Trip Report – Sunshine Coast Trail – 15-19 Sept 2020

In order to encourage more participants and because of the dates of the club’s kayak trip, this trip’s goal was changed, to focus on the Malaspina Peninsula, and was delayed by one week. Being well into September there was some concern about the good weather holding. Although we did leave with this year’s southern fire smoke in the air, the timing regarding weather was perfect, as the first daytime rain followed immediately after reaching the end of our trek. It turned out to also be auspicious timing regarding dates, as we only encountered 4 other back packers, and only shared a campsite on the first night.

Day 1 – Tuesday: Leaving the ferry behind at 10:15, we left one vehicle at a friend’s house near Mowat Bay, near the end of our walk, and drove on to Lund with our other vehicle, catching the Lund water taxi at 2 pm, destination: Sarah Point. The taxi dropped us off in hazy conditions on a dry rock shelf, from which, after the “before” photos, we donned our lightweight backpacks and started the walk through arbutus and manzanita groves to Feather Cove, our first campsite. We shared this site, looking east towards Malaspina Inlet, with a young kayaking couple, and were visited frequently by a curious sea lion as we set up camp. At this point, one is in Malaspina Provincial Park, and the campsite is outfitted with an outhouse, food cache and picnic table. This was truly roughing it. This is where one of our group revealed their secret weapon, a backpacking chair, and quest for seating began!

(click to enlarge photos)

Day 2 – Wednesday: Wanting to gradually add to each day’s mileage considering the placement of campsites along the route, we rose around 7 am, stretched as all conscientious aged packers do, and were on the trail by 9. Our goal was a 9.2 km hike to Wednesday Lake. At Hinder Lake outflow we were able to fill up with water.

The route took us through a green mossy forested landscape, with the first two thirds including some pleasant forested walking trail. This disappeared the last kilometer and a half before Wednesday Lake, as we had 2 successive uphill grunts up root filled inclines, until finally gaining site of Wednesday Lake. The old, non-parks standard outhouse was in stark contrast to our cushy appointment at Feather Cove, and the first camp clearing was rudimentary and a poor prospect for clean drinking water. Luckily, a short distance around the lake shore brought us to the real campsite, with adequate flat space for our 3 tents on a rock bluff, and good access to water and a swim! We walked about 6 hours that day, and being our first day of real backpacking, we were very ready to lose our loads here. We were humbled later in the early evening when a young speed backpacker dropped in, after leaving Sarah Point only 3½ hours earlier that day. Her plan was to hike the entire Sunshine Coast Trail, some 150 km, in 4½ days. We gave her all the experienced hiking tips we could offer in about 10 seconds, and bid her good evening.

Entertainment that evening was shared between stealing a backpacking chair, and watching three seasoned backpackers comically hone their technique of launching a rock-weighted line over a tree limb, to provide a food cache; entitled: Quest for Rocks. Nominations for the Darwin Awards have been submitted!

Day 3 – Thursday: Again we were back on our route by 9 am. We had to climb out of Wednesday Lake but the trail had some pleasant forested walking before our accent to the Gwendoline Hills. The walk along this ridge was fairly flat, but again we climbed as we neared McPherson Hill, after leaving Malaspina Park behind. After a walk through lovely old growth, we reached Manzanita Bluff, where a beautiful mountain hut awaited, and an expansive view of the Salish Sea would have been our reward, if it hadn’t been obscured by alternating smoke and fog. Unfortunately, we could barely see the darker mass of Hernando Island in the distance. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful lunch spot with picnic tales. We now descended through commercial forest lands, containing some lovely old trees, where the forest companies have allowed a right of way for the trail. Later, we came to Emil’s Bench, dedicated to Emil Kormpocker, a veteran logging contractor who had the foresight to save a stand of old growth trees in this area. Unfortunately, the younger forest around us obscured views of the saved old growth. Here you also have a view of Okeover Inlet below. Eventually, through some older forest, we crossed over Malaspina Road, and continued on to our next campsite, Fern Gully Creek. Here we had one of our darkest campsites, thanks to some old growth giants, There was adequate space for tents here and a rustic table. Although we had water, the pools may be drier at the end of a hotter summer. And we could find no outhouse.

