Tag Archives: nature

Hiking to lose Weight


Hiking is an amazing way to get fit and stay fit. If you are over-weight and want to shed some pounds, try my tips. They worked for me. I was 240 pounds and I came down to 170.

Here are my before and after photos…

before and after

I started walking 5 km on flat trails about 3 times a week. I would time myself and try to better my times.

Here are some useful exercise tips I’ve learned…

  • Start Easy – Don’t run. Don’t hike up steep hills
    (Too fast too early will increase the chance of injury and motivation loss)
  • Gradually work your way up to more and more challenging walks/hikes
  • The Energy Trail at Buntzen Lake is a great place .
  • Log your workouts (time, distance and date)
    (I use Endomondo to track my workouts)
  • If you wish, find a partner to help push and motivate you
  • It’s more difficult to lose weight than to eat junk food
  • Lift weights
  • Weigh yourself only once/week and do it in the morning

Here are some useful dieting tips…

  • Drink lots of water
  • Lower the sugar in your diet (see below)
  • ‘Low Fat’ advertising is tricky. Low fat foods often have high sugar
  • Have small meals, with healthy snacks in between, such as trailmix or WASA Light Rye Crispbread, with peanut butter (non-hydrogenated)
  • Nuts are a good snack and they help to make you feel full
  • Too much alcohol is bad. Don’t waste your liver’s time breaking down alcohol, when it could be breaking down sugars. Plus alcohol contains empty calories.
  • Avoid buffets
  • Don’t eat out too much
  • Low fat milk makes you feel less full; consider using 2% or homo unless you have a cholesterol problem
  • Good sugar substitutes are: Stevia; Erythritol; Xylitol
  • Close your kitchen down 2 hours prior to bedtime
  • Have one treat a week (but not a 2 lb sundae !)
  • Use spices, mustard or hot sauce for flavour
  • Substitute Hummus for Mayo
  • Always eat breakfast
  • Have lots of fibre
  • Don’t eat the skin from chicken
  • Have a consultation with a dietitian

Some high sugar foods to avoid or cut back:

  • Soda
  • Fruit juices
  • Frappuccino (Venti Mocha from Starbucks = 76 grams of sugar)
  • Candy
  • Syrup
  • Dried fruit, canned fruit
  • Cookies, cakes, pies and donuts
  • Jams, preserves & spreads
  • Many cereals (try below 6 gr/serving);
    Cheerios, bran flakes and oatmeal are good
  • Sauces, like ketchup and BBQ
  • Ice cream

These tips are all great, but what makes it so hard to stick to a diet plan and lose weight ? Motivation, confidence and mood are key factors.

Things that can motivate you to lose weight and get in shape:

  • Health reasons
  • More energy
  • Enhance your appearance
  • Increase your confidence
  • Save money

Many health plans fail due to lack in confidence.
Confidence will naturally increase once you start exercising, but try this tip that was useful for me:

Challenge yourself – for me it was cutting back on Starbucks Mocha Frappuccinos (Tall is 40 grams of sugar). I challenged myself to not have them for a month. After a month, it turned into 3 months. Once you realize you can beat the demons that lead you to food, your confidence will naturally increase.

The challenge doesn’t have to be a food challenge either – you can challenge yourself to cut back on watching TV or the challenge can be walking 1, 2 or 3 km… every day.

Lakeview Trail


Lakeview Trail is, in my opinion, Buntzen Lake Trail’s bigger brother.  This trail is an alternate route to traverse the west side of Buntzen Lake.  There are more ups and downs and it’s about 1km longer than the Buntzen lake Trail. After completing Lakeview Trail, I usually take the east side of Buntzen Lake back to the parking lot. There is a great viewpoint of Swan Falls and the North Beach area near the end of the west side traverse.

The stats…

Distance: 12 km
Time: 2-4 hours
Low point: 125 m
High point: 220 m
Elevation gain: 95 m
Cumulative Elevation gain: 500 m
Trailhead: 49° 20’ 11.3” by 122° 51’ 29.7” (Google Map)

Here are the photos…

Lakeview Trail

Lakeview Trail commences at the Pump House.
See location HERE (its the left route option).

Here is the route (click on ‘details’ for larger image)…

Here’s a map of the area from Google Earth (click on image for large size)…

lakeview trail

A comparison of the Lakeview Trail / West Side of the Buntzen Lake Trail shows:
Total one-way distance from the pumphouse to the suspension bridge is 4.9 km vs. 4.1 km;
Maximum elevation gain is 150 m vs. 100 m; and
Cumulative elevation gain is 240 m vs. 130 m

The route statistics, when returning on the east side of Buntzen Lake, are:
Distance: 10.9 km
Maximum elevation gain: 150 m
Cumulative elevation gain: 340 m

Besides a more strenuous hike, Lakeview Trail is much less busy than the Buntzen Lake Trail and it is also used by bikers and horses, which I have seen very few. You’ll see more large trees (1 m diameter) and fewer large tree stumps.

