Kayaking – Main Lake Provincial Park – 9 Sept 2015

Activity Kayaking
Destination Main Lake Provincial Park
Date 9 Sept 2015, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info darcm@telus.net or 285-2739
Description A relaxed paddle/picnic/swim/hike at the Lakes
Meeting Place Boat launch, Mine Lake
Departure Time 10:00 am
Difficulty
easy
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? no
Notes: We’ll plan to be back at the boat launch by 3:00 p.m.  Bring lunch and snacks.

Trip Report – Nugedzi Lakes & Overlooks – 22 Aug 2015

The Nugedzi hike is special because there are so many highlights along the way. Six of us hiked up the logging road, passed the lily pond to the viewpoint looking southeast over Rebecca Spit, Georgia Basin and the nearby islands and coast. We continued on through the undulating forest and cedar grove, and stopped for lunch and a swim at Nugedzi Lake. The water levels are significantly lower and the forest is very, very dry. After lunch we hiked out to the viewpoints over Discovery Passage toward Vancouver Island. On the return trip, we made the short loop to Little Nugedzi Lake. This was a fairly leisurely trip with everyone taking time to enjoy the special scenic points along the way. 5 ½ hours, about 12 km.

Debbie

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Hiking – Nugedzi Lakes – 22 Aug 2015

Trip Report – Channel Rock & Kw’as Park – 18 Aug 2015

Such a beautiful day, filled with sunshine. Ten individuals attended this trip, we caught the 9:05 a.m. ferry to Cortes Island. We drove to 431 Whaletown Road, parked at Channel Rock parking lot.  Steph (manager) for Channel Rock met us and we walked the lovely path to Channel Rock.  Channel Rock is a 140-acre, off the grid paradise, protected by land covenant, powered by solar energy, and only accessible by boat or by foot.  Steph took us on a tour of Gilean Douglas’s home, which is in need of care and attention.  Our donation went towards this restoration program.  Steph gave us further details of the life of Gilean Douglas during her time on Cortes Island and the present owners.  We then toured the gardens and the amazing locally crafted dwellings of Channel Rock.  Each structure fitted into the natural landscape, such beautiful craftsmanship.  We ate our lunch overlooking the stunning coastline and gardens.

Trekked back along the path to the parking area.  We dropped two hikers off at Whaletown Commons and the rest proceed to the Kw’as trails.  This is a large network of trails and we only had the time to cover a small section.  The section we chose took us along the side of Gunflint Lake and through deep old forests, up to high covered bluffs.  We crossed a bridge that gave us a view of Hague Lake and then continued up and over the manzanita covered bluffs.  We stopped a couple of times at different view spots and to read the information boards posted.  This trail is well marked and indeed beautiful. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to hike to the Old Growth area and all decided we need to return for the whole day next time.  It was a pleasure walking in the cool woods on such a hot day.  The group decided to take a side trip to the Co-op for a nice cold beverage and then onto the ferry line-up.

This was truly a rewarding day and again filled with beautiful memories of another visit to Cortes Island. All hikers arrived home safely and we look forward to seeing the pictures.

Lets return again!

Margot

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Hiking – Channel Rock & K’was Park – 18 Aug 2015

Trip Report – Circumnavigate Read Island – 10-13 August 2015

Monday, August 10
Our group of six (Debbie, Norris, Val, Sheelagh, Lonn and Darcy) launched mid-morning from Discovery Islands Lodge at Surge Narrows in sunny weather with light NW winds. (Thanks to Ralph and Lannie for permission to launch, and to leave our vehicles at the Lodge.) Paddling south toward Viner Point, we took a short lunch break on the north side of the middle King Islet – a rough ‘oyster’ beach, but some potential as a campsite. About 3 p.m. we reached our planned campsite, an abandoned homestead in the second last bay before the Point. As it was still early, some of the group suggested we continue to Lake Bay to check out possibilities there. There is a nice looking campsite at the head of the bay, but as it was occupied, we looked a little further north, then returned to the Viner Point site about 5 p.m. On the way back, we could see humpback whales spouting along the east shore of Quadra Island.

The Viner site has space for 5 or 6 tents in a grove of alders with a couple of small areas on the beach. During supper and through the night, we were entertained (or kept awake….) by fish jumping in the bay, and humpbacks spouting and breaching further off shore. 19 kilometres paddled.

