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Stinging Needles
Roll in a patch of stinging nettle and you'll think it's a spelling mistake. Nettle's stinging needles, as whispy as whiskers, are hollow and filled with formic acid which can cause burning, even blistering. Though aboriginal medicinal uses were various the principle technological use was as a source of hemp-like fiber for making thread and string. Stalks were picked late in the year when prickles had largely dropped off. Fibers were separated by rubbing or beating and then spun into thin threads. Those in turn could be braided to form thicker, stronger twine for weaving fine cloth, making fish nets and fishing line and, rarely, string bikinis.
Illustration by Manami Kimura
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07
Feb
2007
argaiv1174
Mosquito Creek E-mail
(7 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   

Level: Easy
Distance: 3½ km
Time: 1½ h
Elevation Change: 200 m
Season: Year Round
Map: N/A
Access: The #246 [Park Royal, Vancouver or Highland] Bus will connect with the trailhead on Mosquito Creek whether you board at North Vancouver's Lonsdale Quay or at any of the stops along West Georgia in Vancouver. The #246 Highland bus only originates in Vancouver Monday through Saturday during peak hours. The #240 15th Street bus however follows the same route at any time, necessitating a transfer to the #246 Highland on Marine Drive at the foot of Capilano Road in North Vancouver during off-peak hours. Whichever route you take, get off at the corner of Montroyal Boulevard and Glencanyon Drive and walk west, towards the fire hall, crossing the bridge over Mosquito Creek to find the start of the trail.

For those craving open air, the urban walkway along the banks of Mosquito Creek is a pleasant diversion at any time of the year. The trail follows the creek downhill as far as Evergreen Place where the stream disappears -- poof! -- down a giant bathtub drain. Pause a moment to admire [or scorn] the graffiti "tags" which adorn the walls of the overflow chute.

The trail continues sans waterway through the forest a short distance before it too vanishes, becoming Del Rio Crescent instead. Continue walking southward as Mosquito Creek tumbles out of its subterranean conduit again at busy Queen's Road. After crossing the road you'll find yourself in William Griffin Park.

The skateboarders at the skatepark are a marvel to behold, not least because no one bothers to don a helmet. Along the western edge of the trail a new salmon spawning channel is encouraging the return of coho and chum every fall. Beyond William Griffin Park, river and route sneak under the roaring Upper Levels Highway before winding through a thickly forested gully. The trail finally emerges at a grassy field bound by Larson Road and Fell Avenue. Follow the latter two blocks down to Marine Drive and catch the westbound #240 bus back to Vancouver.

bearpaw

 

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Copyright © 2007 Brian Grover. Content Distribution is Prohibited
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