Below is a nice view you’ll see on the hike…

Nice View

There are signs for two viewpoints, but the southern ‘viewpoint’ is obstructed by trees. The northern viewpoint is at 250 m elevation and you see a great view of North Beach, Swan Falls, the Tunnel and Eagle Mountain. See below…

Viewpoint from Lakeview Trail

Below is a view of the Lakeview trail as it passes along the hydro right-of-way, before entering the forest again…

Old sign

Here is an old Lakeview Trail sign…

Lakeview Trail sign

This photo shows where the Lakeview Trail runs close to the Buntzen Lake Trail…

Trails almost collide

Below is a creek that flows alongside a section of the Lakeview Trail…


Next is a large downed tree alongside the trail…

Large tree alongside trail

Here are a couple more serene Lakeview Trail photos…

Lakeview Trail

Lakeview Trail


Before heading out on your hike, make sure you are well prepared. This means, having the TEN ESSENTIALS. It is also important to leave a trip plan (route details and estimated return time) with someone you trust.

Bring your smartphone, fully charged and put it in airplane mode while hiking. I always bring back-up battery packs for extra piece of mind. It is highly recommended that you bring a GPS device; I use my smartphone with a GPS app (Backcountry Navigator). The GPS will work in airplane mode. Learn how to use it before your hike.

For anyone new to hiking, there is a rule to which hikers follow; it is called “Leave No Trace” or LNT. The concept is generally to pack out what you pack in and respect nature, so all future visitors can enjoy what you have enjoyed.
To learn more about LNT, please check out this BLOG by a certified LNT Trainer.


Rough-skinned Newt

Today on the Buntzen Lake Trail, I saw a little Rough-skinned Newt.  It was on Pump House Road, just steps from the bridge. When I posted this on Flickr, someone thought it was a Western Redback Salamander, but Ivan Phillipsen, of Wild Pacific Northwest, informed me that it was a Rough-skinned Newt.

It blended in with the road so well, I almost walked right past it.

Rough-skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa)

Luckily, I took my good camera today so I could get a good shot.

After I finishing taking my photos, I used a stick to take him to the side of the trail. He was stiff as a board. I hope that is a defence mechanism !

This amphibian is much more commonly seen than the Western Red-backed Salamander, because the newt walks around in the open, whereas the salamander is much more secretive.

Toxin-resistant garter snakes are the only known animals today that can eat a rough-skinned newt and survive.

In evolutionary theory, the relationship between the rough-skinned newt and the common garter snake is considered an example of co-evolution. The mutations in the snake’s genes that conferred resistance to the toxin have resulted in a selective pressure that flavors newts which produce more potent levels of toxin. Increases in newt toxicity then apply a selective pressure favouring snakes with mutations conferring even greater resistance. This cycle of a predator and prey evolving to one another is sometimes termed an evolutionary arms race and has resulted in the newts producing levels of toxin far in excess of what is needed to kill any other conceivable predator.

Old Signs

During your visit to Buntzen Lake, you’ll notice several old signs around the area. The signs are wood, with yellow lettering (Except for the first example below, which has more colours). Below is the sign at the entrance to the park…

Big Sign

By the way, follow this link to see what the entrance  sign looked like in 1995.

Some of the signs are in low traffic areas and many people never seen them, such as these two signs near the Swan Falls trailhead…

Old sign

Old mossy sign in bushes

Here are two signs, you’ll see by the parking lot…

Boat Launching sign

Dogs sign

At south beach, you’ll see this sign…

Warning sign

Even the Warden’s office has a little sign…

Warden sign

There are a few ‘Viewpoint’ signs around on the trails. Here is one that is located on the east side of the Buntzen Lake trail…

Viewpoint sign

Here are two old Lakeview Trail signs…

Lakeview Trail Sign

Lakeview Trail sign

The next two photos are on the west side of the Buntzen Lake Trail. I’m not sure what help these signs are. There are no really alternate ways to go !!

Old sign on the trail

Old hiking sign

Here is a tiny equestrian sign on pumphouse road…

Equestrian sign

And below is a sign that has seen better days !!

Old sign

Be Bear Aware


I took this photo of a Salmonberry Flower at Buntzen Lake. Salmonberries are seen throughout the Buntzen Lake area, more so in sunny locations where the sun can reach the ground surface. In May, these flowers will turn into fruit and bears will be looking for a nice meal ! Bears will also get great meals from blackberries, blueberries and huckleberries to name a few.

I’ve hiked the Buntzen Lake area for a number of years, completing hundreds of hikes and have seen a bear only once, which was on the Old Buntzen Lake Trail right HERE in July 2013. The bear was not concerned with me and was content with the salmonberries or blackberries.

The thing with bears, is that you don’t want to startle them – usually if they know you’re coming, they’ll stay away.  Usually they can hear the sound of your walking, but not always. If I’m alone and in a low traffic area, I will make noise by banging two rocks together or anything that I can find.

I also met two different bears on a walk on the Deboville Slough in Northeast Coquitlam in the Summer of 2013. They were so happy with the blueberries and the blackberries, they could care less about me. They also didn’t have cubs !

Here’s are photos of the bears at Deboville Slough in August 2013…

Having a glance

Put on the brakes !

Here is a great resource if you want more info on bears…  www.bearsmart.com