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Pitt Polder Dike Walk Part 2 – Pitt Lake Dike Trail

Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) and Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) provide fall colors in Katzie Marsh in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada.

fall foliage in katzie marsh

Fall Foliage in Katzie Marsh Provided by Black Cottonwood and Paper Birch (Purchase)

In my previous post about walking the Pitt Polder Dike Trail I covered the area along Rannie Road from the Heron Cove area of Smohk’wa Marsh through to the boat launch parking lot at Grant Narrows. Some of this area was formerly Grant Narrows Regional Park run by Metro Vancouver Parks but is now operated by the Katzie First Nation. From what I can tell the “official” name of the stretch between the start of Grant Narrows and Grant Narrows East (next to the mountains to the east) is the Pitt Lake Dike Trail. It is occasionally referred to as the Nature Dike Trail, though that looks to be the more common name for the trail heading south from the Pitt Lake boat launch parking lot which meets up with the Swan Dike Trail. To the north of the Pitt Lake Dike Trail are great views of Pitt Lake, Osprey Mountain, Raven Peak, with Edge Peak (of the Golden Ears) and Gwendoline Peak to the east. Katzie Marsh is to the south. I previously photographed a number of fall scenes along the Katzie Marsh Loop. In a way, that post could be considered part 4 of this series, though you’ll have to wait for part 3.

Regardless of your location along any of these dike trails, there are great views of the mountain landscapes as well as a lot of wildlife. When I first walked into the area near the boat launch at Grant Narrows, I stopped to consider if I wanted to continue up the dike trail or head back to my car, which was now several kilometers behind me. Considering there was still some blue sky, it wasn’t raining (yet) and the great fall foliage – I continued on of course. While I was contemplating my next move I watched a Common Raven (Corvus corax) do pretty much the same on a piece of driftwood along the shore. It shifted around on the wood, changing directions and occasionally making some noises. It seemed to be contemplating the choices in direction I was, with probably much less concern regarding the weather.

fishing boat docked at grant narrows pitt river pitt lake

Fishing Boat Docked at Grant Narrows on the Pitt River (Purchase)

While I was near the boat launch at Grant Narrows I photographed this fishing boat at the dock. There are a number of boats docked here at any given time, and many more can be seen zipping up and down the Pitt River and Grant Narrows traveling to and from Pitt Lake. Pitt Lake itself is one of the worlds largest tidal lakes and is popular with boaters. The north end of Pitt Lake is 25km (15.5 miles) north of the Pitt Lake Dike Trail and is where the Upper Pitt River enters the lake. The Upper Pitt is one of British Columbia’s best fly fishing and steelhead rivers. This likely accounts for some of the north bound boat traffic, along with the travel to and from the community of Alvin which is approximately 8km (5 miles) further up the Upper Pitt River.

Pitt Lake is notorious for being a windy location and consequently can have some rather large waves. Grant Narrows is a much more sheltered location than the lake itself, and these two kayakers ventured across the Pitt River towards and entrance to Widegon Creek. This is a relatively popular canoeing and kayaking location due to the great scenery and wildlife viewing. The two women in this kayak were not the only ones I saw venture up towards the Widgeon area while I was there.

two kayakers crossing the pitt river

Two Kayakers Crossing the Pitt River at Grant Narrows (Purchase)

Once I had decided to continue further east from the boat launch parking lot and along the Dike Trail, I photographed the scene in the first image above. I think this is one of my favourites from this fall, at least of what I’ve processed. As I said in my previous post, this year was simply great for fall foliage, and in this first photograph that color is provided mostly by Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) and Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera). The photograph below was also made along the Pitt Lake Dike Trail but shows a viewing/lookout tower that is situated on the Swan Dike Trail which is on the east side of Katzie Marsh. This is part way through the Katzie Loop Trail and a tower I climbed last time I walked out that far (about 4.6km (2.8 miles) from the parking lot). As I recall there were several very vocal Kingfishers in the immediate area at the time and it was not a moment to enjoy any quiet!

lookout tower on the swan dike trail at katzie marsh

Lookout tower on the Swan Dike Trail on the east side of the Katzie Marsh Loop (Purchase)

The Pitt Lake Dike Trail also has a lookout tower which is about 500 meters (1600 feet) east of the parking lot. The image of a boat moving through Grant Narrows at low tide I linked to above was made from that tower (looking north), as was the photo below of two women guiding a toddler along the trail (looking west). This is a wide “trail” because it is not only the top of a dike, but also a road that cars and trucks take to the Grant Narrows East area (private) where there are a few buildings and many boats are launched from as well.

walking along the pitt lake dike trail at grant narrows pitt lake

Walking along the Pitt Lake Dike Trail at Grant Narrows on Pitt Lake (Purchase)

The last photograph here shows the view from the lookout tower on the Pitt Lake Dike Trail looking east. You can see a few buildings and the dock with boats at Grant Narrows East, as well as a number of vehicles parked there. This is a private area and not one the public can stroll into. Just before that building on the right is the beginning of the Swan Dike Trail which one should take south to continue on the Katzie Loop Trail. Looking east from the tower, or while walking the dike, one can also get a nice view of Edge Peak of the Golden Ears (Mount Blanshard) though the views are better further to the west.

people walking the pitt lake dike trail between pitt lake and katzie marsh

Walking the Pitt Lake Dike Trail between Pitt Lake and Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

Wait, can we go back to the very first image in this post? I spent a while editing this one, and it wasn’t until this evening I noticed something. What is that just above the left hand trees up on the mountain? It looks like a rock outcrop, which is what I assumed the entire time I was editing it. As part of my process to make the images for the blog, I zoomed in 100% at random, and centered on that area. Is that a GAZEBO? What the heck is a gazebo doing up the hill in that location? The hill goes straight down into a slough/creek (Eloise Creek?), and I can’t imagine where a trail could be to get to that location on the side of Gwendoline Peak unless it started at Grant Narrows East and followed a ridge to come down to that location. The last time I did the Katzie Loop I don’t think it was there, or I was distracted, which is entirely possible. I suppose it could be something to do with the UBC research forest over the peak above it, but that seems doubtful given its location.

If anyone can solve the great gazebo mystery let me know!

building on side of gwendoline peak above katzie marsh

Random Gazebo Building on the Hillside below Gwendoline Peak.

For more photographs from the city of Pitt Meadows visit my Pitt Meadows Gallery.

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