Flora Lake trail lies in the Chilliwack Valley and is included in the Chilliwack Provincial Park boundaries. I've hiked this steep trail a few times before and thought that it was one of the steepest that I had hiked but after hiking steeper trails in Strathcona Park this trail didn't seen bad at all.
Instead of parking at the formal parking area in which vandalism had occurred to cars, I decided to park opposite the entrance to the provincial campground. There is a little known trail entrance just 30 feet away and this also means cutting off some uphill hiking.
The weather wasn't too good at the beginning with lots of clouds in the sky so I had hoped that a break would occur when I reached the open. The temperature was kind of cool to start but with the uphill jaunt, I soon began to heat up.
There are several creeks which cross the trail in the forest and provides a source of drinking water however most people wouldn't need to collect water until well into the hike. Despite not hiking here for a few years, I recognized the landmarks of boulders, forest sections and sparse viewpoints on the way up. I used them as a gauge to monitor my progress up the mountain.
I haven't hiked a steep trail for almost a week but I still managed to make good time at a steady moderate pace. I kept myself well hydrated and drank a carbohydrate solution for sustained supply of energy. I noticed new orange trail markers on the way but thought they were unnecessary except at one area where another path appears to diverge away from the main trail. Otherwise, the path is well laid out and can easily be navigated without additional aid.
I had reached the open subalpine in about 2 hours but the views were nonexistent with low cloud and rolling fog. I continued along to the ridgetop with the path becoming very muddy in places. I thought about stopping near a running creek and having my lunch there since my legs were starting to tire but I just kept plodding onward.
The trail cuts through lush green vegetation with only a glimpse of the background mountain ridge
Fog closed in a bit near the pass. I stopped to filter water at a pool of water and it wasn't long before a couple of women came by. They apparently did a circuit route starting from Lindeman Lake up to Flora Lake and the pass and were now heading down.
The trail heads up and along this forested ridge
Hiking up to the pass in fog
The unappealing pool where I filtered water
When my water bottle was full, I hiked the short distance to the pass and junction where the trail leads down to Flora Lake or goes along the ridge to a high point. I started heading up to the high point and stopped to photograph the landscape which appear to emerge from the rolling fog. A pika; small mammal about the size of a squirrel was out on a boulder. This elusive creature lives in cracks between boulders or burrows underneath one. I guess this one has seen many humans before so it didn't appear too frightened.
Departing fog. There is a Pika on a boulder (on the left)
A cropped photo of the Pika
I little further along the ridge, I caught a portion of Flora Lake below. By now, the clouds had lifted to reveal the broad ridge above the lake. I made my way past a snowpatch and into some light bush to end up on top of a bluff overlooking a grassy and forested landscape where I had previously come up from. There was still a lot of drifting clouds and fog rolling by. I ate my lunch here in a very cramped area.
Part of Flora Lake seen below a long mountain ridge
I lingered around waiting for a major clearing of clouds which didn't appear to be happening then made my way down the trail. When I got down to the small bowl where the trail traverses across the mountainside, the clouds started to depart and the sun shone in places. This was the first time that I saw a couple of large ugly logging scars on the mountainside which wasn't there during my last visit here. It's always sad to see the once pristine forested mountain slopes in such an ugly mess.
I continued along the trail until I came within views of Chilliwack Lake below. These are the views I missed on the way up due to the low clouds and fog.
A glimpse of Chilliwack Lake below
A broader expanse of Chilliwack lake and surrounding mountains
Looking back along the trail to the ridge in the distance where I had been