Spring has sprung in the Sea to Sky Corridor with weather that has taken on bipolar characteristics. The town has been quiet, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a reminder of the shoulder season during my first years here a couple of decades ago. It seems these days that the snow doesn’t last, I remember skiing pow in May and June twenty years ago, even ten years ago we wouldn’t summerize the sleds until July. Now come April the snowline has almost disappeared on many of the lower mountains north and south of Whistler while the south facing slopes locally are down to bare earth. Hiking around in the first couple weeks of the black bear season reinforced the snowpack situation, not only was the snow gone, it was dry, crackling dry underfoot, for the first time in at least my memory the forest fire rating was high and there was a fire ban in April.
Rachael looking over Squamish on an early season hike.
While the snowpack is crucial for the well-being of the forest and its wildlife the early melt did open up the hiking trails quickly. My wife was bit by the hiking bug a couple years ago which has meant our days off together have been spent getting our winter lungs and legs back in shape. Our first small foray out was in February, hiking rock bluffs that neighbour Howe Sound and are snow-free most of the winter, come March we were down in Squamish on an almost weekly basis stretching the legs and getting our doses of fresh air. The pandemic has opened people’s eyes to the magic of the outdoors and the warm weather has lead to packed trailheads which means earlier starts to avoid the crowds and the inevitable few who don’t bother with the physical distancing recommendations.
The casting arm is itching to get out for some spring bull trout action. Photo: Rachael Mallory
Lately there has been a lot of rain, precipitation that we dearly needed, it came down hard enough I didn’t feel like being out fishing or hunting. Mix in some vehicle problems and the steelhead season has slipped by again, another year of buying a license, and not taking advantage of it. I swear next year I will get out, it is almost embarrassing to admit I’m an angler and haven’t fished for steelhead that are 45 minutes from my doorstep. With nice weather in the forecast I’ll finally be busting out the fly rods but what it really has me excited for are bears, they love nice spring days. Last week on a grey, overcast day I saw my first bear of the season on the side of the road, now I need to find one I can bust a stalk on.
See you on the water or the mountain.