Trip Report – Cathedral Lakes Prov Park – 6-10 Sept 2018

Five of us went to Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park in early September, in spite of two evacuations in August due to wildfires. When we arrived in Keremeos the back burn, right at the edge of town and close to the Cathedral Lakes access road, was very dramatic. Les went up a day early, checked into the Lodge, explored the four nearby lakes, and enjoyed the hot tub. The rest of us were driven up the steep, rough road to about 2,000m on Thursday morning. No one traveled in the famed unimog. Each day dawned fairly clear and then summer clouds developed around noon, which was consistently better than the forecast. The campground was nearly empty of people, but we saw Mountain Goats wandering through almost every morning.

After the four of us set up camp on Thursday on the edge of Quiniscoe Lake, we hiked around Scott Mountain on the Diamond Trail. This was a great introduction to the beautiful alpine meadows, the larch groves and open alpine ridges, on a relatively easy trail. Although the vast majority of the flowers were past, there were a few persisting into September. This was our smokiest afternoon. We had close encounters with Pica and Marmot on this hike. 8.9 km; 3½ hours; 300m total elevation gain.

The following day, Friday, was our most ambitious hike, starting out to the beautiful, alpine Glacier Lake and then hiking up steeply to the rim. Once on the rim there are great views, although it wasn’t completely clear, and the hiking is quite easy. We could see that there were forest fires everywhere around us, but not immediately threatening. There are great geological features along the rim: the Devil’s Wood Pile of columnar lava, the Stone City with weathered and decomposing granite, and the Giant Cleft, a narrow, vertical gap in the cliff face. After visiting these, we returned to the Stone City and descended to Ladyslipper Lake. The trail down is steep, and in some places unconsolidated. Nearer to the Lake the trail passes through great boulders and larches. Ladyslipper Lake is lovely and the visitors who were fishing found it easy to catch trout there.  14.6 km; 8¼ hours; 500m elevation gain (to 2,600m), but more much total gain with undulations on the rim.

On Saturday, we had a more gentle, but extremely beautiful hike to Goat Lake. We hiked down the switchbacks to Goat Creek and then followed the trail up to the Lake. The creek and the lush vegetation along it were lovely. Goat Lake is a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by larches, with a small beach fed by a gully of decomposed granite, and backed by the cliff wall of Grimface Mountain and the rim. We all had dinner in the Lodge Saturday evening. The food, company, and fire in the fireplace were all very congenial.  12.3 km; 5 hours; 450m total elevation gain.

On Sunday, Les and Diana paddled on Quiniscoe Lake in the morning and hiked the lake tour to Lake of the Woods, Pyramid Lake and Glacier Lake in the afternoon. The rest of us hiked up above the waterfalls which flows into Quiniscoe Lake and up the steep, unconsolidated route to the rim. From there it was an easy hike up to Quiniscoe Mountain (2551m). It was cool and breezy, but we were entertained by a Mountain Goat wandering by. We descended to Glacier Lake, where there were some photogenic deer, before continuing on and exploring Lake of the Woods.  11.2 km; 5¼ hours; 600m total elevation gain.

The weather became very cool and rainy toward evening and we once again retreated to the Lodge for Les’ excellent fire in the fireplace. It rained quite a bit overnight, but the forecast snow didn’t materialize (just a few flakes). In the morning, the sun came out, we broke camp with wet tents, and made the trip back down the rough road to Keremeos.

This is a spectacular area, with exceptional access to alpine scenery provided by the shuttle up the hill.  It’s sad to see the devastation that the Spruce Bark Beetle has caused in this forest, but the biodiversity in the alpine meadows is wonderful.   It would be lovely at a variety of seasons: earlier the flowers would be out and latter the larches would be golden.

Debbie

Thanks to Norris, Les and Diana for the photos.

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Multi-day Hiking – Cathedral Lakes Prov Park – 6-10 Sept 2018

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Hiking – Eagle Ridge Loop – 12 Sept 2018

Activity Hiking
Destination Eagle Ridge Loop
Date 12 Sept 2018, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Sandra Burns
Contact Info 285-3977 or sandraburns.ca@gmail.com.  Please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip.
Description This hike will include the official trail to Eagle Ridge and an unmarked route descending the ridge and continuing on to the higher ridge to the north.  From there we will descend to the logging road and return to the vehicles. The descent from Eagle Ridge is very steep on mossy rocks.  There is no trail.  With the culvert out on Copperhead logging road, we will have to park at the creek and walk up.
Meeting Place Heriot Bay store parking lot for car pooling.
Departure Time 10:00
Difficulty
The section up to Eagle Ridge is a maintained trail of moderate difficulty.  The descent from Eagle Ridge is challenging.  The segment to the next ridge and down to the logging road is on an  unmarked route through mostly open forest.
Costs none
Trip limits none
Dogs? Depends on the dog.  Would need to be completely controlled during the descent.
Notes: Bring lunch and gear for weather.

