Trip Report – North Gowlland Loop – 30 Oct 2019

Our group of nine hikers and two dogs had a beautiful fall day for this varied loop. We started at the bridge across the creek and climbed up Marlow’s logging road. We followed a flagged route over to the North Gowlland trail and made a side trip to Rousseau Ridge. We enjoyed great views of Discovery Passage, Vancouver Island and parts of Quadra. We carried on northwest along North Gowlland trail, crossing the foot bridge back over the creek and continuing up the Copperhead logging road to the mountain bike trail, Little Black Dress. We passed by the shallow trenches that were an open-pit copper mine and a small woodland lake before we climbed up a rise and had lunch in the sun on a mossy bluff. After lunch we meandered along the Little Black Dress trail, undulating through open forest. Four of our group had early deadlines, so they parted from us just before the Cash Only trail and headed down a logging road to return to their vehicle.

The rest of us followed the Cash Only trail down to the North Gowlland Road and crossed to the mountain bike trail behind the wetland, Lady Lumps. There were a few trees down on the trail, but it was a lovely walk back to the bridge. This mix of trails makes a great loop with lovely forest and lots of variety. 9.3 km; 3¾ hours.


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Hiking – North Gowlland Loop – 30 Oct 2019


Trip Report – Horne Lake Caves – 23 Oct 2019

Eleven adventurous souls made the 1¼ hour drive down island to Horne Lake Provincial Park. We went on a variation of their guided multi-cave tour.  After the suspension bridge over the Qualicum River and the 1 km walk up the hill, we started on the upper end of Riverbend Cave where we visited the Soda Straw and Bacon Galleries with beautiful caves features (speleothems) and continued as far as the Buddha Room to see the “Buddha” in the reflecting pool.  Main Cave was the second cave where we climbed up a waterfall and slid down a metal slide.  We all managed to avoid “face-plant rock” at the bottom of the slide. The final cave was Lower Cave with beautiful features and tight passageways.  We crouched low as we walked up the stream in the “Birth Canal”, but the “Cheese Grater” was the tightest squeeze. We emerged dirty, somewhat wet and tired, but everyone had a good time.

Matt was our guide and an experienced caver as well as fun and knowledgeable. He explained how the caves were formed by slightly acidic water running through limestone. He also showed us ancient fossils and how calcite crystals are formed.  As we made our way through the caves he talked about how stalagmites (from the ground) and stalactites (from the ceiling) are formed over thousands of years. 4 hours on the tour.

I would highly recommend this Park to anyone. There are a wide variety of things to do for all levels of comfort.


Thanks to Norris and Vic for the photos

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Natural History – Horne Lake Caves – 23 Oct 2019

Trip Report – Mt. Seymour – 14 Oct 2019

The Mt. Seymour hike was moved forward to Thanksgiving Monday to avoid the deluge forecast for Wednesday, and Monday turned out to be a great hiking day.  Eight of us made a quick trip to the summit, stopping at the three viewpoints for a nearly 360° view.  The summit was clear with a good view of the clouds approaching the other mountains all around.  The southeast breeze was cool, so we headed back down after a quick lunch.  Les provided tailgate apple crisp when we got back to the vehicles.  8.0km; 470m elevation gain; 3¾ hours.


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Hiking – Mt. Seymour – 14 Oct 2019

Natural History – Horne Lake Caves – 23 Oct 2019

Activity Caving
Destination Horne Lake Caves
Date 23 Oct 2019, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Les Hand
Contact Info 285-2029 or  Please let the coordinator know as soon as possible if you are interested.
Description This is a multi-cave experience that will be slightly modified for us and will take about 3 hours.  Please use link   to check it out. Scroll down to “Multi-Cave Experience”, click on “More Info” to see what to bring and wear. The helmet and headlight are provided.  You can rent rubber boots for $6 if needed.
Meeting Place Q Cove ferry terminal – be early
Departure Time 10:00 ferry
Difficulty Moderate
Costs $26.25 including taxes for the tour. Must be prepaid to Julie hold your spot.  Please make arrangements to pay Julie by contacting her at 3978.  Also the ferry and shared gas costs.
Trip limits 12
Dogs? No
Notes: We will arrange carpools once we know who is coming.  You will need to sign a liability waiver for Horne Lake Caves. Bring a lunch that you can eat before tour.

Trip Report – Hope Spring-Thompson Trail Loop – 2 Oct 2019

We had six people and two dogs for this hike, as well as a WWOOFer from Belgium.  The walk was lovely and dry through forest to see stands of first growth Douglas fir.  We passed by wetlands, along a creek following the undulating trail.  We had lunch on the northern bluff, with a good view for a cloudy October day.  There were lots of colourful mushroom along the way and some were collected for dinner.