Trip Report – Woss Lookout and Huson Caves – 15-17 July 2019

We camped at the Woss Lake Recreation Site, with the group arriving gradually over about 30 hours.  Due to forecast rainy weather, many invested quite a lot of effort in setting up camp with tarps.  Three of us kayaked on Woss Lake Monday morning in calm and increasingly sunny conditions.  We paddled down the east side of the Lake exploring the cabins and boat launch. (about 7 km)  Some also explored the Woss River Trail with some impressive old growth cedar and good views of the river from a bluff. This trail goes a long way, but we only went about 2.8km.   In the afternoon, two more people arrived and the weather turned showery.  We drove logging roads to check out Schoen Lake Provincial Park. We already knew that any possible interesting hiking would involve access by boat, but the deluge of rain when we arrived discouraged any enthusiasm for exploration.  Back at camp, we enjoyed appies by Les’ campfire before dinner.  By Monday night the final two people had arrived and enjoyed an evening canoe paddle, where they found some pictographs.

Tuesday morning:  After Les’ delicious blueberry pancake breakfast, we departed for Woss Lookout.  We parked at the trail sign and hiked up the steep logging road, through some clear cut and into the forested lookout hill. The steep trail is well equipped with rope aids and the distance is quite short, but a good test of fitness.  We were soon rewarded with the restored fire lookout and excellent views, even with a bit of cloud around.  The views of the Schoen, Vernon, Woss and Nimpkish Valleys are impressive, as well as the nearby mountains.  We returned by the short loop and headed back down the steep trail, once again thankful for the ropes. (4.6km, 3½ hours; 400m elevation gain)

Tuesday afternoon: After lunch we continued on to the Little Huson Caves Regional Park.  The short walk through the woods takes you to the sculpted rock of the Atluck Creek working its way though the limestone.  The boardwalk and stairs are very helpful and some have been recently replaced.  We enjoyed views of the Natural Bridge from both entrances, the River Cave, the Atluck Creek and the Bridge Cave.  The green water, scalloped and sculpted rock were beautiful.  (about 2.6km, 1½ hours)  Back at camp, quite a few bathed in the Lake, which wasn’t too cold,

The forecast had consistently called for afternoon showers and we escaped until Tuesday evening, when the real weather was expected.  The rain began lightly after 21:00 and increased and continued all night.  Wednesday morning, five of us made a short paddle on Woss Lake in marginal weather, before taking down the sodden camp gear and heading home.

Thanks to everyone for the food sharing, logging road driving, and general good time.  Having the only serious rain at night was a benefit for seeing this beautiful and not much visited area.

Debbie

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Multi-day Hiking – Woss Lookout and Huson Caves – 15-17 July 2019

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Trip Report – Kay DuBois Trail – 10 July 2019

The Heriot Ridge Loop was cancelled due to rain (slippery bluffs). Instead, we opted for an enjoyable hike along the Kay Dubois Trail. The rain had stopped as six people and Kona (the dog) met at the trailhead on Wa Wa Kie Road and followed the trail south along the ocean. After the night’s rain, the forest was humid, very green, almost jungle-like. Before heading up the hill to the south end of the trail at Sutil Road, we stopped at the beach access for a break and watched the rough waves breaking at the shoreline. At the end of Sutil Road, we followed logging roads east and north. On the road north that leads to the end of Fox Road, we spotted wolf poop and a small brown garter snake trying to find a patch of sun. Before reaching Fox Road, we turned east onto a small trail that winds its way back to the Kay Dubois Trail, connecting at the big mother spruce tree. From here it was short hike back to the vehicles. Our timing was good as it began to rain again. Thank you Norris for the photo-taking.  5.3 km;  1¾ hours.

– Janis

Hiking – Kay DuBois Trail – 10 July 2019

Trip Report – Octopus Islands – 8-9 July 2019

An unfriendly forecast changed a four-day trip to Cortes into a 2-day trip to the Octopus Islands. The two days were great, however, and with the much reduced travel time, distance paddled was probably not too far off what we would have done on the longer trip.

Five paddlers launched from the Discovery Lodge docks at 9:15 to catch the morning slack in Beazley Rapids, and after a short stop in Yeatman Bay, headed north to the Octopus Islands. Passing (with just enough water) between the two private islands, we found a fairly good campsite on the east side of Quadra and set up for the night. After lunch, we paddled around Waiatt Bay and stopped at a truly lovely site on the south shore (which we’re saving for a future trip). Our next stop involved a short and unsuccessful walk to find the picturesque ‘museum’ cabin on the southern private island. Backtracking a bit, we made an easy landing on the beach below the cabin, and visited the hundreds of signs and other artifacts left over the years by visiting boats.

