Trip Report – Strathcona Park-Ralph River – 15-18 June 2021

When the kayak trip to Bligh Island unraveled, the remnants of that trip booked into the Ralph River campground at the last minute.  This was not a carefully scripted trip; we mostly made it up as we went along.

Day 1 – After a late start and a ferry overload wait, we arrived at 3:00 at the campground, set up the tent amongst the amazing old growth trees in the Ralph River campground, and left to begin hiking at 4:00.  Given the time available, we explored some of the trailheads in that area: the Auger Point Traverse (steep), Shepherd Creek route (impressive canyon), Flower Ridge, and Price Creek (river views, then follows an old level road for a while).

(click to enlarge photos)

Day 2 – We hiked up the Buttle Bluffs and Park Main logging roads from the Western Mine road.  These are steep, gated roads surrounded by clear-cuts, but they provide excellent views and a rapid approach to higher elevation destinations.  The spring flowers were still quite good, the geology was fascinating, and there is an excellent water falls at 5 km.  The views of the Buttle Lake valley are really exceptional.  We continued about 7.5 km and 840 meters elevation gain, until we crossed a high point in the road and could see into the next valley surrounded by high mountains.

Day 3 –  We planned to kayak on Jim Mitchell Lake, but that didn’t work out because the condition of the Jim Mitchell Road changes from 2-wheel drive to 4-wheel drive at the Bedwell trailhead.  We didn’t have the right vehicles, so we walked up the road to see the Lake.  We returned part way down the road and then followed the Bedwell Trail out through a beautiful old forest to Thelwood Creek and the suspension bridge for lunch.  After lunch we drove just a bit further and walked the short approach to Lower Myra Falls.  This is always a beautiful falls, with great rock ledges and pools.  There was lots of water coming through the falls with the spring run-off.  The final short hike of the day was the Shepherd Creek loop, which leaves from the Ralph River bridge.  This short trail has a lot of variety with the river, some big trees, a mossy bluff, a wetland, and interesting saprophytes and fungus.  We still had time to explore the campground which is nestled in a beautiful forest between the Ralph River and Buttle Lake with lots of shoreline and views.  There were other folks from Quadra so the evenings were very social.

Day 4 –  We packed up the camping gear and drove to the Buttle Lake boat launch to kayak on the Lake.  We crossed to Rainbow Island in a freshening breeze.  At the moment it’s not an island because the water level in Buttle Lake is quite low.  We paddled to the south, sheltered side, explored a bit and had lunch.  There was a racing shell boat practicing in the lake.  After lunch we poked around some cliffs and an island to the south before returning to the boat launch.  Further exploration would be great, but more water and less wind would have been ideal.

This is an exceptionally beautiful area with access to amazing hiking at the Lake level or in the surrounding mountains.  The combination of the fjord-like lakes, the mature forests and the numerous mountains makes this a wonderful base for hiking and boating.

Debbie

Hiking – Stramberg Creek and North Grove – 23 June 2021

Activity Hiking
Destination Stramberg Creek and North Grove
Date 23 June, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info debbie.quigg@ualberta.ca or 3710.  Please contact the trip coordinator by Monday.
Description We will begin at the Main Lakes Park parking access on the west side of Stramberg Lake. The access road is quite rough.  We will hike Little Main Road north, paralleling Stramberg Lake and Creek.  We will cross Stramberg Creek near Shadowbrook Creek and follow a flagged route north of the lake to a grove of old growth trees.  Part of this route has recently been maintained, but not all of it.  We can stop for a swim in Stramberg Lake at the end of the hike.  About 12 km; 4.5 hours without the driving.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay store parking lot
Departure Time 9:30
Difficulty
Moderate for the length of the hike, the creek crossing and a partly unmaintained route.
Costs None
Trip limits 12
Dogs?
Notes: This involves driving on logging roads.  Come prepared to cross the creek.  Bring lunch and bathing gear if you want to swim.  The Public Health Office COVID-19 restrictions will be observed.

Hiking – Main Lake & Yeatman Bay from Surge Narrows Rd – 30 June 2021

Activity Hiking
Destination Main Lake and Yeatman Bay from Surge Narrows Rd
Date 30 June, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Diana McKerracher
Contact Info Diana@gicable.com / 250 285 3204.
Please inform coordinator if you are coming by Monday, June 28
Description This is a flagged route from Surge Narrows Road through mature forest to the east end of Main Lake. We will have lunch and a swimming option at Main Lake and continue on to Yeatman Bay.
Approximately 10 km 4-5 hours
Meeting Place Heriot Bay Tru Value parking lot
Departure Time 9:30
Difficulty Moderate.
Costs none
Trip limits 10
Dogs? If under control at all times
Notes: Bring lunch and swim gear if that interests you.

Trip Report – Morte Lake Loop – 9 June 2021

The hike around Morte Lake is a familiar classic to many of us. There have been lots of changes in the past two years so this hike gave us an opportunity to experience some of those changes. Volunteers have been busy creating alternatives to trail sections that were wet or seriously eroded.