Tuesday
After the early morning humpback show, breakfast, and breaking camp, we launched at 9 a.m. for a beautiful low-tide paddle along the steep shores north of Viner Point. As the wind was forecast to rise to 10-20 by noon with a strong wind warning for late in the day, we took only a short lunch break at Frederic Point (a beautiful site but awkward landing on most tides). It was windy and choppy through Whale Passage, but settled down as we turned the corner and headed north along the east shore of Read Island. Crossing to South Rendezvous Island, we discovered that our hoped for campsite was occupied by a large commercial group. After some discussion, we decided to check out the site on the north end of the island (where some of us had camped in 2014) although landing is difficult except at lower tides. As we arrived at high tide with a northeast wind and rough-ish water, we landed on various ledges and hauled the kayaks well up on the rocks. The main part of the site is a rocky point open to both the east and west – scenic, but exposed. There is also space for tents at the head of the small bay in a dark but sheltered forest. The point has space for 4-5 tents, but ideally 2-3. After a calm evening, the promised wind finally arrived after dark, with most of us scrambling out of tents to batten down the hatches (and save anything hanging out to dry.) Those inclined to wake in the night reported beautiful phosphorescence in the breaking waves.     23 kilometres paddled.

Wednesday
The wind was still blowing on Wednesday a.m. With the challenge of launching boats into the waves and wind, most of us elected to spend the day ashore. Lonn decided to head home, leaving about 9:30. Debbie and Norris, who had landed in a slightly more sheltered spot, took an afternoon paddle around the Rendezvous group, while Val, Sheelagh and Darcy read, snoozed, snacked and chatted until the tide rose sufficiently to move boats around to the head of the bay for launching in the morning.

Thursday
After hauling gear over the rocks, and carrying kayaks over logs and slippery boulders, we launched at 10 a.m. en route to White Rock passage. Sunny, winds light NW. Uneventful paddle back to the Lodge apart from some lively currents near Beazley Passage. Landed at 12:45. 13 kilometres paddled.

Total trip length – 55 kilometres.

Overall, it was a great trip with excellent weather and wildlife viewing. The main challenge is the scarcity of campsites in the area, which makes it difficult to plan an optimal day’s paddle.

Darcy Mitchell, coordinator

 

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Kayaking – Around Read Island – 10-13 August 2015

Kayaking in the Hakai Conservancy – July 2015

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Access for kayakers wanting to paddle in the central coast has recently become more difficult. BC Ferries used to let kayakers wet launch at several places along its route on the central coast, but the new ferry is not equipped for that. However, BC Ferries still provides kayak transport to McLoughlin Bay near Bella Bella and there is a convenient beach launch site right at the ferry terminal.

For background information about kayaking in this region, see these articles:
http://www.wavelengthmagazine.com/1996/jj96ferry.html
http://www.wavelengthmagazine.com/PaddleBCCentralCoast.html
http://www.coastandkayak.com/2003/jj03central.html

The target kayaking region is from Calvert Island to Bella Bella, with lots of little islands to explore. It is part of the Hakai Lúxvbálís Conservancy and the Great Bear Rainforest.

After looking into the region and the problems of getting there with all our gear, organizing the food, and general safety issues, we decided to go with a commercial kayak tour. There are very few of those to this region and one of them happens to be Quadra based. Spirit of the West (kayakingtours.com) ran two trips to Great-Bear-Rainforest-Outer-Islands this summer, and we went with their first one ever. Seven of us from the Quadra Outdoor Club, two excellent guides (Graham and Sam) and three other women, making 12 paddlers and 10 kayaks in total. The trip was eight days long and we paddled about 20 km each day.

The new ferry is very upscale and provides great buffet meals in the restaurant. Two problems. One, the ferry leaves early in the morning and returns late at night, so it works best to overnight in Port Hardy at the beginning and the end, but every room in Port Hardy books way in advance. Solution: there are inexpensive hostels, but you still need to book in advance. Two, it leaves early in the morning and they want you at the ferry at 5 a.m. and it’s a half hour drive out of town. No solution; it takes them a long time to load.

We loaded the gear into the kayaks at McLoughlin Bay and it was blazing hot with no breeze. By the time we got on the water it was after 16:00, we had a fair headwind and we were never too hot again. We didn’t paddle far before we stopped for the night at a small lagoon just north of the junction of Lama and Hunter Channel. Space was limited for the eight tents, but we were very protected.