Trip Report – Forbidden Plateau and Cruikshank Canyon – 27 Aug 2018

This was an unscheduled, impromptu trip.  We took advantage of a break in the weather for a tour of the lakes on the Forbidden Plateau and at the last minute decided to push on to Cruickshank Canyon.  The day was cloudless, with a reasonable summer temperature, and a bit of smoke haze on the horizon.  We caught the 7:05 ferry and were hiking shortly after 8:30.  We hiked the lake loop clockwise, arriving first at Battleship, then Lady, Croteau and Kwai Lakes.  We explored the excellent new group campground at Croteau, complete with yurt cooking shelter, and had lunch at Kwai.  We hiked the spur to Mariwood and Beautiful (well named) Lakes and continued to Cruikshank Canyon.  The haze was most noticeable across the canyon, but the viewpoint drop-off is always impressive.  We stopped at Mariwood Lake on the return and Julie swam in the cold water, before hiking up to the Ranger station and on to Helen Mackenzie Lake.

This is truly a spectacular sub-alpine hike.  We were very pleased that there was no apparent drought on the plateau.  The lake levels were reasonable and the meadows still green and lush.  The wild blueberries were delicious and definitely extended the time it took to do the trip.  22.1 km; 8¼ hours.

Debbie

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Reconnaissance Report – Mt. McBride – 20-24 July 2018

This was my fifth trip to the marble Meadows – Mt. McBride area. Not having the opportunity to complete the round trip up to Mt. McBride on earlier trips, I returned this time with the main goal of summiting the peak. This was a solo trip.
Provision must be made for crossing Buttle Lake from the Augerpoint picnic area, where cars can be left, to Phillips Creek Marine Campsite, where canoes, and kayaks can be stashed. I left my kayak half hidden in the bushes and cable locked it to a tree. Most people don’t bother with this precaution. It must be mentioned that in the summer, with a stabilized high, winds can whitecap the lake after 1 pm. Canoeists must be comfortable with this or wait for calmer conditions.
I headed up the well worn trail at roughly 5 pm from an elevation of 250 meters. After 3.2 km., water is reached at the 840 meter mark. This was about 1½ hours in. The trail crisscrosses a steep pitch at about 1200 meters, where there are a few blow downs. Nothing insurmountable, but one does have to leave the trail to bypass them. Easier on the descent. As this trail’s traffic is much less than Bedwell or Flower Ridge, trail repairs sometime take years. This section had the most flower activity, with rhododendron, tiger lily, mountain valerian, columbine and lupins in abundance. Flower activity was finished, largely, up in the meadows. The Marble Meadows lakes area was reached after 3½ hours, at just over 1400 meters. This is where I camped for the evening. Bugs were bad, and a net hat comes in very handy.
I left camp the next morning at around 8 am, for the almost leisurely 1¼ hour walk to the Wheaton Hut. This is a beautiful subalpine route past incredible tarns with Marble Mtn. looming from above. As one looks down on the first lake, the lower trail to Wheaton is evident. This is much more enjoyable than the higher treed route that parallels to the north. Stay down in the open, as this is where the scenery is.
As I was planning to have an easy day in advance of the next day’s all-day trip to McBride, I set up camp down at Wheaton Lake, below the hut. Someone has put a mosquito net in the door of the hut, to provide relief for some, but I decided the gorgeous setting of the lake, with Morrison Spire as a backdrop, was a far superior spot.
The next morning, I was on the trail at 7:45 for the 10 hour return trip up Mt. McBride. This is a long commitment, and an equally pleasing shorter alternative trip is Morrison Spire. This trip is far less gruelling regarding both distance and route finding, and provides a great ”above all” vantage point of the area. From Wheaton, one continues west along the side of the ridge behind the hut. This is a well worn route until it descends a small valley prior to ascending over the limestone band before the ascent up the summit ridge, where one can head south to Morrison Spire or north to McBride. The route through the limestone band is marked with cairns, but a GPS or compass and map, are handy for getting the general direction to the logical ascent to the summit Ridge. At this point, one is still on the Philips Watershed Route. There were only smaller patches of snow, but lots of water sources before climbing up to the ridge. There was some melting snow on the ridge, but this will lessen, as it was now only mid summer. Remember to look for fossils in the limestone area, as it was under the ocean some 250 million years ago. Quite striking when you compare this to its present alpine state.
I headed north on the ridge towards McBride. At one point as the ridge meets the base of McBride, one loses some altitude. At this point I maintained this elevation on a worn route that skirts the mountain towards the north side with the objective of hiking up the north snowfield. Since the snowfields were well melted and separated by rock bands, I started heading up hill at the last visible rock band that had been visible when I first started traversing the mountain. I started heading up on rock and eventually arrived just below some false summits on the southwest ridge of McBride. Traversing around to the north at this point brought me to the south summit at 2081 meters. This is not technical, but can require some scrambling with use of hands. The reward was a breathtaking 360 view and direct view at the northeast aspect of the Golden Hinde. As I was lunching, a helicopter circled around, eventually landing below the approach ridge. My curiosity was piqued, as no landings are permitted without a permit or an emergency. It took me 5½ hours to reach the peak from Wheaton (and 4 ¼ hours to descend).
On the way down the ridge, I couldn’t believe my ears: a marmot whistle the first I have ever heard in this area! Then I ran into one of the marmot researchers who had choppered in. They had set up a camp on the edge of the limestone area and were radio tagging the marmots. These had been introduced into the area, with the addition of another individual, several years later, to help the growth of the population. Very cool! I continued my 4 hour plus hike back down.
That night, back down at Wheaton Lake, I had another reward repeated for a second night: “Mars shine”. I was close enough to the end of the month where Mars was the closest to earth it has been for 15 years (when I had previously seen the spectacle while camping on Catala Island, on the west coast). Mars was very orange red and big enough to produce a ray of orange light on Wheaton Lake.
Next day, I left in the late morning for a 3 hour hike back down to my kayak, and the Buttle Lake crossing.