In spite of grizzly bear sightings and a rainy weather forecast, seven of us met at the Morte Lake parking lot and set off under sunny skies. We hiked counter clockwise, stopping for a snack on a bluff overlooking the lake. It started to rain lightly as we ate our lunch at the sandy beach on the south end. We returned to the parking via lower Deadfish Trail. It was a great to spend the day hiking and chatting with new people after so many months of isolation.

4 hours total (with snack & lunch stops) 9.5 km

Diana
 
Thanks to Diana and Norris for the photos
 

(click on photos to enlarge)

 

Hiking – Morte Lake Loop – 9 June 2021

 

Summer Planning Meeting – 20 June 2021

Activity Summer Planning Meeting
Date 20 June 2021, Sunday
Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info qioutdoorclub@gmail.com for inquiries
Description The planning meeting we normally have inside the Community Centre, will be held outside.  We will review the recent Club experiences, likely future scenarios for the summer, but primarily we will be working to construct a summer schedule.
Bring your own chair and gear for weather.
Meeting Place Community Centre Ball Park
Meeting Time 3:00

Trip Report – South Heriot Ridge Loop – 2 June 2021

This  was the first Club outing since Dr. Bonnie Henry re-opened adult outdoor sports in British Columbia.  It was great to go out with a group again.  The six of us first talked a bit about work that has been done documenting the geology, plants, animals and Indigenous history in this area.  We started out on the Homewood Camp trails leading to the first and most easterly bluff with views to the south and east.  We descended and continued on to Homewood Bluff for more views.  After a brief section off-trail we followed a forest trail leading to a short, steep ascent and High Bluff.  We stopped for lunch, then descended and made our way westerly across open mossy bluffs below the Citadel.  We climbed up a line to the plateau on the Citadel and visited the emergency communications tower with entirely different views to the northeast.  It was quite warm and humid, so we vegged out a bit on the helipad before continuing along the ridge and joining the Hopespring trail.  This trail led us to North Gowland Trail and then the Isle of 19 old growth Douglas firs.  We admired these survivors of the 1925 fire before crossing the small bridge, and again out onto mossy bluffs.  We followed a good line down to a forested logging road, where a Barred Owl sang to us, and a then short trail section leading back to North Gowlland Trail.  From there we walked east back to the vehicles.  7.7 km; 4¼ hours.

Debbie
 

(click on photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Homewood and N Gowlland Trails – 2 June 2021

 

Hiking – Morte Lake Loop – 9 June 2021

Activity Hiking
Destination Morte Lake Loop
Date 9 June 2021, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Diana McKerracher
Contact Info diana@gicable.com  285 3204.  Please contact coordinator by Monday June 7
Description An easy 9 km hike on established trail all the way around Morte Lake. 4-5 hours with breaks and a possible swim.
Meeting Place Morte Lake parking lot; (allow 15 minutes to drive from Heriot Bay store)
Departure Time 10:00
Difficulty
Easy to moderate.
Costs None
Trip limits 10 participants
Dogs? Okay, if under control at all times
Notes: Bring lunch and swim gear.
Covid protocol in effect.

Hiking – Homewood and North Gowlland Trails – 2 June 2021

Change of meeting location!

Activity Hiking
Destination Homewood and North Gowlland Trails
Date 2 June 2021, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info 285-3710 or debbie.quigg@ualberta.ca.  Please contact the coordinator by Monday.
Description We will hike to three bluffs off of Homewood trails before climbing up to the telecommunications tower on Heriot Ridge.  From there we will descend to North Gowlland trail to visit some old trees and open bluffs.
Meeting Place Community Centre parking lot
Departure Time 10:00
Difficulty
Moderate.  Some steep sections, wet sections.  We will follow maintained trails, unmaintained trails and routes.  About 8 km; 4.5 hours with lunch.
Costs None
Trip limits 10 participants.  If you RSVP for this trip, please commit to coming as others may be excluded by the cap on trip participants.
Dogs?
Notes: Bring lunch and gear for weather. COVID protocol in effect.

Trip Report – Cortes Island – May 2021

Day 1 – With Dr. Bonnie Henry’s encouragement to go camping locally, we stayed three nights and four days on Cortes Island, using the Smelt Bay campground as our base. After taking the ferry on Monday to Cortes, setting up camp and after having a sunny, relaxed lunch on the beach at Smelt Bay, we went to Manson’s Lagoon at a very low tide so that we could walk to the little island and explore the intertidal zone. (1.5 km; 1 hour)  After that we hiked to Easter Bluff, a short walk rewarded with excellent views to the south and east. (2.3 km; 2 hours)

(click to enlarge photos)

Day 2 – The night was quite cold, but we warmed up hiking up to the summit of Green Mountain, the highest point on Cortes Island, but still a very accessible trip. The loop around the top provided great views in most directions. (4.3 km; 2 hours)  In the afternoon, one couple kayaked on Hague and Gunflint Lakes, while the rest of us kayaked from the Whaletown government dock out to Shark Spit, once again at a very low tide. The launch down the steep ramp was quite extreme.  We walked around the Spit before portaging the boats over the spit and exploring the islets and coast around Uganda Passage.  (9 km; 2.5 hours)