Day 4 – Friday: We were back on the trial this day around 9 am knowing that we would add the first real increase to our daily distance, covering 13 km. The first part of this day had us climbing up the Thunder Ridge Trail.. After the Plummer Creek Road we were treated to an old forested rail grade, which lead us to a rest spot at Plummer Creek Bridge. Below, a 5 minute walk leads to the Plummer Creek campsite, near the bottom of Toquenatch Creek. After our break, about an hour later, we arrived at Toquenatch Falls, where water still cascaded over rocks, although nowhere the force that would exist after a rainy fall. The trail continued up the creek valley, sometimes using old rail grade, and eventually comes to a newer logging area where we had another reminder that we were out of the park, as we could hear a logging truck close by, lumbering up a grade. Eventually, the trail took us to a road system, and the Homestead Forest Recreation site. This was accessible by vehicle, and after a quick lunch held no real interest for us. Here, we met, Nick, a young fellow from Victoria, who had passed us the previous evening at Fern Gully, but was now lying on the ground, in some obvious discomfort, nursing a nerve injury from long bouts of car driving. We could only offer ibuprofen and encouragement, but Nick seemed to be familiar with the condition and was weighing his options. The afternoon then brought us up a climb to Rievely Pond with its lovely hut in an open spot above the pond. Water was not the best here, but we enjoyed a rest and continued to our intended goal, the Appleton Creek Bridge Campsite, a lovely open site amongst several old growth giants, next to a very good running water source. Above the campsite is a trail leading up to a bathing pool in the creek. We had benches at camp for cooking and sitting, and an outhouse, although its location was hidden to us until the next morning.

Because of the weather forecast, we set up two tarps to be prepared for the next morning. Two trail walker/runners passed by, who were doing the peninsula trail in one day, They were only carrying fanny packs and intended to continue through to Powell River with just 2 hours left. We did celebrate our last camp on this Friday evening by sharing some extra food and having a small campfire.

Day 5 – Saturday: This morning, the darkness of the forest and the night’s rain had us up a little later, but we were on the trail a little after 9. We had another 15 km to reach the end of our route. The descent down Appleton Creek was a mossy forest trail with several stops for small cascades and the larger Gorge Falls. Further along we entered lands given by the Sliammon people to allow the trail to continue to Sliammon Lake and Little Sliammon Lake, with its picnic pavilion, boat wharf and road access. The trail around the lakes is an up and down workout around bluffs and roots, but only for a portion of the days hike. From Little Sliammon we mostly followed old forest roads down to Sunset Park, and increasingly saw bear scat, and many friendly day hikers as we approached the suburb of Wildwood. At Sunset Park, we dropped our packs and congratulated ourselves. Two of us continued along streets to the bridge at Powell Lake outlet, and then again picked up the Sunshine Coast Trail to Mowat Bay, just down the road from where we had left our parked car. The timing was perfect, as we encountered our first daytime rain just before we reached Mowat Bay.

This trail is obviously not a walk in the park, carrying loaded packs for 5 days. But, after our plan to gradually build up each days distance, we not only found it manageable, but enjoyable and well worth the effort. It offered a great deal of variety within the coastal forest setting, including views, water courses, a variety of forests, and some excellent camping. This part of September proved to be a good choice, as there was little traffic on the trail, and offered many opportunities for solitude. The group turned to have excellent dynamics and the common love of the outdoors, plus an ample dose of good humour, allowed us to get beyond familiarity. A very positive journey!

Brent

Thanks to Brent, Norris, and Diana for the photos

Multi-day hiking – Sunshine Coast Trail – 15-20 Sept 2020

Kayaking – Kanish Bay – 30 Sept 2020

Activity Kayaking
Destination Kanish Bay (Granite/Small)
Date 30 Sept, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Vic Gladish
Contact Info 250-285-2111; cell 250-287-0459
Description Plan A – Kanish Bay – Chained Islets to Ashlar Creek to Orchard Bay
Plan B – Orchard Bay to Small Inlet and short hike to Waiatt Bay.
Meeting Place Granite Bay boat launch
Departure Time 10:00 on the water
Difficulty
Moderate to difficult depending on weather, tides, winds, distance.
Costs Use of ramp $ 5.00
Trip limits 8 kayaks
Dogs? no
Notes: Meet at 0930 for a 1000 departure. Must have a sea kayak and equipment that meets club and coast guard regulations.
Bring lunch and be prepared for fall weather.

