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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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 – Shark Spit – 25-28 June 2018

Day 1: Caught the 9:05 am ferry to Cortes Island. Launched from Whaletown Bay and kayaked over to Shark Spit. It was low tide on arrival and a bit of a haul with our camping and kayaking equipment. We had big tidal ranges during this trip. Set up camp and left for a kayak trip around Marina Island. A number of old growth trees on the shoreline, this island was logged about 20 years ago. Discovered an interesting house on the west side of Marina, it was balancing on the edge of a sand cliff. It took us 3 hours to paddle around. (approx 14 km.)  All enjoyed dinner and decided on an early retirement.

Day 2: Breakfast and set-off kayaking, hugging the shoreline, destination Manson’s Lagoon. Stopped to look at the petroglyphs on the entrance to Gorge Harbour. Paddled onto Manson’s Lagoon, arriving at low tide which gave us an interesting shell-filled lagoon. It was hot and we ate lunch under the trees. Walked through the avenue of arbutus trees and celebrated their beauty. Walked along the beach to the wonderful newly carved totem pole with bench. Off again hugging the shoreline, stopping to explore a pioneer’s hut with huge oyster beds just below the hut. The wind got up giving us a bit of a challenge. Stopped off at Gilean Douglas’s house at Channel Rock, to have a quick look. (approx 10 km)  After dinner, walked along the inside shoreline discovering wolf tracks. Dinner and welcomed the arrival of two more members on a windy evening.

Day 3: Breakfast and ready for another paddle. A bit windy at the start of this day. A member was leaving and we all paddled to Whaletown Bay, assisting with unpacking and putting the kayak on vehicle. Four of us then paddled through Plunger Passage, into the beautiful scenery of Sutil Channel and found a landing spot to eat lunch. Paddled onto Carrington Bay which is one of our favourite places. Explored the bay and lagoon. Back into our kayaks and paddled through Coulter Bay. A good workout for us and stopped at Sea Vista for a break before heading onto the spit. We made it. ( 26.6 km; 7½ hours) Ate delicious clams at night.

Day 4: Breakfast, packed up our tents, everything into our kayaks and began paddling. The two latecomers paddled around Marina and two paddlers went to Whaletown Bay to catch the ferry for Quadra and home.  Thank goodness we did not experience heavy rain on this trip, the weather was kind to us and the scenery magnificent. Shark Spit is such a beautiful camping area and a joy to be there.

Margot

Thanks to Norris and Vic for the photos

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Multi-day kayaking – Shark Spit – 25-28 June 2018

