Trip Report – Gowlland Harbour – 24 April 2019

Seven of us launched our kayaks from April Point Marina.  The weather was great – sunny and clear, except that the wind forecast was more than we wanted – strong northwest.  The short first leg of the trip was into the wind, but still a bit protected, so we got a taste of what the actual wind was.  Northwest, but not strong, without big waves.  So we elected to continue north along the west side of Gowlland Island, which has a nice view of the snow-covered Vancouver Island mountains.

There was one short stretch just before Steep Island where the wind-against-tide was causing some short, steep waves.  After we passed Vigilant Island the wind was behind us, pushing us into Gowlland Harbour.  We wound around several small islets, then had lunch on the south end of Stag Island, with sunshine and wildflowers.  After lunch it was a short paddle back to April Point, with a good view of the sea urchins and sea stars at a low tide.  10.1 km; 3¾ hours.

With Les’ kind invitation, most of the group continued on to his deck for libations.

Norris

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Kayaking – Gowlland Harbour – 24 April 2019

Kayaking – Village Bay – 29 May 2019

Activity Kayaking
Destination Village Bay
Date 29 May 2019, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Vic Gladish
Contact Info vicgladish@gmail.com; 250-285-2111; (cell 250-287-0459).  The coordinator should be contacted no later than 24 hours prior to departure.
Description We will meet at and launch from Len Rd Beach access and paddle to Village Bay, and return. Approximately 16 km. You MUST use a fully equipped sea kayak with all required safety equipment as per Club guidelines. (https://qioutdoorclub.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/paddling-guidelines-aug2018.pdf) Bring water and lunch.
Meeting Place Len Road Beach Access
Departure Time Meet at put-in 0830; Depart by 0900
Difficulty
Moderate depending on winds
Costs Nil
Trip limits 7 + coordinator
Dogs? No
Notes: If you want to carpool (saves space at put-in) email me. If you can take 1 more person, kayak, and gear please let me know. I can take 1 additional paddler.
It will be mid ebb tide when we put in but should be an easier take out in mid afternoon.

Hiking – Noel’s Pizza Peak – 2 May 2019

Activity Hiking
Destination Noel’s Pizza Peak
Date 2 May 2019, Thursday
Trip Coordinator Les Hand
Contact Info 285-2029 or leshand@gicable.com   Be sure to sign up so I can call you if weather changes
Description Noel’s Pizza peak is the informal name for the west ridge of Beech’s Mt. It is a flagged route, not an official trail therefore there may be some blow down and scrambling.  About 4 hours
Meeting Place Heriot Bay Store for car pooling
Departure Time 10:00
Difficulty
Moderate
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? no
Notes: If you use poles bring them. You need good footwear for this hike.

 

Trip Report – Ripple Rock Trail – 17 April 2019

Four of us were lucky to have a dry day between monsoon-like rains.  Everywhere we went there were signs of spring.  We started out from the trailhead on the wide trail down to a creek edged with big Sitka spruce and pink fawn lilies.  The trail narrows as it approaches Menzies Bay and then undulates through lovely, open-understory forest and bluffs with views of the Bay and Vancouver Island.  In between the array of spring flowers, we admired some great old-growth Douglas fir trees.  The wooden bridges and stairs were often in need of maintenance, and the trail is quite busy by our standards.  We climbed the big stairs to the overlook of Seymour Narrows and stopped there for lunch. It wasn’t a really big current, but we watched the flood increase before heading back the way we had come.  We were accompanied much of the way by a cheerful, high-energy dog, who we finally convinced to follow another group back to its owner.  9 km; 4 hours.

Debbie

Thanks to Norris and Les for the photos

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Hiking – Ripple Rock Trail – 17 April 2019

Hiking – Shellaligan Loop – 15 May 2019

Activity Hiking
Destination Shellaligan Loop
Date 15 May 2019, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Julie Mellanby
Contact Info 285-3978.  Please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip.
Description Three different loops are available.  Stay in touch with the coordinator for details.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay store parking lot for car pooling.
Departure Time 9:30
Difficulty
Easy to moderate.  There are a few rocky bluffs to scramble up and some undulating sections.
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? Dogs must not run through the group.
Notes: Bring lunch and gear for weather.

