Level: Easy

Distance: 7 km o/w

Time: 4 h o/w

Elevation Change: 385 m

Topographical Map: Squamish 92G/11

Click to View Map

Season: Year Round

Access: See Getting to Whistler

The bus driver should have no trouble stopping on the wide shoulder in front of the trailhead to Deeks Lake. Knowing in advance that the stop is immediately past a small sign for Bosco Creek, on the long straightaway leading up to the hill above Porteau Cove Provincial Park should be helpful however.

From the road the trail shoots straight up the shoulder of the mountain over a short section of creekside switchbacks. Once you reach the top of the bluffs however the main trail turns right onto an abandoned logging road and continues gaining altitude at a more modest pace. Turn left instead to explore the nearby quarry, now abandoned, that once belonged to the Deeks Sand and Gravel Company.

Back on the main trail, begin looking for a branch to the right after 45 minutes or so. Having located the Bluffs Trail, leave behind the trail to Deeks Lake and head down towards the highway for a few minutes. Another right hand branch leads up to a viewpoint overlooking the islands of Howe Sound, an ideal spot for lunch.

Descend to the Bluffs Trail and continue first west then south. The whole area is a nest of disused logging roads but the main route should be obvious. Expect to encounter numerous viewpoints as you make your way along the bluffs high above Highway 99. Eventually the trail begins to descend again, gradually at first then just before the end of the trail, very steeply. Back at the busy Sea to Sky Highway cross the road and look for a pull-out from which to flag down the next Vancouver-bound bus.

The End


Dentalia

Dentalia Shells

These thin, tubular mollusks formed the currency of commerce throughout the Pacific Northwest as long as 3000 years ago. Pre-European civilization is often considered a barter economy, with, for instance, coastal tribes swapping oolichan grease directly for prized Oregon obsidian. Commodity traders, however, could rely on this wampum to close a transaction when interest in the goods was decidedly one-sided. Called hykwa in Chinook jargon, dentalia shells possessed all the necessary attributes of money, being portable, recognizable and durable but rare and desirable enough to foster trade. Being available in a variety of sizes, the tusk-like shells were even divisible into small change. Professional traders are known to have tattooed measuring lines on their forearms as a handy calculator of individual shell values. Only a handful of groups, including the Nuu-chah-nulth in the vicinity of Tofino, possessed dentalia in quantities sufficient enough to make them wealthy. Harvesting the deep water mollusks was no easy undertaking however. From a dugout canoe a long, broom-like apparatus was thrust straight down into the muddy sea bottom then retrieved. With any luck a shell or two would be trapped amongst the stiff twigs at the end of the handle. Dentalia were also ostentatiously displayed as symbols of wealth and power in the form of body adornments. Perhaps most recognizable are the breast plates invariably worn by cheesy Hollywood Indians.

Illustration by Manami Kimura