Sunday, 7 September 2008

Tinhat West

Keep your eyes open for elk. They've got the right of way.

During August and early September we have been working on cleaning out the West Tinhat Trail up from Fiddlehead. This trail with a serious vertical attitude snakes its way up the side of the mountain by way of sidehill runs and series of switchbacks that allow you to gain altitude on a gentle incline. This of course lengthens the trail but makes it relatively easy to make the necessary elevation gains.

Beautiful, but little known West Tinhat Trail is well worth making your way out to Fiddlehead via Goat Main, Spring Lake Main and Giovanni Main. The roads are good at the time of this posting, and there is signage. See earlier posting re getting through Fiddlehead onto the trail up to Tinhat.

At various times during the latter part of summer we've had Ron, John, Scott, Bruce and myself clearing this remote and amazing trail. We weedwhacked the salal, ferns, and various berry bushes that had encroached onto the track, and cut out and removed blowdowns that had fallen across the trail. For long stretches the track travels through oomphy mature fir forest growing on the steep mountainside. There are breathtaking views of the islands at the north end of Haslam Lake and the Giovanno Valley. There are lots of flags all along and the trail is now easy to follow.

We have reached the apex of West Tinhat Trail where it comes out onto the old Tinhat road which goes up the front of the mountain from the vicinity of Spring Lake. From where West Tinhat Trail emerges onto the old road it turns left for the last kilometer to the end of that rocky road. There it resumes on the well-trod foot path up to the summit. This short stretch has also been clipped again with a few years' annual growth cut well back with loppers. The immature trees are beginning to close in overhead to provide that welcome closed-in canopy that cuts down on the pesky undergrowth. It's well marked too. The hike takes about three hours from Fiddlehead to summit.

Bruce and Ron are checking out the area for the future shelter location. Lewis Lake lies immediately below while the rest of Horseshoe Valley with the Canoe Route stretches on beyond in the distance.

Near the summit you will find three orange flags at a trail junction. The spur continuing uphill takes you to the summit inside of five minutes, while the branch heading off to the east makes its way over a large flat and fairly open alpine shelf, then descends toward Lac Godeau, Sofia Pond and Cranberry Pond, and on down and around Lewis Lake. East Tinhat Trail takes about 3 hours also and is a scheduled September destination for the Weekend Hiking Club.

Whether you ascend Tinhat Mountain by way of East, West, or Old Tinhat trails going to the summit provides you with panoramic 360 degree views, provided of course that you pick a sunny day. There are no ropes required to do this hike from either direction. This pre-eminent of Powell River mountain trails is usually hiked best in the fall, as the flies have disappeared by then. Drink in the views.

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