 

Trip Report – Desolation Sound – 8-13 Sept 2020

This trip was rescheduled from August in hopes that Desolation Sound would be less busy in September. It probably is, but still busy enough in this exceptional pandemic summer, especially at the Curme Islets campsites. Compared with our usual paddling destinations, there were a large number of young people (well, young being anyone under 40…), many of them in rental kayaks, and some in more unusual craft. Notable sightings (of creatures human and otherwise) are described below.

Day 1 – Tuesday:   Four of us launched from Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island about 11 a.m. on Sunday, having lined up around 8 a.m. to catch the 9:05 ferry from Heriot Bay. The weather was calm and sunny for our crossing to the Martin Islands where we stopped for lunch. From the Martins, we headed to the north end of Mink Island and around the top to the Curmes. We had a little wind and chop on the crossing. We were somewhat taken aback to find two of the three campsite locations full by early afternoon. Fortunately, we were able to nab three of four remaining tent pads on East Curme. All the sites in Desolation Sound Marine Park have designated tent pads, an outhouse, picnic tables and/or benches, and (on the mainland sites, bear caches). Access in the Curmes is awkward in most spots on most tides. After setting up camp, some of us went swimming in the warm – slightly soupy – water, and all made an early night. One of the consequences of the younger demographic was a certain amount of partying, although with darkness by 8:30 and no campfires, things settled down about 9:30 or 10 (which is quite late on kayaking days!). The stars were absolutely dazzling.  13.7 km; 4 hours.
Notable sighting: A group consisting of two senior lady paddlers and two couples in doubles came looking for a tentpad about 5 p.m. and spent some time paddling about before the two singles took the last site on East Curme and the others disappeared to seek their fortune elsewhere. Like us, they hadn’t expected the crowds….

(click to enlarge photos)

Day 2 – Wednesday:   We headed out about 9:30 for a day trip to Prideaux Haven and beyond. Exceptionally calm, almost glassy conditions, and hot (although not the hottest yet). Very pleasant paddling through the islets, with a break at Laura Cove (where we were serenaded by a boat owner playing his violin). Then on to a rocky outcropping just beyond Price Point for lunch, and back home (taking the route outside Eveleigh Island and back though the gap between Otter Island and the mainland). More swimming, dinner, and planning for the next few days. By this point we had decided to order a water taxi to return us from the north tip of Malaspina Peninsula to Squirrel Cove, as three of us needed to be back fairly early, and it looked like a longish slog through open water. This later proved to be an inspired decision.  20.0 km; 6 hours.
Notable sighting: Half an hour before dark, a young couple paddled up in an inflatable double (about as wide as it was long), accompanied by their cat. Fortunately, some parties had moved off West Curme, and they were able to find a tent pad.

Day 3 – Thursday:  Off about 9:00 a.m. to Hare Point on the northeast shore of Malaspina Inlet, about 2 kilometres from Zephine Head. Another hot still day. Quite a bit of room at the campsite, with a fairly decent beach, although the canoe/kayak run is only wide enough for one boat at low tide. The tent pads are located on either side of the cove, with outhouse/bear cache/picnic table for each group. The westerly, more scenic area is up a fairly steep trail – we defaulted to the lower group of tent pads – still a bit of a scramble up the rocks. The afternoon was very hot – we spent much of it looking for shade.  Two of us practised self-rescue (and have the bruises to show for it). This activity generated quite a bit of amusement for other kayakers: “Oh gosh, there she goes, right over the other side.”  Much quieter location than the Curmes. Early night.  9.6 km; 2 hours.
Notable sighting: Ultra light aircraft on pontoons flew over us en route to Hare Point. Took a while to figure out what it was.

Day 4 – Friday:  Off about 9:30 toward Grace Harbour for a day trip. Not such a warm day, with the smoke beginning to move in. Grace Harbour is a popular anchorage, although not very busy when we were there. Only 2 or 3 tent pads; probably not too much privacy in summer with boaters marching through toward Black Lake. There is a creek at the head of the bay, east of the campsite. We walked up to the lake through a pleasant cedar forest, with the remnants of logging operations in a few places. About 15 minutes walk each way. There is a small cleared area for swimming access but slippery on the rocks. After lunch, we paddled back to the campsite and passed on the way a colony of Steller (and possibly also California) sea lions. We had seen Stellers fishing in the cove, and occasionally popping up rather close to our kayaks. Back about 4 p.m. More rescue practice – more bruises….  16.0 km; 5¼ hours.

