Kayaking – Small Inlet – 10 Aug 2016

 Destination changed to Village Bay

Activity Kayaking
Destination Granite Bay to Small Inlet (and hike)
Date 10 Aug 2016, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info darcm@telus.net or 286-6075.  Please contact the coordinator prior to the trip.
Description Paddle from Granite Bay to Small Inlet, hike across to Waiatt Bay and/or to Newton Lake depending on energy and interests.  If Newton Lake, possibility of swimming.
Meeting Place Boat launch, Granite Bay
Departure Time 10:00 (arrive early to prepare)
Costs parking at Granite Bay boat launch
Trip limits none
Dogs? no (unless they can paddle…)
Notes: We’ll plan to be back at the boat launch by 4:30.  Bring a lunch and snacks.  Have all necessary safety equipment.

Trip Report – Open Bay Main Logging Roads – 22 June 2016

Despite the downpour the night before, 5 hikers accompanied by one friend of the canine persuasion braved the wet woods for a day of pleasant rambles. The original plans to explore down from Beaver Lake were altered to avoid much bushwhacking in the wet woods. The first ramble began from a logging road at the bottom of Gravel Pit Hill beside the full creek flowing south towards Open Bay. The area appears to be a second growth riparian zone, the rich forest included thick outcrops of Devil’s Club in bloom, all varieties of ferns and two frogs (Pacific Tree Frogs?) on the trail. The trail veered away from the creek up to one of the many logging roads in the area. We crossed the road and followed the flagged route up through a more recently logged second growth to a higher logging road which we followed back out to the junction where our cars were parked.

We opted to drive to the trailhead to Stramberg Lake, taking Open Bay Main just after a fully-loaded logging truck pulled out, heading towards Granite Bay. We parked at the orange gate and followed the logging road east for about 10 minutes, branching off onto an old logging road trail which we followed for about 15 minutes. We found the northerly trail down to Stramberg Lake, but it was quite overgrown with some deadfalls. The final few hundred meters required some bushwhacking (sorry, Emily and Jess) to reach the lakeshore. After a short break on the sandy beach enjoying the tranquil view, we retraced our path back to our cars. We had walked for almost 4 hours, enjoying the lush, damp woods so full of life after the early summer rains. 7.6 km


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Hike – Open Bay Logging Roads – 22 June 2016

Trip Report – Ripple Rock – 20 June 2016

A beautiful day, perfect for hiking, 7 two-footed hikers and one very sanguine four-footed hiker took to the trail at 10 am. We stopped to admire the magnificent old-growth spruce at the start of the actual trail, certainly one of the largest, if not the largest, I have ever seen, even in Haida Gwaii. We encountered the first of the several metal bridges (and later, staircase) that have helped to change this trail designation from challenging to moderate. A pleasant walk through the lush forest, with one steep uphill, brought us to the first of several viewpoints. The view of the industry in Menzies Bay was not inspiring, but the exposed mud flats and eel grass were interesting, though we were too far away to see any particular wildlife. The trail continues around the bluff, offering occasional views south and east. A final stop at another viewpoint then the final staircase to the top of the bluff; the rock climb, up and down, pre-staircase, would have certainly been an interesting challenge. At the top we are treated to a perfect view of Seymour Narrows and the site of the former Ripple Rock. It was most interesting to see this historic site from the other side of the channel, most of us well familiar with the view from Maud Island on the Quadra side. We enjoyed almost an hour in the sunshine, having arrived at almost exactly slack, the Narrows were almost still. By the time we left, the boils and whirlpools of the rapidly increasing current were apparent, though only running then at about 4 knots, 1/3 of the way to the 12 knot max ebb that afternoon. On our return we passed several groups of hikers, presumably timing their hike to coincide with the max current. (I recommend we do the same for a return to Ripple Rock Trail, it would be well worth it.) We were back at the trailhead just after 2 pm. Flora of note were common camas still in flower at the first viewpoint and an earthstar beside the trail. An excellent hike, well worth repeating, even with the early morning start for some of us! 4 1/2 hours; 9.3 km.


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Hike – Ripple Rock – 20 June 2016

Trip Report – Kusam Klimb – 16 June 2016

There was some interest in doing the Kuskam Klimb trail (Mt. Hkusam, near Sayward, http://www.kuskamklimb.com) but we couldn’t find a date to fit everyone’s schedule, so the trip was postponed to possibly late summer or fall.

