British Columbia’s west coast is a temperate rainforest: a woodland that has a mild climate with heavy rainfall. It’s a fact that seems to offend a lot of locals!
For five years, I worked as a teller at a major national bank. I swear I’ve spent more hours of my life talking about the weather than a meteorologist. –Okay, that may be slightly inaccurate. But I did talk to hundreds of people and at least 90% of those conversations made some allusion to the weather.
The variations on this particular dialogue were always a highlight:
Them: “Miserable day out there. It’s been such a rainy spring/summer… Did you just get back from holidays?”
Me (confused): “No? Should I have?”
Them: “You look so tanned!”
Me: “Oh yeah, I’ve been outside. It’s been sunny for three weeks straight. What was that about a rainy spring/summer?”
But yes, it does rain a lot out here. It means you’ll spend a lot of time feeling grumpy and stressed if it keeps you from going outside. There is a solution, however.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a rainforest seems lushest when it’s raining and there are plenty of forest trails to escape to. With the rain comes low cloud cover, and it likes to hang out on the North Shore. Hiking to a high vantage point doesn’t make much sense.
Try the Baden-Powell Trail. It’s 48 kilometres long, all along the North Shore mountains. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do the whole thing in one go. There are any number of starting points which means you can make it as long or short as you like. On a clear day you’ll get sneak peeks at Vancouver, but it’s mostly not a destination hike.
Some parts are well maintained, others not so much. It just means the going can be a bit rough, with roots and rocks to trip you up. It also means the trail can be little hard to see on the ground while you’re focused on placing your feet. Luckily, there are plenty of orange markers to guide you.
It can also mean that you’ll come across creeks without bridges. There are inevitably rocks or logs to step on, but if you’re not careful, you’ll need waterproof footwear. The other option is going in the summer, once the water levels drop.
The only people I have ever heard legitimately complaining about the rain, are the ones who don’t make the most of it. Except when we have those freak three- to four-week stretches of deluge. Those bring everyone down.
In the winter, if the freezing levels cooperate, all that rain means glorious snow in the hills. If you play your cards right, 30 minutes after work you can be skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing in a winter wonderland without having to shovel the driveway. I dare you to make me a better offer!
IF YOU GO:
- Difficulty: It varies depending on the section you go on.
- Public Transit: Yes, depending on where you start.
- Parking: Yes, on the the street.
- Dog friendly: Yes, on leash.