Trip Report – Cowichan Valley – 7-11 Apr 2019

None of the 10 of us had spent much time in Cowichan Valley so this trip was exploratory. The weather was marginal, but we were lucky enough to never get wet. Some in the group had injuries, so not everyone was able to participate in the outings. We could see the evidence of the hugely destructive storm that hit the area in December 2018, but every trail we hiked had been well maintained. Spring was blooming out all over and the wildflowers were excellent.
Sunday – We met at the Duncan Market around noon before continuing to the vacation rental on Shawnigan Lake, where most of us were staying.  After settling in, we went for a hike at Cobble Hill mountain.  We hiked a loop (Squirrel, Frog, Buck, and Turtle) up to the summit ridge with great views in nearly all directions.  It was a good introduction to the area with views of the Saanich Peninsula, Cowichan Bay, Mt. Tzouhalem, and the agricultural land in the Valley. 5.4 km; 2¼ hours. Back at the house, we had a great meal, celebrated a birthday, and sang to the accompaniment of guitars.

(click on photos to view larger)

Monday – The weather was less promising as we set out from the rather obscure trailhead to Fern Grotto. We started on an old logging road that segued to a quite new trail through open forest with lots of maples, moss, and ferns. We reached the impressive Kinsol Trestle and had lunch before hiking out and back on the Jack Fleetwood trail. The Koksilah River and the fawn lilies were lovely. The group preferred to hike back to the house along the Cowichan Valley Trail, rather than retrace our route to the vehicles. We narrowly escaped heavy rain, returning to the vacation rental just in time. 14.7 km; 4¾ hours. We had another wonderful meal followed by games and reading.

Tuesday – We had a sunny day for our bike trip on the Cowichan Valley Trail/Great Trail from Glenora to the end of the trail toward Cowichan Lake and back. Les opted to hike the Cowichan River Footpath nearby. Those who didn’t own bikes rented e-bikes, which was entertaining and easy. We later learned that this is the roughest section of the Cowichan Valley Trail, so we spent more time looking where the tire was headed than at the scenery. The forest was lovely and open, with creeks, wetlands (even a turtle) and, of course, trestles and the Cowichan River. 46.0 km; 5¼ hours. We had yet another great dinner and more music.

Wednesday – The weather improved through the day. We hiked at Mt. Tzouhalem starting at the Kaspa parking lot and following the view trails at the edge of the escarpment. The meadows of shooting star wildflowers were a treat, as were the views of the Cowichan Valley. We stopped for lunch near the cross and then continued along the cliffs to the edge of the reserve before following logging roads, with a view of Salt Spring Island and Samson Narrows, back to the car. This area is a complex web of unmarked paths, and it’s good to go with a map, GPS or app to avoid getting lost. 9.9 km; 4¼ hours.  Although rather late in the day, a few people opted to continue on to the Koksilah Ancient Forest Reserve. After a bit of trouble finding the trailhead, the blue flagging got us to the grove of fine old trees along the river. We would have liked to have spent more time there. 4.3 km; 1 hour. For our last night, we went out to dinner at the Village Chippery, which was very popular with locals and very good.

Thursday – The dark skies only produced drizzle on the hike near Cedar, taking the Cable Bay Trail to Joan Point and Dodd Narrows. This is a popular trail with locals. It’s wide and smooth and trends down to the ocean. The trail along the coast is lovely with great views of the sandstone shoreline typical of the southern Gulf Islands. The spring flowers were excellent with lots of fawn lilies. The current was not running strongly in Dodd Narrows, but the low tide provided inter-tidal viewing. 6.5 km; 1¾ hours.

Debbie

Multi-day Hiking – Cowichan Valley – 7-11 Apr 2019

Multi-day Hiking – Cowichan Valley – 7-11 April 2019

This trip is full.  Contact the coordinator if you wish to wait-list.

Activity Multi-day hiking
Destination Cowichan Valley
Date 7-11 April 2019, Sunday to Thursday
Trip Coordinator Margot Wood
Contact Info 250.285.2393; please contact the coordinator as soon as possible and payment needs to be received by Feb 15th.
Description A multi-day trip in Cowichan Valley.  We have changed the originally proposed accommodation due to the particular demand for this trip.  Now we will be staying at a beautiful home on Shawnigan Lake near the Cowichan Valley Trail.  For details view: https://www.canadastays.com/p291463
Possible hiking destinations include: Kinsol Trestle, Skutz Falls along Cowichan River, Maple Mountain, Mt Tzouhalem, Stocking/Heart Lake Trails, Jack Fleetwood Trail, Fern Grotto, Eagle Heights Grasslands, an ancient forest hike up Koksilah River, and Cable Bay to Dodd Narrows.  You may also bike on the Cowichan Valley Trail or kayak from the house.
Margot will organize car-pooling and dinner preparation teams. Each hiker is responsible for their breakfast and lunch. ****************************************************************************
Meeting Place QCove ferry line-up – appointed vehicles to be in line-up by 8:20 am.
Departure Time 9 am ferry, April 7th, returning on Thurs. April 11th.
Difficulty Easy to moderate
Dogs No
Trip Limits 7
Costs Accommodation at $60/night/person (this may vary depending on the final number that come), ferry costs, fuel
Notes Please take time to check out the accommodation, the hikes and area plus your calendar. I am hoping to accommodate everyone’s needs as much as possible. This, hopefully, will be a lovely spring trip, with longer days and maybe sunshine.
I will be working with Debbie and Norris regarding hiking trips. Please remember to submit dietary needs regarding dinners.
All payments go to Julie.  Please makes cheques out to Quadra Island Outdoor Club.
Margot

Cycling Cortes Island 1 June 2103

Activity cycling
Destination Cortes Island
Date Saturday 1 June 2013
Trip Coordinator Diana McKerracher
Contact Info 250-285-3204
Description Spend a day exploring our neighbouring island by bicycle. We can stop for coffee at Manson’s Landing and picnic at Smelt Bay Provincial Park or Hague Lake. Don’t be discouraged by the hills, you can always get off and walk up if you need to – and remember for every uphill grind, there’s an exhilarating downhill swoosh
Meeting Place on the Cortes ferry
Departure Time 9:05 ferry from Heriot Bay
Difficulty
moderate – total distance 40 km
Costs $7 for Cortes ferry;  snacks at Manson’s Café if desired
Trip limits none
Dogs? no
Notes: Return on 3:50 ferry from Whaletown (arriving Quadra 4:35)