However the weather forecast and schedules aligned for four of us, so we made an impromptu decision to go check it out — just a reconnaissance, nothing serious — get to a viewpoint, check out the snow conditions, see what the trail is like. Well… they said it was steep, difficult, with some fixed ropes. It is that. Difficult on epic proportions. Bring your heart rate monitor! Poles help too, except they get in the way when using the ropes. Bring gloves for the ropes. There are a lot of ropes.

The trail starts very nicely, if it wasn’t steep it would be wheel chair accessible. That lasts about 2 km, up to 410 metre elevation. Then the trail divides. We took the shorter steeper trail. It’s more path than trail and it is steeper. Going up there are many short sections of fixed ropes, many more than we expected.

At 4.4 km, 970 m, the trail levels off very briefly and then it reverts to more climbing as it threads its way up what feels like must be a cliff. It’s all in the forest though, so except for a few peeks you don’t see how steep it is down to the valley. Oddly, there’s only one place on the trail where you feel any exposure. There were lots of alpine flowers and we watched a pair of woodpeckers feeding their noisy chicks in a hole in an old dead tree.

And on it goes, relentlessly up, until the Keta View Rock, at 5.8 km, 1270m, which has fabulous views. We took advantage of it for a lunch stop. This is where we thought about how slow it was coming up and how it might be even slower climbing back down and more dangerous. Since we were almost up to the elevation of the col we thought it might be faster and safer to continue up and over, since the south side had logging roads which would make it possible to go faster (although farther). Little did we know.

So, carrying on from there, the trail still goes up but at a reasonable trail grade. The forest opens up, almost sub-alpine, yellow cedars. All very nice. Except the recent days with thunderstorms dumped about 5 cm of hail above this elevation. We described it as white ball bearings. It made footing treacherous.

That section lasts until an excellent viewpoint of the mountain itself and the lake below at 6.8 km, 1435 m. Then we descended steeply in the slippery hail to a small lake which is a very nice green colour. 7.2 km, 1335 m.

From the lake up to the col there is a snow patch and we kicked steps in the snow. Ours were the only tracks. The col is the high point on the trail, 7.9 km, 1469 m, with good views to the south.

From now on it’s all downhill. The first kilometre is very steep downhill, with long fixed ropes, still on slippery hail. Eventually the ropes and hail end. There is a wonderful lush green spring at 9.2 km, 1130 m, and we continued on a normal grade trail, winding down through old growth forest.

At 9.8 km, 1045 m, the trail crosses the stream on a log bridge and becomes an old logging road, wider and flatter, surrounded by young alders. Classic bear country. We didn’t see any bears but we saw lots of bear signs, some quite fresh. This is where it started to sprinkle and looking back the mountain was in the clouds. The weather forecast for good weather was right, but it did warn of showers developing late in the day.

The road down Stowe Creek Valley is a very pleasant walk, with nice view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The only problem is that after a hard day it goes on forever. It feels endless.

After a couple hours (16.9 km, 380 m) we took the turnoff from this good logging road to a more ancient one which heads back to the start of the Klimb. The forest in this section isn’t so interesting, not if you’re tired. Eventually we made it back to the car. 24.4 km, 11 3/4 hours.

We did this hike two days before the real Kuskam Klimb event for 2016. We did not envy the runners who would be trying to go fast on this route! The runner times are online and simply amazing. They range from 2 hours (!!!!!) to 12 hours. As a hike, the Kusam Klimb trail is very interesting and certainly challenging, but it’s very long to do in one day.


trail guide

trail map


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Trip Report – Mine Lake Bluff – 15 June 2016

In spite of the downpour between 7:00 and 8:00, six of us decided to go on this hike and were rewarded by clearing skies. We hiked the trail from the Surge Narrows road into Homewood’s Woodsman camp, stopping along the way at viewpoints of Mine Lake and to sample the salmonberries and huckleberries. We followed the steep trail to the bluff and then out on to the somewhat exposed rock before arriving at great views at the top of the bluff. I highly recommend that this trip only be undertaken when the rock is dry, but I don’t always follow my own advice. We browsed around the bluff enjoying the views in different directions, sighting two fawns, a red-tailed hawk and a nighthawk, before stopping for lunch.

After lunch we descended by a less travelled route, down a gully to the north, which then traverses under the cliffs and circles back to the trail up to the bluff. We stopped by Mine Lake to enjoy the sun and the view of the quiet lake. 5.9 km; 3 1/2 hours.


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Hike – Mine Lake Bluff – 15 June 2016

Hike – Nugedzi – 27 July 2016

 Change of Meeting Time!

