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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bowen Island - Hiking and Lodging

One of the things that attracted me to Bowen Island was the promise of hiking trails within walking distance of the ferry terminal and many of the quaint lodges and bed and breakfasts.  In fact, the entrance to Crippen Regional Park was on the walk from the ferry dock to the Lodge at the Old Dorm which was the Bed and Breakfast that we had selected for our stay.
The welcoming front porch at the Lodge at the Old Dorm

Bowen Island was a getaway spot during the heyday of the resort era in the early 1920's - 1940's.  The Union Steamship Company developed the island and promoted it as a short one-hour cruise from Vancouver.  The Bed and Breakfast where we stayed was originally a dorm facility for the staff of one of the resort hotels on the island.  The resort hotel was demolished in the mid-1960's and the Lodge at the Old Dorm was renovated over a period of 8 years beginning about 17 years ago.  The dorm originally was a compilation of 13 rooms with just 2 bathrooms.  There are now more than 2 bathrooms (thankfully!) but you will have to review the room descriptions to determine which rooms use shared bathrooms versus a private bathroom.  We opted for one of the smaller rooms in the lodge that contained two twin beds.  The room was perfect for our travel needs since this let us share a room and save on costs versus each reserving a room.

Back to the hiking fun...Crippen Regional Park features a collection of trails that vary in length from 2 - 5 km and can easily be combined to increase the distance.  Signs with maps of the trail system are located at most of the trailheads within the park and it makes navigating through the park very easy.

The Causeway is a listed part of the trails and that was the route that we took to go from the ferry terminal to our lodge located off Melmore Road.  Just before the Causeway was the entrance to the Alder Grove Trail.  This trail goes to the Fish Ladder at Bridal Veil Falls.  It was interesting to see the fish ladders that the salmon use to return for spawning.
Looking towards The Lagoon from above the Fish Ladders at Bridal Veil Falls

We joined up with the Killarney Creek trail to check out Killarney Lake.  I enjoyed looking at all the trees throughout this trail.  Some had the most enormous trunks and they were all so unique and fun to see.  Once at the Lake, we checked out the Mountain Bike Park and played a bit on one of the obstacles.

The peaceful Killarney Lake

We returned to the Meadown Trail and passed by some beautiful meadow views before exiting the trail system in our hunt to find the Artisan Square Village and Cocoa West Chocolatiers.  We weren't very successful in our map navigation and ended up walking downhill to only head back up to the shops that we didn't notice.
It's well worth the visit to Cocoa West and Artisan Eats...both stops were delicious! 

The hiking trails were all very well maintained and wide enough for 2-3 people to walk across.  There were many people out on the trails and though the trails were suitable for running most people were hiking.  The picnic area at Killarney Lake had some of the cleanest trail side restrooms I have ever encountered.  They were so clean and didn't have that lovely aroma that you normally encounter in restroom facilities along a trail.
Clean restrooms along with picnic tables near the Killarney Lake Dam
We finished up our hiking and lunch at Artisan Square Village and then headed back to the Lodge to collect our bags in order to return to Vancouver.  There is a two hour period around lunch when the ferry doesn't run so make sure you plan accordingly.  The first afternoon ferry is around 3PM and was quite popular with day trippers that had visited the island for hiking the trails.  In fact on this day, there was a large group of women hiking the island trails.  We talked to them and they told us that they meet up each week to hike local trails, normally on a Friday but they had moved to Thursday in order to take advantage of free ferry service since they were all of retirement age.  It was fun to see how much fun they had and it definitely seemed like a great day trip from Vancouver.

Waiting for the ferry at Snug Cove

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