The first time we hiked the Lions, it was a bit of a disappointing experience. The forecast promised a clear summer day. I was a year out of knee surgery, and it was the first tough hike I’d attempted. After a long slog up, knowing that the down was going to be really hard on my reconstructed knee and shrunken quads, the fog rolled in minutes before we reached the ridge. We caught the barest glimpses of views, and none of the Lions themselves.
This time, it was the other way around. We set out from Lions Bay in thick, dense fog that shrouded the world from us. Every now and then a shaft of light would filter through, hinting at a ceiling that wasn’t far away.
The first part of the trail, which is steep but smooth, passed very quickly. Before we knew it we were above the cloud, with brilliant sunshine filtering through the trees. There was a fair bit of scrambling once we crossed Harvey Creek, but it wasn’t the struggle it had been when my knees were still in recovery mode. And when we reached the ridge, we finally got to see all the views we’d missed before.
The Lions are such a Vancouver icon; it was neat to see them from the other side, with a totally different perspective. The temperature inversion had left us floating on an island high above the sea of cloud filling Howe Sound, with other mountaintops breaking the view here and there.
Even the hike down was far easier than I’d anticipated, based on my memories of how hard it had been before. By the time we reached Lion’s Bay the cloud had drifted away, and we were treated to perfect fall colours in the sunshine – an ideal end to a gorgeous hike.