Bowen to Squamish

I’ve been running a lot lately, averaging over four hours a week in the past month. This spring is shaping up to be yet another excellent spring for running, with many grey days and plenty of precipitation in April. I’m registered again for the Kneeknacker race in July, where I hope to run a few minutes faster than I did last year.

The pounding start off in early April, when Mark Nick Natalie and I headed across the border for the first destination trail run of the season. We explored the trails along Chuckanut Ridge, following the best parts of an annual trail race there. This was a mostly enjoyable 25-30km-ish trail run along forested trails.

The Chucka-Nut-Cases. Natalie, Mark, and Nick (photographer included too).

Muddy trail runners.

A not so muddy calf shot.

Convective showers on Chuckanut Bay.

Hanging out in Fairhaven, Washington.

The next destination run took place on Bowen Island. I took the short ferry over from Horseshoe Bay for a run around and up Mount Gardner with Robyn. We ran past Grafton Lake and ascended the rocky trails on the southwest ridge of Mount Gardner. The clouds were low, drifting in and out of the open forest canopy. I’ve been up here before, a long time ago when I first started hiking, and I just had to imagine the views of the North Shore mountains, Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast. We reached the north summit, slightly lower than the south summit, feeling somewhat unprepared for the rain as groups of hikers relaxed on the helicopter pad sheltered in goretex jackets and sipping tea from their thermos. After a hurried chocolate refuel, we ran down the east side of Gardner, down flowing switchbacks and soft muddy trails. I think I’m starting to understand why trail running is addictive.

Robyn running on Mount Gardner.

The trails are always steeper than they look. This was good training for the long uphill grinds on Baden-Powell trail.


Sometimes, power walking is better than trying to run the uphills, and it’s even a good way to recover.



Misty coastal rainforest on Bowen Island.


The trails are a bit confusing here. Not at this particularly well-marked junction, but there are numerous side trails to wander off into.

Robyn running down the switchbacks. Mount Gardner.

It rained throughout the day on Saturday, great for running in the forest, not so much for rockclimbing. The second half of the weekend was spent celebrating Susie’s birthday in great style. We went cragging in the Smoke Bluffs, fuelled by waffles, strawberry rhubarb pie and carrot cake. A certain alpinist I know would be proud.

Jay Burbee warming up on Clandestine Affairs.

Justin and Susie


Jay on the Yorkshire Gripper.

Jay climbing the Yorkshire Gripper, Smoke Bluffs.

Granite finger locks.

Jay climbing Quarryman Direct, Smoke Bluffs. The view of the Chief never gets old.

The birthday girl cruising up the Yorkshire Gripper.

Justin belaying in the Smoke Bluffs.

Susie protecting the crux of Out to Lunge, Smoke Bluffs.

The team polishing off the remains of the birthday desserts. There were actually two strawberry rhubarb pies.

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