Brent Henry

Please note, this was not an official trip and the report is provided for information.

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Trip Report – Woss Lookout & Little Huson Caves – 26 July 2018

The original plan was to hike to Woss Lookout in the morning to beat the extreme summer heat. But, unexpectedly, when we drove north on Highway 19, it was overcast and quite cool, so we continued on to the Little Huson Caves first. These karst features in Quatsino limestone are very beautifully sculpted into complex shapes with the Atluk Creek running through it. We took the short walk to the northern viewpoint first and explored the big opening in the natural bridge over the River “Cave”. The trail also leads to the south opening of the bridge with even more opportunity to see the sculpted limestone. With the low water and dry weather there are lots of possibilities for exploring. We also visited the Bridge Cave before walking to Little Huson Lake.

We then drove south to the rough logging road leading to the Woss Lookout trailhead. Once the skies cleared at noon, it was already hot. We walked up the upper logging road switchbacks and then took the trail through the forest up to the summit. This is a short, steep hike with lots of rope available for assistance. There were wonderful blueberries and purple huckleberries on the way up. At the summit we enjoyed the excellent restoration of the lookout tower, a very refreshing afternoon breeze, and fantastic view in nearly 360°. The historical photos from 1948 are very interesting. The location of the tower was great as a fire lookout, but also for views. The conical hill is a focus for five valleys. For the hike: 4.4 km; 2¾ hours; 376 m elevation gain; 35% incline in the steep section.

Debbie

Thanks to Norris and Les for the photos, which were updated on August 25th.

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Hiking – Woss Lookout & Little Huson Caves – 27 July 2018

Trip Report – Crest Mountain- 25 July 2018

The weather forecast was for hot, hot, hot, and the Crest Mountain trail is south facing and up, up, up, so not everyone thought doing this hike as scheduled was a good idea.  Nevertheless, three of us decided to do it anyway, although we did change the start time to the first ferry, which was a good move.  The drive to the trailhead was very scenic in the morning light.  The trail was cool in the open mature forest in the shadow of a ridge.  We moved uphill quickly.  In 4 km the trail gains 1,100 m elevation.  It starts out as a nice engineered trail with switchbacks, but as it goes up it gets steeper until near the top it is just an uphill trail.

Views and wildflowers start to appear near the top of the climb and there is a small refreshing lake at the rim.  From here on, the mountain top is relatively flat and alpine.  There are small lakes and tarns, hills and ridges, and fantastic views all around. There is a first summit with a radio cone and a higher summit a kilometre or half an hour further on, with a suitable cairn, but the trails to it are indistinct.

The temperature when we left the trailhead was 17°C, the temperature on the summit was 20°C, with a light breeze, and when we got back to the car, it was 30°C.  Going down this trail is just as hard and slow as going up due to the steep, slippery gravel.  14.3 km; 9 hours; 1,235 m elevation gain; the average incline of the climb is 21%, and in the steepest section it is 34%.

Norris

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Hiking – Crest Mountain – 25 July 2018

Trip Report – Broken Eyes Mtn- 19 July 2018

Eight members and one guest from Sweden took the 8 am ferry and drove 20 km north of Campbell River to the Broken Eyes trailhead.  The trail is an easy grade for the first bit, then it crosses a stream on a long, one-log bridge, then it climbs steadily.  There is a viewpoint (facing north) part way up which makes a nice rest stop before resuming the climb.  Eventually the trail joins an old logging road with an easier grade.  The final viewpoint (facing south) is good for a long, relaxing lunch, and the views are great.  After the hot dusty trail, we adjourned to Roberts Lake where some had a quick, refreshing swim.  7.4 km; 5 hours; 510 m elevation gain.

Norris

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Thanks to Norris and Les for the  photos

Hiking – Broken Eyes Mtn – 19 July 2018