Hiking the Lions: A Perfect Day
I have experienced the perfect day. Granted, it was partly due to the weather, but hiking the Lions Binkert Trail was a massive contributor.
It started with my favourite pre-hike protein pancake breakfast (for the recipe, shoot me an email) topped with fresh blueberries and a coffee for the road. I arrived relatively on time to pick up the IF member who was coming with me, and we drove up to the base of the Lions to begin our trek to the top of this mountain. We were warned that parking was an issue, but when we arrived at 9am there were a few empty spots right at the trailhead. We met up with my friend David (a former IF coach) and set off down the trail.
We started the hike at an ambitious pace, climbing the gravel path with eager anticipation for what lay ahead. The gravel path continued for a while before the ascent became much steeper and the trail more forest-floor. The day had started rather cloudy and kept us nice and cool as we climbed. We did worry a bit about visibility at the top but as we climbed, the sun broke through and sent streams of sunlight through the trees.
The hike is magnificent; the terrain constantly changes, keeping you engaged the whole time. One moment you’re crawling under trees and the next you’re scrambling up some flat rocks or trudging through snow. The closer we got to the top, the better the weather became. When we finally reached the top the sun was high and shining over the most breathtaking view of Howe Sound and surrounding mountains. You ARE on the top of the world. We sat for a long time over a cliff, staring at the small white boats on the ocean, the fluffly white clouds in the sky and the enormous backdrop of mountains and forest. A chipmunk came to say hi and see if we would share our snacks. David had a nap.
When we felt ready, we started the descent. The descent is difficult and tough on the legs, yet even that couldn’t break our mood or ruin this perfect day. Even going down, the terrain changes still kept our interest. We slid down snow banks, I took a tumble in the roots and trees (my lovely hiking companions, while laughing, snapped photos of my tangled mess before offering help) and in the last forty-five minutes we were treated to a thunder storm and torrential downpour, cooling off our sweaty skin and rinsing the salt from our faces.
We started at 9am and arrived back at our cars at 4:30pm. We exchanged some hugs and high fives, said goodbye and headed our separate ways. We cruised back into town with the music blasting and the traffic flowing smoothly, even over the Lions Gate Bridge. I finished the day with a long hot shower, a healthy dinner and an early night to bed. I will look forward to the day that tries to rival this one, but it will be very hard to do. From start to finish, the day could not have been better.
If you’re looking for a great day hike to do in the Vancouver area, I cannot recommend the Lions enough. Maybe you will be lucky enough to have a perfect day like mine. Make sure to check out some of the other hikes that IF Coaches will be leading during the next few months and if there’s one that is not listed that you would like to do, let us know!
Heather Thornton, NASM CPT, FMS II
Professional Training Coach
Innovative Fitness Vancouver
Four Seasons Hotel – Club 4
791 West Georgia Street
Twitter / Instagram: @IFVancouver