Friday, 5 September 2014

Bear Necessities

Just another walk in the park. Plod up 550 meters to the south summit of Strachan to enjoy the view of Georgia Strait and pick out the smog shrouded city of Vancouver. The hike has become somewhat of a pilgrimage to be completed at least every two years and marked on the calendar as completed. There are a number of possible ascent lines each one being one of the downhill runs of the ski hill. This time Easy Rider was the trail of preference as it is the longest and one never chosen in the past. There was a posted detour for hikers to avoid a working area which I opted to ignore - how could one person cause a problem - and it turned out nothing was happening anyway. So on and upward. On the lower reaches there is little to see, but further up glimpses of Hollyburn, Black mountain, Bowen Island and the strait come into view spicing up the trek. 
Only a smidgen below the summit sits the terminus of the Sky Chair lift where I spot this three foot tall garbage recycling bin torn asunder by one of the local inhabitants. Easy to tell from the rips in the plastic bags the offending culprit was a bear. Not much of a challenge when a quick smack with a snout knocks over the can spreading the goodies out for a quick snack. Since this is a provincial park, bear proof garbage receptacles are usually the norm although one rarely finds them installed at the summit for use by hikers. So I assume the owners of Cypress mountain, who lease this area for their downhill ski resort, leave the bin here for the use of staff and contractors servicing the lift. Not very bright. Residents of North and West Vancouver are required to secure their garbage bins to prevent bears from using them as a food source with  the possibility of fines for non compliance; however, it appears the rules do not apply to profit making entities. A simple solution would be to require workers to pack out their rubbish and deposit it into garbage bins down at the main resort rather than turning the lift area into a food dump to attract bears. Then again maybe one of the corporate honchos feels even bears deserve to dine out occasionally while enjoying the panoramic view.
So after a quick stop, it was off again to descend Christmas gully and then back along the Howe Sound trail to the parking lot.