My Dog's Favourite Squamish Walk
Guest Blogger: D'arcy McLeish
Squamish has lots of hiking, but sometimes a simple walk in the woods is the way to go. This is especially true for me because I made the mistake of spending 7 hours on a hike in brand new shoes the other day and my feet are still mad at me. Multiple blisters on each foot mean I’m in flip flops for a while. So today I need a place to walk and long or short, there is a whole network of gravel and easy single track walking trails between the Squamish Valley Golf Club and the Mamquam River.
I’ve never really known the official name of these trails, but folks refer to them as either the trails around the golf course or the salmon spawning channel trails. Just off the Mamquam river are a bunch of water channels for Pink, Coho, Chinook and Steelhead Salmon coming in from the Pacific every year to spawn.
Today, I am with my trusty canine companion, Lola, who knows these trails like the back of her paw. This is one of Lola’s favourite spots to walk and I agree. I come to these woods often, and I can do a quick, half hour loop, or spend most of a morning wandering the trails. It’s easy to find your way around and most of the network is an out and back, beginning just after the golf course at a small gravel parking lot on Mamquam road.
Today, Lola and I decide on a combination of sorts. We’ll walk the woods to a spot on the river and spend an hour or so lying in the sun. There are a bunch of places to sneak down to the river here, but by far the best is just over the old BC Rail Bridge. You’ll see it. It’s near the end of the spawning channels and is very obvious. Just through the woods on the far side of the bridge is a large, sandy area right on the river. Pick a spot that’s sheltered and dip your feet in.
Lola and I do just that, and both of us walk in the icy water and give our feet a rest. Flip flops are great, but for walking, well, they suck. My blisters love the cold water and I take some time to enjoy just being off my feet in the lazy, late morning sun.
The trails around here are like a nature show. Late summer and into the fall sees the Salmon spawning runs, starting with the Pinks, who are in full force through October. In the fall and early winter, Bald Eagles dot the cottonwoods and birch trees that line the creeks. Coyotes pop in and out of the trees in spring and throughout the summer months there are ducks, geese, turtles, slugs and lots of garter snakes, basking in the sun. Today we’re joined by two snakes, dozens of slugs, some geese and a falcon riding thermals overhead. Lola and I spend an hour on the river; her sniffing and walking between the hundreds of Pink Salmon who have come to spawn, and me relaxing. Eventually, we head back to the car. It’s a casual half hour walk and again I marvel at where we live. Squamish has a little bit of everything for any adventurer and today, both my dog and I are grateful for that.