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August 25, 2011

Mountain Biking: Mt. Seymour, Bridle Path and Sticks and Stones

Filed under: British Columbia, British Columbia, MTB Travel, Travel — anotherheader @ 6:18 pm

Riding around the rock on Mt. Seymour's Sticks & Stones

The truth is we don’t expect to find new mountain biking trails in North Vancouver.  In Squamish we can count on riding a newly minted trail each visit.  In North Van, the trail constructor’s emphasis has rightfully been on the rehabilitation of old lines.  It makes sense.  With so much trail traffic, hardening the existing trails wins out over building new ones.

“Do you know where Sticks & Stones starts?” a rider asked us on Bridle Path, Mt. Seymour’s intermediate connector trail.

Becky shows her trail wound

Of course we didn’t.  Indeed it was a surprise to learn that there might be another destination worthy trail in the area.  And sure enough, Sticks & Stones, labeled with a small yellow tag tacked to a tree, split off just ahead.  We couldn’t check out this trail on this ride but there’s nothing that will get us back to an area faster than the scent of a new dirt track.

A few days later we were back at Mt. Seymour tracking down Sticks & Stones.  Lower down on the mountain, Sticks & Stones figured to make for an easier ride, at least aerobically.  While that turned out to be true, for a short ride with virtually no sustained climbing, it was still a lot of work.  Getting over the rocks and roots and up the short climbs keeps the heart pounding.  Nevertheless, our ride was much easier than most loops we do at Seymour.

We soon discovered that Sticks & Stones connects to Cardiac Bypass, crosses Bridle Path, and loops back up through the lush ferny forest to meet Bridle Path further on.  Plenty of fun lies in between.  Indeed, S&S routes around and over a couple of large boulders to create the type of signature trail features that will stay fixed in the mind long after the ride is over.

On this lower section of the mountain there’s less slope and less of an opportunity to play with elevation changes in the trail’s alignment.  As a result Sticks & Stones features are less committing.  In other words, though you might well fall, you are less likely to be driving a chair at the end of a ride.  Still, both of these trails, Bridle Path and Sticks & Stones, can be plenty tricky and plenty of fun.  They are not trails that you can cruise on autopilot.

Mt. Seymour offers some of North Vancouver’s best trails.  There is one problem; it’s a grind to get to the top if we can’t set a car shuttle. There are no easy days on pedaled loops to the middle and upper parts of Seymour.  That’s what makes Sticks & Stones such a welcome addition.  Now, you can take an easier day, stay low on mountain, and still have plenty of fun.

The full picture set is on Picasa.

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