The next day was windy and rainy. We crossed Lama Passage and paddled southwest, against the wind, along the Campbell Island shore. We explored wonderful inlets and channels along the way. The weather had improved by the time we reached our campsite on island “49”, a cozy, protected midden beach.

On day three we paddled through some amazing narrow channels and then on through the Admiral and Tribal group of islands to the McMullin Group. We meandered through the shallow waters between islets and then camped on a spectacular, white sandy beach with great views.

On day four we continued through the McMullin islands and then crossed to the north end of Goose Island. We were fortunate to have only a bit of wind and not a lot of swell for this 45-minute crossing. This area is both exposed and shallow and would not have been possible in many conditions. We had lunch and explored the long sandy beach with cabins once used by the Heiltsuk rediscovery camp. We continued to paddle along the east side of Goose Island, against some wind and current, to Gosling and Snipe Islands. This area also has extensive shallow sandy areas, which connect the islands at a low tide. We camped on Snipe, with beaches on both sides.

On day five, we made the big crossing over Queen Sound to the Simonds and McNaughton Group. We got an early start in order to reach protected waters before the forecast strong afternoon winds. In the McNaughton Group, we paddled along very narrow channels admiring the intertidal life and camped on another sandy beach on Hunter Island near Cultus Sound. This site had a short walk through very impressive old growth forest to another beach.

The following day, we continued south to Triquet Island. Although we were mostly protected from the fairly strong southwest winds by islets and channels, the crossing south of Superstition Point was quite bouncy with refracted waves. We paddled through Spitfire Channel and Spider Anchorage. We camped on Triquet for two nights, enjoying more leisurely day paddles, beach-time and walks on the seventh day.

On the last day the water taxi picked us up, returning paddlers, kayaks and gear to the ferry dock. In the early evening we boarded the ferry back to Port Hardy. We saw humpback whales in Lama Passage and Fitz Hugh Sound.

We expected northwest winds; we got southeast and southwest winds. The unusually hot summer weather changed just before our trip. For a drought, we had quite a bit of rain. However, we cannot complain about the weather. This area is extremely exposed, so we were lucky we had good weather for the big crossings we made. We hoped to also cross notorious Hakai Passage to Calvert Island, but conditions were not favourable. Thanks to satellite technology, we were not forced to make that crossing. The guides used an inReach SE so that they could send text messages via satellite to the water taxi so they could pick us up wherever we happened to end up on the last day.

Other trips would have other weather and interests and take other routes. It’s a big area with lots to see. Incredible white sandy beaches, amazing sculptured granite cliffs along the shore, sea otters, sea lions, big trees, sand hill cranes and more than 20 other birds. Some sun, some rain, some wind, some calm, some swell, some waves, no fog. We saw a few fishing and cruising boats, but very few other kayakers. It’s a great place.

Thanks to the guides for all their hard work watching out for us, the great food, and arranging everything.

Photos by K. Manry, V. van Veen, M. Wood and N. Weimer.

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Hiking – Far West Wall – 2 Sept 2015

Activity Hiking
Destination Far West Wall
Date 2 Sept 2015, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Norris Weimer
Contact Info 285-3710 or norris.weimer@ualberta.ca; please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip
Description This hike begins on the south side of South Chinese Mountain.  It then follows a flagged route to a climbing wall.  The route goes around and up to the top of the climbing area.  This involves some big steps and minor scrambling. The effort is rewarded with great views.  About 3 hours.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay Store for car pooling
Departure Time 10:00
Difficulty
Moderate.  This is a short hike (5km) mostly without a maintained trail and one very steep section
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? no
Notes: Bring lunch

 

Hiking – Nugedzi Lakes – 22 Aug 2015

 Rescheduled

Activity Hiking
Destination Nugedzi Lakes and overlooks
Date 22 Aug 2015, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info 285-3710 or debbie.quigg@ualberta.ca; please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip
Description We will hike up the old logging road and into the forest.  This trip takes us through some old forest groves and on to the Nugedzi Lakes.  Hopefully, it will be warm enough for a swim.  We would like to visit both of the overlooks, which makes this a fairly long hike (about 12 km) with a moderate amount of elevation gain.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay Store for car pooling
Departure Time 9:30
Difficulty
moderate
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs?
Notes: Bring a lunch and possibly a bathing suit.