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Opinion: Lost at Murrin Provincial Park? Learn how to walk in a circle

'There have been an incredible number of Search and Rescue calls for probably one of the easiest trails in Squamish — and that has to change.'
Woman hikes at Murrin Park.
There have been an incredible number of Search and Rescue calls for probably one of the easiest trails in Squamish — and that has to change.

To anyone who is contemplating a hike through Murrin Park for the first time — please, learn how to walk in a circle.

Because that’s literally what you’re doing.

The Murrin Loop is a beautiful trail with viewpoints that are relatively quick and easy to access.

A 15-to-20-minute hike through a wooded area can bring you to the top of Quercus, one of the most spectacular views of Howe Sound. Stroll a little bit longer and you’ll be able to find Jurassic Ridge, with another gorgeous view of the sound pointing towards the Woodfibre area.

Afterward, if it’s a hot day, you can take a dip in Browning Lake. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches all around, and the gravel pathway surrounding the water is an easy stroll for people wanting to wander around more casually.

It’s little surprise that this place has become a constantly busy location with people from out of town flocking to the area this time of year.

It’s great that everyone gets to enjoy the outdoors.

But please — try to avoid wasting our small town’s resources on calls that are incredibly easy to prevent.

It is becoming a tiring routine for Squamish Search and Rescue to have to constantly fish out lost hikers at Murrin.

The organization has reported a significant uptick in the number of hikers getting themselves lost on a trail that literally goes around in a circle.

The volunteers with SAR won’t complain or ridicule. That ain’t their style. But I can because it is frustrating.

Perhaps it would be best for newbie hikers to learn the most rudimentary aspects of how to hike at Murrin.

The first and best thing to know is that the Murrin Loop is literally a loop.

If you find yourself lost, simply follow the signs that say ‘Murrin Loop’ and you will go around in a circle, eventually finding your starting point.

Second, learn to look for trail markers.

These are generally either signs or orange diamonds that are nailed to trees. Follow these and you’ll know you’re always on the trail. Do not randomly wander about off-trail. If you haven’t seen a diamond or a sign in a while, walk back to the last place you saw one, and try to find the next. If you go for more than five to 10 minutes without seeing a single one, you’re off-trail.

Third, bring a headlamp.

Hikers would do well to know that much of the orange diamond trail markers are actually light-reflective, like a safety vest.

So when you’re in the dark, you don’t have to get lost, so long as you have a sufficiently bright light to illuminate the trail markers.

With a good headlamp, you should always be able to see a trail marker nearby, thus preventing you from getting lost in the darkness.

A weak phone light might not get this job done. So if you plan on staying out past sunset, get a headlamp.

Finally, please share this information with anyone hiking in Murrin for the first time.

Remember: with the right know-how, hiking in Murrin is as easy as walking around in a circle!