Activity Hiking
Destination Nugedzi Lakes and Lookouts
Date 27 July 2016
Trip Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info 285 3710 or debbie.quigg@ualberta.ca; please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip.
Description Hike up an old logging road and meander through open forest to the lovely Nugedzi Lakes.  We will also visit two or three viewpoints to the east and west.  If the weather is good, there will be time for swimming.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay Store for car pooling
Departure Time 9:00 9:30 A.M.
Difficulty moderate
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs?  yes
Notes: Bring lunch and maybe a bathing suit.  The first 2.8 kilometres on the old logging road is sustained uphill and often eroded.  Bring poles if you use them and good knees.  If the weather is hot, we may start this trip earlier.


Hiking – Noel’s Pizza Peak – 20 July 2016


Activity Hiking
Destination Noel’s Pizza Peak
Date 21 20 July 2016, Thursday Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Norris Weimer
Contact Info 285-3710 or norris.weimer@ualberta.ca; please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip
Description Noel’s Pizza is the informal name for the west ridge of Beech’s Mountain.  It is a great viewpoint overlooking Morte Lake.  It is a flagged route, not an official trail.  There are several different approaches that we can use and a loop is possible.  About 5 hours.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay Store for car pooling
Departure Time 10:00
moderate to challenging, for steep sections and unmaintained trail
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? no
Notes: Bring lunch.  If you use poles, bring them.


Hiking – Morte Lake Loop – 6 July 2016

Activity Hiking
Destination Morte Lake Loop
Date 6 July 2016, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Julie Mellanby
Contact Info 285-3978.  Please contact the trip coordinator prior to the trip.
Description We will hike the classic loop on maintained trails.  This is a lovely walk through open forest around the lake on bluffs, old logging roads and trails.  If the weather is good, there will be time for swimming.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay store parking lot, to arrange carpools
Departure Time 09:00
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? yes
Notes: Bring lunch and water.

Hiking – Mine Lake Bluff – 15 June 2016

Activity Hiking
Destination Mine Lake Bluff
Date 15 June 2016, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info phone 3710 or debbie.quigg@ualberta.ca.  Please contact the coordinator in advance.
Description We will leave from the parking area on the road near the Mine Lake access and walk to Camp Homewood.  From there the route ascends the bluff to the north of Mine Lake with great views (weather permitting).  A loop will be made by a trail which descends to the north and circles back to the trail just before Camp Homewood.  The route up the bluff can feel a bit exposed.  If the weather is nice, there will be time for swimming.  If the weather is awful, we will hike somewhere else.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay Tru Value parking lot
Departure Time 10:00
Difficulty moderate, tricky in places
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? no
Notes: Bring lunch.

Trip Report – Open Bay – 6 June 2016

Our paddle on Monday, June 6, started from a new launch site for most of us, the end of Breton Road in Open Bay; a short downhill, a short walk avoiding the nettles, a few logs and the inevitable rocks though not as big nor as steep as at the more commonly used Valdez beach launch site. Five of us were on the water by 10:30 am. The overcast soon dissipated and the weather quickly turned from warm to hot, northwest winds gusted to about 20 knots throughout the day.

We paddled east along Open Bay shores, admiring the contorted and dramatic geology, peered into one cave, then turned north into Moulds’ Bay. The rapidly dropping tide prevented us from taking the shortcuts so we paddled through Shellaligan Pass into Hoskyn Channel, past the north Breton, then into Village Bay. The snow-dappled peaks of the Coast and Vancouver Island mountain ranges provided dramatic backdrops to the north and west.

Our lunch stop, after one and a half hours of paddling was Village Bay beach where we noted the new signage posted by the We Wai Kai nation, as this is Reserve land. The very low tide revealed eel grass and its many inhabitants and the rich marine life in the intertidal zone.

After a short lunch break we were boosted on our return by a following sea pushed by the north-west winds and the flooding tide. We stayed in Hoskyn due to the very low tide, and turned west to Open Bay on the north side of the southernmost Breton. Here we stopped to admire the seals laying on their backs on rocks just above the tideline, apparently sunning their bellies. We also saw many oystercatchers and a flock of wood ducks as well as several herons, gulls, and eagles.

As we came into Breton Beach we could see sea urchins, pencil stars and bat stars on the rocks below. The very low tide meant a long haul up the rocky beach, the usual challenge of launching from Open Bay. We were off the water by about 2:45 pm after a hot but very pleasant paddle.


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Kayaking – Open Bay – 6 June 2016