Notable sighting: A young couple on standup paddleboards with gear strapped fore and aft arrived at the campsite about 5:30. The operation looked slow and a bit hazardous, but they apparently like it.

Day 5 – Saturday:  Away at 9 a.m. In order to have time to visit the Copeland Islands and still be picked up Sunday morning by the water taxi, we upped stakes at Hare Point, and nabbed tent platforms at Feather Cove (about 45 minutes paddle). Feather Cove has a decent landing beach, although exposed to waves and wash. Another 2-part campsite, with tent pads on the hill, and back among the trees down by the beach. This site is on the Sunshine Coast trail, so is used by both hikers and paddlers. In very thick smoke, we paddled to Sarah Point, down the peninsula toward Bliss Landing, and across to the most northerly of the Copeland Islands. For the first time on the trip, we had some significant wind (in our face, of course). There are at least two and possibly three campsites in the Islands. We entered North Copeland Island through a small gap into a shallow bay with easy landing. At this large site, there are three sets of tent pads; the most westerly grouping is very scenic but with what looks like trickier access. Quite a few empty pads. After lunch, we paddled by the next island with tent pads, and around a larger island with several small notches and coves for anchorage. After darting across Thulin Passage between cruising and fishing boats, we headed north again, with a stop at a lovely sandy beach just north of Bliss Landing. An old homestead with some remnants of buildings, the site has a very productive collection of old fruit trees. Some of the apple trees were about 40 feet high. Unfortunately, it was very obvious that this is a place beloved by bears, whose reach is about the same as ours. Back to camp about 5:30, having enjoyed the following wind and a bit of a favourable current.  22.9 km ; 7¼ hours.
Notable sighting: A young couple in rented kayaks showed up about 6 p.m. with an astonishing amount of gear tied to the decks of their boats, including a five gallon water container (full). As they were leaving to find a campsite at Hare Point, one of us was unable to resist suggesting to them that the location of the water container was not the best of ideas…. Not sure how this advice was received, but one has to try. Notable non-sighting: About 2 o’clock in the morning, distant shouting and banging were followed by splashing and loud snorting. The bear (as we assume it was…) did not arrive in our locale. Judging by the trail of water leading from the beach up the hill behind our tents, we concluded that the bear had been chased off the hillside tent area, ran down to the water, splashed across, and took off heading south.

Day 6 – Sunday:   Up early to be ready for the water taxi to arrive at 9. Very, very smoky. We were relieved not to have to make a 3+ hour trip in near zero visibility. Duncan Pollen from Lund delivered us safely to Squirrel Cove, and helped carry the kayaks up a very steep ramp. We reached Whaletown shortly after 11, and one of us was lucky enough to be shoehorned aboard the 11:50 ferry. The others left on the 1:50 sailing. Everyone home by mid-afternoon. Notable sighting: While we were waiting on the beach, a Steller sea lion showed us how to catch fish. Grab the salmon, shake it violently, and gulp it down head first. Worked for him (or her).

As mentioned above, this trip was quite different from our more usual paddles to less accessible and popular locations. It was mostly more relaxed, with shorter distances.  The scenery is lovely, of course, the water is warm and having some basic services at the campsites is convenient. Almost certainly, COVID is responsible for the large number of paddlers, some of whom appeared to be out for the first time. Fortunately, the weather was very calm, and presumably there were no problems with overloaded boats or less-than-seaworthy conveyances encountering challenging conditions. We did hear from the skipper of the water taxi that there had been more than the usual number of kayakers in trouble this summer. We enjoyed our time together as always.

Darcy

A couple of useful links for trip planning:
http://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/desolation/camping.html
https://www.bcmarinetrails.org

Thanks to Norris and Val for the photos!

Multi-day kayaking – Desolation Sound – 8-13 Sept 2020

Hiking – Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Park – 16 Sept 2020

This trip was cancelled due to smoke.