Trip Report – Cortes Island – 14-17 May 2018

Eight hikers arrived on beautiful Cortes, drove to Whaletown. Wandered around this sweet village, the floating dentist, the little post office, the tiny library and the church. Sculpin Potter opened his studio for viewing and some selected a few pieces. We even met the Sea Caption who was attacked by a bear last year in the Great Bear Rain Forest, he told us his story. He was busy painting bear paw prints on his boat. We then drove to Linnaea Farm and selected our bedrooms, all happily roomed. Ate lunch and then off for our first hike to Easter Bluff. It was an extremely hot day and thank goodness we were in the woods. What a delight to reach the summit, with its views of Cortes Bay, looking down on Linnaea Farm fields and beyond, incredible views. All found a little shade to sit and cool down. Returned to the farm and a number of members jumped in the lake.
We noticed a very tall fir clothed in wisteria on the shoreline, so beautiful. Dinner Team # 1 cooked a delicious meal, everyone sitting around the large table sharing stories and getting to know each other. We all ate so much, we decided to take a walk to see a close-up of the wisteria tree. Bed time.
Day 2: Another hot and sunny day. Up early, everyone ate a good breakfast, lunch packed and off to K’was Park Trail Network. Janis was our fantastic guide. This network of trails varies in difficulty and moderate climbs. Rugged in some places, magnificent old growth with trails that lead around the two lakes of Hague and Gunflint. Found wonderful places to stop, reflect, eat lunch, and just rest from the heat. Some of us climbed to the high manzanita covered bluffs, up and down the ladder, certainly well worth the climb. We always find this park magical. One could spend days in this park, we still need to walk the ‘Secret Trail’, next time for sure. Returned to the farm and several jumped in the lake or took out the canoe. Dinner Team # 2 cooked another delicious dinner, many laughs and stories happened around the table. We all helped with clean-up, giving us the time to travel to Smelt Bay to watch the sunset. Wandered along the beach, families were on the beach enjoying the warm night, even a trumpet player. A wonderful display of the sunset over Marina Island. Back to the farm and all filled with beauty.
Day 3: Yet another gorgeous day. Cyndy was our guide on this day. First stop, a walk through the woods to Hanks Beach. It was truly wonderful sitting on the magnificent rocks overlooking Twin Islands. We then drove to Manson’s Lagoon, low tide at this time giving us the opportunity to walk out and explore the beach pools and the islands. The islands were covered with wild flowers, colours of blues, yellows and pinks. We enjoyed having lunch on the top taking in the serenity of the lagoon. Off to walk the trail through the woods to Mansons Landing, stopping at the Community Co-op for a treat and to say ‘hello’ to the old turkey in the community gardens. A trip to Cortes Museum and all enjoyed the exhibit of ‘Refuge Cove’. Walked to Cortes School, terrific gardens created by staff and students. We then walked the trail, again created and mapped by the students of Cortes School. A beautiful trail that led us back to Mansons Lagoon. We stopped and marvelled at the newly carved totem pole overlooking Mansons Bay. Returned to Linnaea, of course a number jumped in the lake to cool down. Dinner Team # 3 prepared a delicious dinner, enjoyed by all. After dinner we then drove to Hollyhock to wander the garden and the beach area. A lovely treat to end our day.
Day 4: Members up early, clean-up began in the farmhouse. Everyone pitched in and soon the house was sparkling clean. After breakfast, food and gear packed, said our ‘goodbye’s’ to the farm and off to Carrington Bay. A beautiful hike through the woods down to the bay. Stories and dancing performed on the stage and enjoyed by all. Explored the magnificent lagoon, lots of starfish and sea cucumbers. Such a beautiful camping area. Took the trail to ‘Grandmother’s Grove’, feeling the energy and beauty it gives. The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society has been formed to purchase these forestlands and to hold them in trust for the children of Cortes Island in perpetuity. Members managed to connect with the 1:50 p.m ferry for home.
We all gave input regarding our Cortes Trip, communicating how much we all enjoyed these days on Cortes, the trails, the laughs, the stories, the sharing and giving, the delicious food and of course staying at Linnaea Farm is always a delight. Many thanks to our guides, the drivers, our stretching exercise teacher, and for the donation collected for ‘The Children’s Forest’. A terrific group of members at Margot thanks you all for your positive support.

Margot

Thanks to Jan, Bonnie, Cyndy and Mary for the photos

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Multi-day Hiking – Cortes Island – 14-17 May 2018

Kayaking – Main Lake Prov Park – 30 May 2018

This trip has been changed to a day-trip on Wednesday.

Activity Kayaking Multi-day kayaking/camping
Destination Main Lake Provincial Park
Date 30 May 2018, Wednesday 29-31 May 2018, Tuesday-Thursday
Trip Coordinator Les Hand
Contact Info 2029 or leshand@gicable.com
Description The destination will be determined by the group when we depart the boat ramp.  Camping on Main Lake, probably on the north shore, with day paddling/hiking.  Possible day trips are: kayaking to Little Main Lake up Shadow Brook Creek, kayaking to the east end of the lake and hiking to Yeatman Bay, and/or kayaking to the north shore and hiking up to Clear Lake.
Meeting Place Boat launch, Mine Lake
Departure Time 10:00 10:30 a.m.  Plan to be at the launch site by 9:30.
Difficulty
Probably easy, unless it’s windy
Costs As of 2017 there is a $5/person/night fee for camping between May 15 and Sept 15.
Trip limits none
Dogs? no
Notes: Participants need to have all required safety equipment.  Here is the link to the Park information.  Everyone is responsible for their own kayaking gear, camping equipment and meals, but cooking groups would be a good idea.  I will send a list of people who have signed up a week before the event to facilitate planning, so please let me know if you are interested no later than May 15.  We’ll plan to come back after lunch on the 3rd day, so will have 2 half days and one full day to explore the park.

