A Vancouver man has taken to decorating trees on the North Shore mountains with holiday lights to bring joy to whoever might spot them along the snowy trails.
After carrying about 62 pounds of lights and camera equipment up Mount Seymour on Christmas Eve, Jason Brawn strung 90 metres of lights around a five-metre tree with a customized telescoping pole.
“I’ve been doing Christmas trees in the alpine for a long time, but nothing of this scale,” said Brawn, who’s been hiking the North Shore mountains for about 35 years.
“I bought 300 feet of Christmas lights a few days ago with the hope of doing something fun on Christmas Eve, so I packed up everything and headed up to Seymour. This one [tree] stood out just on that north side of First Pump [Peak], so I decided to decorate it. It worked out surprisingly well.”
With the tree only lit temporarily, Brawn filmed a time-lapse of the process, showing a gorgeous sunset before the tree lights up in all its glory, and shared the video to his Instagram page.
The tree in the video is more of “a proof of concept” for Brawn, who is still searching for the perfect tree to string lights up on for his “dream image.”
“I couldn’t find the perfect tree, but I’m glad it brought some joy to some people,” said Brawn.
“The dream tree that I want will let me get a good distance from it so that I can use a long zoom lens – so I can compress distance. What I want to do is have the city in the background with this great big tree and then have some people around it for scale, because in the video, you don’t really get a sense of the scale of the tree. It’s hard to appreciate that it’s a big tree.
“So that dream image is in my mind.”
Setting up in a fairly remote location, Brawn didn’t see any fellow hikers while putting up the lights on the tree but said it might have been visible to those enjoying a night ski.
“It’s just about bringing a little happiness in these days when we need it,” he said.
“If I can share this with people and it puts a smile on their faces, then that’s kind of the point of the whole thing.”
He said he was grateful to have the mountains just a short drive away during the coronavirus pandemic.
“For me, it’s a big mental health thing,” said Brawn. “I make an effort to really respect the restrictions and try to be part of the solution to minimize the damage and make sure I can take care of my parents by staying healthy, but you can still get outside and have great adventures.
“I never forget how incredibly blessed we are to have that mountain playground.”
Brawn said he had spotted another tree on a recent hike that has some potential for his dream image, so he’ll probably be back on the mountain, stringing up lights again soon to share some temporary magic.
Keep an eye out.
Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.