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Vanilla Leaf
While modern adventurers smear their skin with toxic chemicals to keep pesky bugs at bay, natives of the Pacific Northwest took a less carcinogous approach. The fresh-squeezed juice of common Vanilla Leaf was applied to fend off mosquitos and black flies. Dried leaves, smelling faintly of vanilla, were hung in bunches about the longhouse for the same purpose. A potion of boiled Vanilla Leaf was used to wash bedding to eliminate bed bugs and mites and as a hair treatment to fend off lice and fleas. Look for Vanilla Leaf at trailside in heavy forest wherever moisture accumulates.
Illustration by Manami Kimura
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Baden-Powell Centennial Trail:Cypress Provincial Park to British Properties E-mail
(7 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   

Level: Difficult
Distance: 8 km
Time: 4 h
Elevation Change: 560 m
Season: May to Nov
Map: 92 G/6
Access: Beg a ride, Hitchhike, Take a Taxi or Walk as described in the previous hike.

However you reach Cypress Park to start of the second leg of the Baden Powell Trail be sure to pause a moment to appreciate the 1200 year old yellow cedar which stands across from the cross-country skiing area turn off. Not only is it the world's oldest, at 6.2 m around and 40 m tall it is one of the largest of its kind in existence.

Near the main ski lodge you'll find a large map and information board. Behind that and to the right the Baden-Powell Centennial Trail resumes, continuing through one of the world's best remaining stands of yellow cedar. Also known as cypress, the park is named after these aromatic conifers. At 0.6 km a side trail leading towards Mt Strachan reveals a number of ancient trees of note including Canada's largest mountain hemlock and the Hollyburn Giant, a massive yellow cedar measuring 3.2 m across. The Old Strachen Trail loops back to the Baden-Powell. At the junction of Hollyburn Mountain Trail, turn right and follow the popular Pacific Run cross-country ski trail down under the power line to First Lake and Hollyburn Lodge.

Temperate Rainforest: Heavy winter rains support a rich array of plant life all across the North Shore mountains.
Fern growing from the side of a decaying tree.

Pay close attention to trail markers throughout the park and beyond as a bewildering labyrinth of poorly marked routes can easily lead to confusion for newcomers to the area. Compared to the first section detailed previously, this one is gently sloping for the most part. After the lodge Baden-Powell Centennial Trail is also called Grand National Trail. You'll pass through a large community of recreational cabins nestled in the forest then parallel Lawson Creek for two and a half km.

Before reaching Skyline Trail big tree enthusiasts will want to take a short side trip. Turn right and head west along the Crossover Trail, past Lawson Creek to the reknowned Hollyburn Fir. At a time when England's Alfred the Great was kicking Danish butt and Vikings from Norway were discovering North America the Hollyburn Fir was laying down roots on the opposite end of the continent. The 1100 year old Douglas fir boasts a girth of three metres and height of 43.7 m. Like many of the North Shore's surviving big trees, the top of Hollyburn Fir has long since been snapped off by a west coast gale. Turn-of-the-century loggers were under the misconception that broken-topped trees were rotten to the core and hence a waste of time to handsaw through. As a result, many such broken behemoths survived. From the fir backtrack to the Baden-Powell or continue downhill via the Brewis Trail, turning east upon reaching the Skyline Trail. Twenty minutes or so ought to return you to the main route.

Just after reconnecting with the Baden-Powell Trail you'll encounter a right branch leading downhill to Millstream Road in West Vancouver. A further 20 minutes should be all it takes to reach the British Properties. To reach the bus turn right and follow Millstream Road a couple paces down to Eyremount Drive then turn left and continue descending for 10 minutes to the busstop on the corner of Eyremount and Crestwell Drive. From here take the #254 British Properties bus to Park Royal shopping center where you can change to a #250 Vancouver bus or a bus with the numbers #251 #252 or #253 bound for downtown Vancouver. The #254 British Properties bus, operating on an hourly schedule, also goes to Vancouver during peak hours weekdays only.



Copyright © 2007 Brian Grover. Content Distribution is Prohibited
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