Activity Hiking
Destination Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Park
Date 16 Sept, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Valerie van Veen
Contact Info 250 285 2329 vvv@qisland.ca; contact coordinator by Monday evening, Sept 14
Description We will hike around Paradise Meadows … no particular destination, just fresh air and exercise, a chance to enjoy a late summer day in beautiful Strathcona, maybe some wildflowers out, maybe some blueberries still around. A lake swim an option if good weather. Bring lunch, dress for mountain weather.
Meeting Place QCove ferry terminal
Departure Time 9:00 ferry
Difficulty
Moderate
Costs Ferry and fuel
Trip limits 10
Dogs? Must be on leash in the Park
Notes: Must contact coordinator by Monday evening, Sept 14. Trip depends on weather, cancelled if rain.

Hiking – Rousseau Ridge Loop – 14 Oct 2020

Activity Hiking
Destination Rousseau Ridge Loop
Date 14 Oct, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Norris Weimer
Contact Info norris.weimer@ualberta.ca or 3710; please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip
Description We will start from the North Gowlland road and hike the Gowlland Harbour trail to Rousseau Ridge.  We will take a flagged route and logging road to circle back to the Gowlland Harbour trail and back to the vehicles.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay store parking lot to convoy to the trailhead
Departure Time 10:00
Difficulty
Easy to moderate (on the Rousseau bluff)
Costs None
Trip limits 10
Dogs? No
Notes: Bring snacks/lunch; hiking poles if you use them.

 

Hiking – Snowden Demonstration Forest – 7 Oct 2020

Activity Hiking
Destination Snowden Demonstration Forest
Date 7 Oct, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info mitchelldarcy51@gmail.com (preferred)  or 250 923 5540. Please let the coordinator know that you are coming on the hike no later than Monday, October 5.
Description Day hike in Snowden Demonstration Forest, north of Campbell River. Several trail options are available; we will likely take a loop trail of about 2 – 2.5 hours duration.
Meeting Place Ferry lineup Q. Cove (Hike starts at Lost Lake parking lot )
Departure Time 9:00 a.m. ferry for 9:45 departure at Snowden
Difficulty
Easy
Costs Ferry
Trip limits 6
Dogs? No
Notes: If people are comfortable with car pooling (masks, sanitizer, passengers in back seat), the coordinator can pick up 2 passengers at the Campbell River ferry terminal.

Trip Report – Sandy Island Marine Park – 3 Sept 2020

Five club members were joined by three paddlers from Campbell River for a pleasant trip on a calm, sunny day. Leaving from the Union Bay boat launch about 10:00 a.m., we crossed to Sandy Island and stopped for lunch, before paddling to the end of the sandspit. We enjoyed the sight of many seals and their pups on the beach and in the water. It was a hot afternoon when we returned to Union Bay, just after low tide.  15.3 km; 4¾ hours.

Darcy

(click on photos to enlarge)

Kayaking – Sandy Island Marine Park – 3 Sept 2020

Trip Report – Chauntaluf Farm – 2 Sept 2020

Five of us visited the Kellerhal clan farm, Chauntaluf, on a beautiful, warm late summer day. As three of the group had never been to the property, we first explored some of the farm and the land leading down to Hyacinthe Bay. Then we headed up Open Bay Road and onto the narrow trail leading to Raven Crag. The views of Hyacinthe Bay and the valley below Chinese Mountains were great. We continued along bluffs, through coastal forest, undulating out to Hyacinthe Point. Here we stopped for lunch and the wonderful views of Rebecca Spit and the Strait of Georgia. After a leisurely break, we backtracked and then followed trails to the Coast Mountain Lookout, which offered still different views looking east toward the mainland mountains. We circled round to Nighthawk trail and Big Pond Road before arriving at the pond. There was lots of small wildlife at the pond: a swimming garter snake, numerous dragon flies, damsel flies and many, many rough-skinned newts swimming in the pond. The damsel flies were all busy mating. After another leisurely rest we went back to Open Bay Rd and returned to the vehicles. 6.9 km, 4½ hours.

Thanks so much to Heather Kellerhals for graciously allowing the Outdoor Club to visit her family property. 

Debbie

(click on photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Chauntaluf Farm – 2 Sept 2020