 

Multi-day Hiking – Cathedral Lakes Park – 5-10 Sept 2018

Activity Base-camp hiking
Destination Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park
Date 5-10 Sept 2018, Wednesday to Monday
Trip Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info Please contact the coordinator well in advance of the trip at debbie.quigg@ualberta.ca or 3710
Description We are planning on two travel days and four nights camping in Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park.  Day 1: travel to Keremos and spend the night in local accommodation.  Day 2 (Thursday): travel up the mountain to the Park in the Lodge “unimog” on the 10:00 departure.  Set up camp in either the Quiniscoe Lake campground (5 minute walk) or the Lake of the Woods campground (25 minute walk).  Begin day-hiking and continue through Sunday.  There are at least 12 trails in the core area ranging from easy to strenuous. The  variety of lakes and mountain scenery is exceptional.  Other activities such as swimming and fishing are also available.  For more info: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/cathedral/cathedral_core_area_map.pdf   and    http://cathedrallakes.ca/park/
On Day 6 (Monday) we will descend the mountain on the “unimog” and return to Quadra.
Meeting Place Keremos on the evening of September 5th
Departure Time At your convenience
Difficulty Easy to strenuous.  The group may break into subgroups depending on interests.
Cost Transportation costs (ferries, fuel)  The cost of the ride up the mountain is $105/person round trip.  This is non-refundable and must be paid at time of booking.  Accommodation costs for the first night in Keremos and campsite costs ($10/person/night) at the park, paid in advance as a permit.
Trip limits Eight people; maximum of six tents as we cannot reserve camping spots and we would like to be close together.
Dogs? Not allowed in the park.
Notes: There will not be any group bookings for this trip.  Everyone is responsible for their own reservations in Keremos, on the “unimog” through the Cathedral Parks Lodge (http://cathedrallakes.ca/camper-services/), and the campsite (at the bottom of the following link http://cathedrallakes.ca/park/).  Full camping gear and food is required, but only needs to be carried to the campsite.  Water must be treated.  The camping area is at 2,000 metres, so be prepared far a variety of mountain conditions.

Multi-day Hiking – Linnaea Farm, Cortes – 14-17 May 2018

Activity Hiking
Destination Cortes Island
Date 14-17 May 2018, Monday to Thursday
Trip Coordinator Margot Wood
Contact Info margotw@gicable.com.  Commitment for this trip needs to be made by March 31.
Description Planning four days of hiking on beautiful Cortes Island, staying at Linnaea Farm House. This is an eight bedroom rustic farmhouse, on the edge of Gunflint Lake at the gateway to many of the hiking trails on Cortes. This is an active farm & was once the residence of the farmers who ran ‘Lakeview Dairy’, the last raw milk in B.C.
Many beautiful trails on Cortes, Green Mountain, Easter Bluff, K’Was Park, Sisken Forest Park, Carrington Trails etc. The schedule of trails will be developed presented daily with your input. This year we want to spend another whole day in K’Was Park. Pot-luck dinners will be organized, using the farmhouse kitchen. Please check:
www.linnaeafarm.org
Meeting Place Cortes ferry line-up
Departure Time 9:05 am sailing.  Be early because this is a busy sailing
Difficulty Easy to Moderate.
Cost Ferry costs plus shared fuel.  $35/night if you bring your own sleeping bag or linen; $50/night if Linnaea supplies the linens.
Trip limits Eight bedrooms.  Must love hiking.
Dogs? No. Dogs are not allowed on the farm.
Notes: We will car-pool where possible. Everyone is responsible for own breakfast & lunch. Dinner teams to be organized.
We usually give a donation to ‘The Children’s Forest’, this is an educational program plus protecting the forest for Cortes Children. Entirely your choice & with thanks.
We will be returning on May 17th, probably 1:50 p.m ferry.