To Cross or not to Cross

Destination Hanes Valley, that was until we needed to cross Lynn Creek.

I guess we should have known better , it had been raining for days on end. It was October 28, 2014 and the creek was raging and very high. Someone had made the news the previous day for needing to be rescued from it and we both agreed we did not want to make the headlines! Deciding not to give up so easily, we recce’d both upstream and downstream of the trail to find an alternate crossing. No go.

What’s important is that we recognized the danger and didn’t let our desire to proceed get in the way. Hanes Valley would have to wait.

The experience motivated me to brush up on my River/Creek Crossing knowledge and how to stay safe.

  • Know the conditions, what has the weather been like? In Vancouver it’s no surprise it rains in the fall, be prepared to turn back.
  • Also to keep in mind is the fact that if you do stay overnight anywhere, be cognizant of the conditions. If the weather worsens, what was passable the day before may very well not be anymore. Know the forecast and be prepared for it.
  • Know that the crossing at the trail isn’t necessarily at the safest or best place. Have a look for an alternate crossing to ensure the optimum way across.
  • Look for the widest point of the river where the water will be shallower and calmer.
  • Know what is downstream of where you are about to cross. Of course rapids, waterfalls and log jams would not be a welcome encounter. Be sure to check maps beforehand for some of these features.
  • In order to keep your boots dry, wear sturdy sandals or shoes if you got them, but it is still better to wear your boots than to risk going bare foot in tricky, slippery terrain.
  • Trekking Poles or even a walking stick will greatly assist for both stability and for gauging water depth and current strength.
  • Loosen of shoulder straps, unbuckle sternum straps and hips straps in case you bail and quickly need to doff your pack.
  • When currents are strong cross at an angle downstream, but looking upstream leaning into the current and side stepping.
  • In the event of a fall ,point your feet downstream, flip onto your back and get to shore as quickly as possible.
  • In groups lock arms, in 3’s form a tripod.
  • Also ropes can be used by sending the strongest hiker across and tying it of so the rest of the group has a hold.
  • Crossing any significant current that is above the knees use caution. If it’s strong enough even shallower waters came pose a problem.

Always be safe and use common sense. Take care out there.

Lynn Creek on the Varley Trail.

Lynn Creek in the Late Summer


Lynn Creek North Vancouver trails

Lynn Creek In Late October.



Vancouver trails

Shallow and easy flowing in the late summer.



For more info on any topic see Backpacker Magazine.


I found this article on the Mount Harvey Hike to be pretty bang on. The descriptions and details are accurate and the photos are great. Pretty cool to see a butterfly photographed and featured in the article, same as in my own post. It should remind us all, that it is the small things that make these hikes so special.

Mount Harvey Trail , Article and Links


If you’re inspired to take up trail running but don’t know how or where to begin, a good place to start would be picking up a copy of Wheater’s recently published book, Vancouver Trail Running (Quickdraw Publications, 212 pp, $29.50), complete with detailed maps of 44 trail runs in Vancouver, the North Shore, Burnaby, and Port Moody, as well as tips on equipment, trail safety, nutrition, and running techniques. “There are a lot of hiking guides, but there wasn’t one detailed enough for running, either in the descriptions of routes or with good enough maps.



This is a great site for anyone looking at gathering trail information or planning their next hike. It lists many trails throughout the Lower Mainland, Whistler and Chilliwack. There are also maps and forums of which to join. Overall a great site and resource.





Found this great site on Google Plus. Lots of good information and a really  in-depth trail directory.


Another great site with all kinds of information and great resource for a wide range of activities. A must for families are just starting out and want to get outdoors. His Family Adventures page is inspiring and impressive. Have a look at this site, it’s well worth it!


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