Pitt Wildlife Loop
Many people know this area because of the kilometres of flat, wide dykes and the excellent bird watching spots. But also is an excellent place to do some hiking during the winter. You can customized your hike, you can make it as strenuous as you want. In my case I did a flat and long hike. From some viewpoints you can have views of Sheridan Hill to the south, Burke Ridge and Coquitlam Mountain to the west, and Pitt Lake to the north.
My journey started on the parking lot, where I headed east along the dyke that marks the southern boundary of Pitt Lake, the largest freshwater tidal lake in North America.
Thousands of years ago Pitt Lake was a saltwater fjord, but as the Fraser River deposited more and more sediment, the Pitt Waters were cut off from the sea.
After the dyke ends, I turned south. At this point you can go towards the trees of the Mountainside Trail. I keep walking on the dyke and then I saw a waterfall tumbling over tiers of mossy, lichen covered rock.
Way before the arrival of Non-natives, this area was home to the Katzie People. But long, long ago, according to Katzie mythology, there were not animals yet in the world. Swaneset, the Supreme Benefactor, was first sent by the Creator Spirit.
He created the first sturgeon and a white owl. He introduced seagulls and eulachon and brought sockeye salmon from far away. Then, came Khaals, one of 3 brothers sent to finish Swaneset's work. As the brothers travelled they transformed people into wolves, mink, kingfishers, and other animals.
When they reached Sheridan Hill, Khaals changed one man into a steelhead salmon, others to Salish suckers, beavers, muskrats, and geese. Next he came upon two sisters digging up potatoes from the mud. "Do you eat those potatos?", he asked. "Yes," they replied, "we have nothing else to eat."
"Very well," he said, "you shall become sandhill cranes. Henceforth you shall roam over the meadows as you do now." He raised his hand and transformed the sisters.
At certain times of the year, sandhill cranes still return to the marsh to dig in the ground, laugh and dance. I didn't see cranes but I saw eagles making this hike an idyllic one while I was feeling embraced by the smell of the meadows.
Distance: 12 kms
Driving Distance - One way: 34 km (21.25 miles)