Traditionally, trails are named by the trail builder, usually for a particular event, a strange occurrence, or a salient feature.
Here are some of the more unusual trail names in our town:
Father, Son and Holy Cow: This popular trail starts behind St. Joseph Catholic church, hence ‘Father, Son’ and goes to the lookout at the top of Merrill Hill, hence ‘Holy Cow’ for the fine view.
Blind Channel trail: This trail starts on Newport beach, once known as Nexen beach, and goes north along the western bank of the original route of the Mamquam river to end in Rose park.
The Mamquam Blind Channel is what remains after the Mamquam River changed direction westward in the massive spring flood of 1922 to join the Squamish river at the present confluence. A blind channel is one that does not have an inlet source.
Dipper trail: This trail is along the Mamquam Spawning Channels which lie between the golf course dike and the Mamquam River dike. The trail takes its name from the small grey aquatic bird that takes all its meals of salmon eggs and other wee beasties underwater.
The American Dipper is an year-round resident and a sure indicator of clean flowing streams.
Pelk Wil’em trail: This starts on the south side of Centennial Way opposite the horse stables and goes south to join Finch drive.
The name is the hereditary and ancestral name of the Lewis family of the Squamish Nation.
It marks the contributions made by indigenous people to the rewatering project of the Loggers creek area in 2007..
Dentville trail: This trail is in the woods along the north side of Magee street in the subdivision of Dentville .The early settlers in this once swampy area were employees of the railway company which was then the Howe Sound, Pemberton Valley and Northern Railway (HSPVNR).
The Dent family lived here from 1919 to 1942..
Smoke Bluffs park and trail: They are in Valleycliffe and are best accessed from the large parking lot off Loggers Lane. The area was originally known as Bughouse heights until a forest fire swept the area in 1952 and smouldered for a few years..
Elfin trail: It is the southern approach to the pristine small lakes below Mount Garibaldi . These lakes were known as Crystal lakes until renamed in 1977.
This listing pales in relation to the more robust mountain bike trail names, although the origin of Icy Donut, Angry Midge, Doggie Style and Slurm need more explaining.
Jim Gracie is a member of the Squamish Trails Society.