Heading back to camp, we sighted the very rare Flamingo Rosa Giganteus making its stately way around the cove (apparently propelled by two attendants…). This species is usually seen in its normal habitat of Suburbia Walmartia and is previously unknown in these waters. (First day 19.2 km or 10.4 NM; 4¾ hours)

The next day after a fairly early start, we crossed to the Maurelle shore and paddled down to enter the Settlers Group at slack water. We made good time, but were a bit apprehensive about the current as we hadn’t previously paddled among these islands. All went well and we stopped for lunch just inside White Rock Passage. After much debate and listening (again) to the marine forecast, we made the reluctant decision to head home that evening, as rain and strong winds were still on the menu for Wednesday. After a short trip up the passage, we returned on the Read Island side, and crossed from Surge Point to the Lodge, arriving at the dock just before 5 p.m. At that point, we had been in the kayaks continuously for 3½ hours, and flopping out onto the dock was less than graceful (for some of us, anyway).  (Second day 24.1 km or 13 NM ; 6 hours)

A good if short trip – good weather, lovely scenery, good company.
Thanks to all, Darcy Mitchell, Trip Coordinator

Thanks to Norris and Valerie for the photos

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Multi-day Kayaking – Octopus Islands – 8-9 July 2019

Trip Report – 5040 Peak – 2-4 July 2019

Fabulous.  But first you have to get there.  Everybody know that getting there is half the fun (and getting back is the other half).  It’s reputation proceeded us, notably the bad road and the steep trail.  The Alpine Club site said a 4×4 was required for the Marion Creek logging road, and others discussed whether high clearance was needed.  The logging road in is only 10 km, but most of it is quite rough.  We only expected the last part to be rough.  But there are a number of steep sections, right from the start, and those are always the worst.  We met a car coming out and they had parked before the last hill and walked the last 2 km.  So that’s what we decided to do.  As it turned out, the last 2 km were not that bad, or at least not any worse than the first part.  The vehicles driving in were either 4x4s, pickups, or beaters.

Day 1: The trail isn’t that bad — for the first 300 m, as it goes up through a logged section.  After that, it’s just a path and it goes straight uphill.  No switchbacks.  It’s not walking.  It’s more like climbing stairs and ladders, on rocks and tree roots.  It’s rough, but it’s not bushwacking.  It is steep.  There are two short stretches where a rope aid is provided.  We were climbing in the cloud and it was misty, wet and muggy.  We reached Cobalt Lake, but it was shrouded in the fog.  After that it was a short climb to the hut, also in the cloud.  The hut is very nice.  There was only our group of six the first night, so it was very spacious.  It has a wood pellet stove and solar panels and LED lights.  It seems to be very well insulated, so it was quite warm.  Everything is very well thought out and it is extremely well equipped.  Then in the evening, the surrounding peaks started to emerge and the hut popped into the sunshine, above the clouds.  That’s when we switched to feeling like the Greek gods on Mt. Olympus.  We had a beautiful sunset.  And the stars at night!  No moon, so we saw the Milky Way and everything.  (driving the road – 7.5 km; walking the road – 1.7 km, ½ hour; walking the trail – 3.3 km, 700 m elevation gain, 3½ hours)  (Some others can do it faster)

Day 2: Above the hut is some subalpine and then alpine with lots of rocky ridges to walk.  We went to the top of the 5040 peak, as it was peeking in and out of the cloud and then to some minor peaks along the ridge.  ( 4.1km, 344m elevation gain, 4¼ hours)  The wildflowers were excellent and much ahead of schedule.  The area looks great for further explorations with sufficient time.  It’s quite steep in places, with some hidden cliff bands.  Our walking was somewhat limited by the remaining steep snow bands and maps with insufficient contour detail.  But some in our group ventured out on the ridge toward Triple Peak (2.6 km, 115 m elevation gain, 2 hours) and the short ridge beyond the outhouse (0.6 km, ¼ hour).  Some returned to the summit after dinner, when the cloud level lowered and the views were clearer.  (1.9 km; 220 m elevation gain, 1½ hours)  The views are really impressive, with lots of nearby mountains like Nahmint and Klitsa as well as views as distant as the Golden Hinde.  That afternoon two couples from Comox arrived at the hut and one of those couples got engaged on the 5040 Peak summit.

Day 3: The final day was for the descent.  Nobody was really looking forward to that.  Sometimes it is harder going down.  We stopped at Cobalt Lake, which was beautiful in the morning light, but after that there aren’t any vistas.  The trail parallels, close by, a stream with cascades, waterfalls and canyons for much of the way.  The trail was slippery going down as it had been in the cloud for days.  Poles are highly recommended.  There is one point where the trail turns abruptly, around a big rock, and almost everybody misses that turn and continues straight down into the forest.  They catch on sooner or later as the trail fades out.  What you think of the trail to the hut will depend on your fitness, but Cobalt Lake, the hut and the 5040 alpine area make it all worth while.

Norris

Thanks to Norris and Stephen for the photos

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Multi-day Hiking – 5040 Peak – 22-4 July 2019