Day 3 –  Rain was forecast overnight and into Wednesday, but we really only had drizzle overnight and it was dry by morning. Still, for breakfast we took advantage of the beautiful picnic shelter at the Smelt Bay campsite, with its timber-framed structure, wood stove and picnic tables. We then set out for the long loops at Kw’as Regional Park. Starting near the Cortes Motel, we hiked the eastern side Millennium Trail out to the Swim Rock for lunch. We followed along the Rock Face trail on the Hague Lake shore and visited the amazing Survivor Fir before crossing the narrows and hiking the loop out to the bench on the Pierre de Trail. Returning by the Cedar Ridge, we re-crossed the narrows and followed the Gunflint Lake shoreline stopping at the old steam donkey and then back to the cars. (12.4 km; 5.75 hours)

Day 4 –  Wednesday night was cool and windy, but Thursday turned into a lovely day. A few headed back on an early ferry (which it turned out didn’t run until 3:50), while the rest of us hiked in the morning at Hank’s beach, catching the low tide, sunny facing shore and great views. We rambled over the rocky bluffs and explored some tidal pools.  (3.2 km; 1.25 hours)  We then headed over to Squirrel Cove for lunch on the beach. We carried the kayaks a long way to the water and paddled into the protected anchorage, through the islands, enjoying the intertidal life. We were happy to see that the purple sea stars are returning very well. We stopped at the creek into the Squirrel Cove lagoon and walked across to the lagoon. In addition to the excellent intertidal life, there were duck and chicks in the lagoon. (7.7 km; 2.25 hours)  After ice cream from the Squirrel Cove store, most of us took the last ferry home.

There is so much to see and do on Cortes and we packed a lot into four days. The weather was kind to us, the low tides fascinating, and the spring growth lovely. We are so fortunate to have this nearby.

Debbie

Thanks to Norris and Bonnie for the photos

Quadra Island Outdoor Club Reopens

Now that Dr. Henry has lifted restrictions on adult outdoor sports, the Quadra Island Outdoor Club has the opportunity to resume outings.  There will continue to be protocols in place, which will be available shortly, and will focus on limiting participation to local residents, the size of the group to 10, and to continued observance of distancing.

In a normal year, we would have a planning meeting in April, with the new membership year beginning in May, so we are only a little late.  At this moment no one has renewed their membership, so that is an important next step.  Here is a link to the membership form and to the liability waiver:

membership application

waiver

However, there are a few challenges about how to initiate the upcoming schedule.  I personally think a planning meeting outside (which would limit attendance to 10 people) or a Zoom meeting are not very appealing options to plan the summer events.  Please let me know if you think I’m wrong about this.  The other possibility is to do the planning through email and the webpage.  I really welcome feedback about this.  It’s essential that the Club energy comes from the membership.  We have lots of destinations, but without participants and coordinators, nothing happens. Please leave your comments about any of this.

Here is a list of possible outings, to tweak your imagination.  Only a very few have dates and coordinators.

2 June, Wed – hike the Homewood – North Gowlland trails – coordinator Debbie Quigg
date TBD – hike the Shellaligan Pass Trail – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike the Morte Lake Loop – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike the Beech’s Mountain Loop – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Mine Lake Bluff – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Main Lake and Yeatman Bay – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Stramberg old growth grove – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Newton Lake – Small Inlet – Waiatt Bay – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Blindman’s Bluff & Eagle Ridge – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Nugedzi Lakes and views – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike the Rousseau Ridge loop – coordinator Debbie Quigg
date TBD – hike to Maud Island – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Mt. Seymour – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Hopespring – Thompson Trail loop – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Surge Narrows – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike the Silk Stocking – Little Black Dress loop – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Trout Creek waterfalls – coordinator Debbie Quigg
date TBD – hike the Quinsam River trails – coordinator Debbie Quigg
date TBD – hike the Snowden Forest trails – coordinator TBD
date TBD – hike to Mt. Elma – coordinator Norris Weimer
date TBD – hike to Mt. Drabble – coordinator Norris Weimer

date TBD – kayaking in Gowlland Harbour – coordinator TBD
date TBD – kayaking to Open Bay – Village Bay – coordinator TBD
date TBD – kayaking on Main Lakes – coordinator TBD
date TBD – kayaking to Granite Bay,  Kanish Bay & Small Inlet – coordinator TBD

Don’t let this list limit what you would like to do.  It only takes three people for a trip to happen, so be proactive about where you would like to go.  I would like to kick-start the trip schedule as soon as possible, so don’t be bashful about volunteering to coordinate a trip.  I have not included multi-day trips here, because that varies widely from year to year.  But we have always had multi-day camping, hiking and kayaking trips and expect to do so again.

I realize that everyone’s risk tolerance and situation is different, but I hope that you are looking forward to a summer of outdoor exercise and beauty.