With Dr. Bonnie Henry’s call to stay close to home, to stay active and get outdoors, a new book is aiming to support local outdoor adventures with your kids. Local teen Harrison Crerar’s second book, was published by Rocky Mountain Books just last month.
Foster a love of the outdoors
Still a teen himself, author Harrison Crerar has brought a unique perspective to his new book Family Walks and Hikes on Greater Vancouver’s North Shore in hopes other kids will love the outdoors as much as he does.
“I have been so lucky to grow up on the North Shore,” he said. “I have so many fond memories of fun adventures. There are so many parks and so much to explore.”
His family made the time outside a part of regular life. His North Shore childhood focused on adventure and discovery, which just so happened to take place on trails.
“I have been hiking, really, since I could walk,” said Crerar, a biology student at McGill University. “One of my earliest memories is hiking up Goat Mountain when I was young.”
Focusing on exploration had him looking for salmon along local creeks, finding a particular plant or trying to spy particular Howe Sound peaks across a view.
Give kids credit – and time
“Kids can do a lot more than you think they can,” said Crerar. “They love nature a lot – give them something to explore, something that is fun and they will want to go on hikes.”
He encourages families to focus on the journey, slowing the pace and allowing kids to investigate in the ways they want to.
“[For me] there was a lot of discovery involved,” he said, adding Crerar remembers his parents hiding Easter Eggs or helping the family find Geocaches. “If you give kids time and space, they will enjoy it.”
The new book
Similar to his first book, with co-authors Bill Maurer and David Crerar, Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore, this book focuses on local mountains from Lion’s Bay to Deep Cove, along with some Howe Sound Islands.
“This is a family hiking guide for the North Shore, including lots of hikes in Lynn Valley,” said Crerar. “When it comes to Introducing kids to hiking you have to start small like an easy walk around Rice Lake or the Varley Trail – something to get kids interested and then as you go on, introduce longer and more interesting hikes. And it never hurts to have a bit of chocolate for the end to motivate them to go a little bit further.”
When writing the book last year he re-explored many of the trails with his young siblings.
“I have a different perspective than most authors,” he said. “I have three younger siblings and we did a lot of these hikes together as I researched the book. I recalled what I liked about these hikes but also what my seven-year-old brother liked about the hikes.”
This led Crerar to think about each route and how it would specifically appeal to families.
“In each of the descriptions we have included what we think might be fun for kids that adults may overlook. Like a rock – to adults a big rock is just a big rock but to kids it can be fun to run around, to climb up or maybe it becomes a castle,” he said.
Ranging from first-timer easy to moderately challenging, the routes are accessible from reliable roads and popular staging areas. Each route includes: detailed directions to trailheads, colour maps and photographs, seasonal information, round-trip distances, trail commentary, and difficulty ratings, plus step-by-step directions.
“One that is more on the adventurous side is Kennedy Falls,” said Crerar. “It’s becoming more popular but it is still a bit of a hidden gem. Many people are aware of the old logging camp which is half way along between the tree and the falls. It is a good way to explore some of Lynn Valley’s history. Of course, there is the falls itself to explore and a giant old growth tree that is a nice resting spot.”
WIth a bit more family time as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, now is a great time to get outside, he said.
“Hiking is a great way to destress and enjoy some family bonding time without being trapped in the house 24/7,” said Crerar. “The important thing is to stay six feet from others but the North Shore has lots of wider trails where you can do that. Also do your research, Provincial Parks are closed [Ed. Openings will be limited as of May 14, not in the Lower Mainland]. Most of these trails aren’t in Provincial Parks and are still open.”
Family Walks and Hikes on Greater Vancouver’s North Shore is available at your favourite book shop or online retailer.