Being an intrepid scientists, Dianne (an environmental educator on the sunshine coast) and I were eager to slice the galls open to see who was living inside. Not going to lie, I imagined poking one of these with a knife, hearing a popping noise and having a bunch of maggot-like critters explode onto my lap. Instead, the galls were dense. Inside there were a few pockets like cubby holes, and in each - a curled up, scared little larvae. These larvae wriggled and thrashed when disturbed
So who are these mysterious creatures? With a bit of research and the keen eye of my classmate Dan, we discovered that these are the larvae of a cynipid wasp of the family Dipolepsis. The wasps lay their eggs on the rose and rather than the larvae chewing their way through the leaves the induce growth in the rose to create the gall - a continuous food source. When mature, the wasps emerge from the gall.
Anyone else seen these galls around the Squamish area?
Sea to Sky Gondola
If you haven't been up the new Sea to Sky Gondola then I strongly suggest you check it out. The views are amazing!
You can do it two ways: round trip or hike up and down-load. Personally I recommend hiking up. It will take you about 3 hours depending how often you stop and your fitness level. The trail leaves from the Sea to Sky parking lot and connects with the chief trail. It then back cuts to form the new Lower Sea to Summit trail. Further up the mountain the trail splits to form the Upper Sea to Summit trail and the Wrinkle Rock trail.
If you are looking for a more adventurous hike take the Wrinkle Rock trail. It's a little bit shorter than the Upper Sea to Summit but has a steeper grade. The Wrinkle Rock trail also zig zags under the gondola and has ropes similar to those on the Chief for you to hike a rock face.
The Upper Sea to Summit trail is gentler than the Wrinkle Rock but will take a little longer. The trail is lined with young alders curling and reaching for the sunlight. The result is a whimsical trail curling through the mountainside.
Once you're at the top, whether you chose to hike or take the gondola, make sure you leave yourself time to walk the Panorama trail. It has several view points of the surrounding area but the best is the Chief view point!