Hiking – Beech’s Mtn Loop – 18 Sept 2019

 

Activity Hiking
Destination Beech’s Mountain Loop
Date 18 Sept 2019, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Janis McLean
Contact Info phone 3614
Description Starting at the Chinese Mountains trailhead, we follow the South Chinese Trail to its juncture with Beech’s Mountain Trail. Along this trail we ascend many steep rock bluffs with spectacular views to the east, west and south from the open bluffs. At the top of Beech’s Mountain, we make a steep descent through the forest to an old rough logging road. Eventually the route veers away from the road onto mossy bluffs with convoluted route-finding using flagging tape. The route connects with the North Chinese Mountain Trail (essentially a steep rubbly old logging road) which we descend to the parking lot.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay Store parking lot to carpool
Departure Time 9:30
Difficulty Moderate to difficult (many steep and potentially slippery bluffs to negotiate, as well as steep rocky logging roads)
Costs none
Trip limits 10
Dogs? Okay if under owner’s control
Notes: Sturdy hiking shoes/boots required. Hiking poles may be helpful. Bring a lunch or snack. Estimated time 3 to 3½ hours. Please read the Outdoor Club Hiking Guidelines before the trip. If you leave a phone message, also leave your phone number in case trip plans change. Hikers who show up without pre-registering may not be allowed on the trip due to group size maximum.

Hiking – Heriot Ridge Loop – 10 July 2019

 

Activity Hiking
Destination Heriot Ridge Loop
Date 10 July 2019, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Janis McLean
Contact Info phone 3614
Description This loop follows Thompson Trail, then turns south over the bluffs on the Heriot Ridge trail. This trail ends at a nice west-facing viewpoint. After crossing the Hopespring Trail, we continue on a route south on top of Heriot Ridge with more western views, drop steeply into a cool forest and connect to one of the Homewood trails. From there we take a short side trip to High Bluff Viewpoint to enjoy the wide open vistas west to Vancouver Island and south along the Strait. The route returns north along the Ridge’s open bluffs, but at a lower level, intersecting with Hopespring Trail and down to Hopespring Road. A 10 minute road walk takes us back to the Thompson trailhead.
Meeting Place Thompson trailhead on Thompson Road. Carpool if you are able.
Departure Time 9:30
Difficulty Easy to moderate (on steep and potentially slippery bluffs)
Costs none
Trip limits 10
Dogs? Okay if under owner’s control
Notes: Sturdy hiking shoes/boots required. Hiking poles may be helpful. Bring a lunch or snack. Estimated time 2½ to 3 hours. Please read the Outdoor Club Hiking Guidelines before the trip. If you leave a phone message, also leave your phone number in case trip plans change. Hikers who show up without pre-registering may not be allowed on the trip due to group size maximum.

Hiking – Thompson-B&B Trail Loop – 22 May 2019

Activity Hiking
Destination Thompson-B&B Trail Loop
Date 22 May 2019, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Janis McLean
Contact Info phone 3614
Description We hike up Thompson Trail, climb to the first viewpoint for views north and east, then descend the mossy bluffs of the open ridge in a northward direction. After the ridge peters out, we follow a deer route through the forest to the B&B Trail. After hiking this for a short distance, we take a side trip to Eileen’s Bluffs, with splendid views east and south from angles not normally see on the island. Backtracking to the B&B Trail, we carry on to Thompson Trail and east on Thompson to the trailhead.
Meeting Place Thompson trailhead on Thompson Road. Carpool if you are able.
Departure Time 9:30 am
Difficulty Easy to moderate (on steep and potentially slippery bluffs)
Costs none
Trip limits 10
Dogs? Okay if under owner’s control
Notes: Sturdy hiking shoes/boots required. Hiking poles may be helpful. Bring a lunch or snack. Estimated time 2½ to 3 hours. Please read the Outdoor Club Hiking Guidelines before the trip. If you leave a phone message, also leave your phone number in case trip plans change. Hikers who show up without pre-registering may not be allowed on the trip due to group size maximum.

