the North Vancouver SeaBus terminal from which downtown Vancouver is just a 20-minute boat ride away. To end up on West Georgia Street instead transfer to the #246 Vancouver or #246 Park Royal bus on Capilano Road just after the Capilano Suspension Bridge tourist trap. The latter bus is bound for West Vancouver necessitating yet another bus transfer at the corner of Marine Drive and Garden Avenue after the evening rush hour Monday to Saturday and all-day Sunday. With luck you'll meet the connecting #240 Vancouver bus for the Lion's Gate Bridge crossing. Alternately the #232 Phibbs Exchange bus will take you to Edgemont Village where you can link up with one of the #246 buses mentioned above. If you wish to continue hiking the Baden-Powell Trail from Cleveland Dam you'll have to walk about 1½ km up Nancy Greene Way to Grouse Mountain to find the trailhead once again.



Copyright © 2007 Brian Grover. Content Distribution is Prohibited
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