Kayaking Training – Main Lake Provincial Park – 26 June 2019

Activity Kayak training session
Destination Main Lake Provincial Park
Date 26 June 2019, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell; Instructor Monica Russell
Contact & Registration Info mitchelldarcy51@gmail.com (preferred) or 250-923-5540.  The registration deadline is May 26th.  Payment must accompany the registration and is non-refundable.
Description Led by trainer Monica Russell, this session will start at 10:30 and end about 3:30, with a half hour lunch break. Training will include:
– the basics of kayak safety and necessary equipment;
– strokes including forward, reverse, sweep, draw, stern rudder, bracing and edging;
– controlled wet exit, assisted rescue and self-rescue.
Rescue practice, when participants will be wet, will take place after lunch.
Meeting Place Boat launch at Mine Lake
Departure Time 10:00 meeting for 10:30 start of training session
Difficulty
Moderate
Costs $80; send your course fee to Julie at PO Box 397, QCove
Trip limits 10
Dogs? No
Notes: Participants will benefit most from the rescue training if they are able to stay in the water for some time – wet suits of any type, together with neoprene hoods or caps, will be very useful.  Bring lunch and warm liquids.  Participants provide their own kayak, paddle and all necessary equipment, including pump, paddle float, sponge, whistle. This session is the pre-requisite for participation in multi-day club kayaking trips and is an excellent refresher for all paddlers.

Trip Report – Cowichan Valley – 7-11 Apr 2019

None of the 10 of us had spent much time in Cowichan Valley so this trip was exploratory. The weather was marginal, but we were lucky enough to never get wet. Some in the group had injuries, so not everyone was able to participate in the outings. We could see the evidence of the hugely destructive storm that hit the area in December 2018, but every trail we hiked had been well maintained. Spring was blooming out all over and the wildflowers were excellent.
Sunday – We met at the Duncan Market around noon before continuing to the vacation rental on Shawnigan Lake, where most of us were staying.  After settling in, we went for a hike at Cobble Hill mountain.  We hiked a loop (Squirrel, Frog, Buck, and Turtle) up to the summit ridge with great views in nearly all directions.  It was a good introduction to the area with views of the Saanich Peninsula, Cowichan Bay, Mt. Tzouhalem, and the agricultural land in the Valley. 5.4 km; 2¼ hours. Back at the house, we had a great meal, celebrated a birthday, and sang to the accompaniment of guitars.

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Monday – The weather was less promising as we set out from the rather obscure trailhead to Fern Grotto. We started on an old logging road that segued to a quite new trail through open forest with lots of maples, moss, and ferns. We reached the impressive Kinsol Trestle and had lunch before hiking out and back on the Jack Fleetwood trail. The Koksilah River and the fawn lilies were lovely. The group preferred to hike back to the house along the Cowichan Valley Trail, rather than retrace our route to the vehicles. We narrowly escaped heavy rain, returning to the vacation rental just in time. 14.7 km; 4¾ hours. We had another wonderful meal followed by games and reading.

Tuesday – We had a sunny day for our bike trip on the Cowichan Valley Trail/Great Trail from Glenora to the end of the trail toward Cowichan Lake and back. Les opted to hike the Cowichan River Footpath nearby. Those who didn’t own bikes rented e-bikes, which was entertaining and easy. We later learned that this is the roughest section of the Cowichan Valley Trail, so we spent more time looking where the tire was headed than at the scenery. The forest was lovely and open, with creeks, wetlands (even a turtle) and, of course, trestles and the Cowichan River. 46.0 km; 5¼ hours. We had yet another great dinner and more music.

Wednesday – The weather improved through the day. We hiked at Mt. Tzouhalem starting at the Kaspa parking lot and following the view trails at the edge of the escarpment. The meadows of shooting star wildflowers were a treat, as were the views of the Cowichan Valley. We stopped for lunch near the cross and then continued along the cliffs to the edge of the reserve before following logging roads, with a view of Salt Spring Island and Samson Narrows, back to the car. This area is a complex web of unmarked paths, and it’s good to go with a map, GPS or app to avoid getting lost. 9.9 km; 4¼ hours.  Although rather late in the day, a few people opted to continue on to the Koksilah Ancient Forest Reserve. After a bit of trouble finding the trailhead, the blue flagging got us to the grove of fine old trees along the river. We would have liked to have spent more time there. 4.3 km; 1 hour. For our last night, we went out to dinner at the Village Chippery, which was very popular with locals and very good.

Thursday – The dark skies only produced drizzle on the hike near Cedar, taking the Cable Bay Trail to Joan Point and Dodd Narrows. This is a popular trail with locals. It’s wide and smooth and trends down to the ocean. The trail along the coast is lovely with great views of the sandstone shoreline typical of the southern Gulf Islands. The spring flowers were excellent with lots of fawn lilies. The current was not running strongly in Dodd Narrows, but the low tide provided inter-tidal viewing. 6.5 km; 1¾ hours.

Debbie

Multi-day Hiking – Cowichan Valley – 7-11 Apr 2019