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

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

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

Activity Multi-day kayaking
Destination Desolation Sound
Date 8 to 13 Sept 2020; Tuesday to Saturday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info mitchelldarcy51@gmail.com; 250 923 5540
Description Multi-day paddle to Desolation Sound, launching from Squirrel Cove. Itinerary dependent on participant interests and weather.  Here is the link to kayak campsite information: http://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/desolation/camping.html
Meeting Place Cortes ferry line-up, Heriot Bay
Departure Time 8:00 to catch 9:05 Cortes Ferry
Difficulty
Moderate to challenging
Cost Ferry costs and nightly costs for camping within the Desolation Sound Marine Park
Trip limits Minimum 4 – maximum 6 to 8 depending on number of tents
Dogs? No
Notes: All participants must observe club paddling guidelines including demonstrated ability to perform assisted and self-rescue.  If you are interested in this trip, please contact the coordinator no later than September 1. Pandemic protocols will be observed.

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

Activity Multi-day hiking
Destination Sunshine Coast Trail
Date 15-20 Sept, Tuesday to Sunday (date could still vary by a day)
Trip Coordinator Brent Henry
Contact Info brenthenrys@gmail.com or 250-205-1106 (phone or text).  Contact the coordinator in by the end of August
Description A 4-5 day trip. Participants would take two cars on the ferry to Powell River.  We would park one vehicle at Lund and water taxi to Sarah Pt, hiking the Malaspina Peninsula portion of the trail back to Powell River.  We would hike roughly 10+ kilometers per day. Due to covid-19, the cabins are off bounds, and small tents /shelters must be carried. Coordinator has an extra 1 person tent and bivy that could be loaned out. A water treatment method should be carried, and at least 2 liters must be carried, possibly a third bottle.
Meeting Place Little River ferry terminal
Departure Time 9:30 at the ferry terminal. We would catch the 9:55 ferry.
Difficulty Moderate up and down mixed terrain.
Costs Ferry, parking and water taxi costs.
Trip limits 6
Dogs? No
Notes: All participants should be self sufficient and willing to practice safe pandemic protocols, as well as having a mask available for the ferry and public transit. Exact route, kitchen requirements, food, first aid will be agreed upon by participants.

Coordinator will carry an Inreach satellite texter and a vhf radio. If you are interested, please contact the coordinator by the end of August.

Multi-day Kayaking – Sutil Channel – 10-15 Aug 2020

Activity Multi-day kayaking
Destination Sutil Channel/Cortes Island/Marina Island
Date 10 to 14 or 15 August 2020; Monday to Friday or Saturday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info mitchelldarcy51@gmail.com; 250 923 5540
Description Departing from Open Bay toward Carrington Bay on Cortes Island (likely 2 nights) then to Shark Spit, Marina Island (likely 2 nights), with a possible 5th night. Itinerary subject to change depending on participants’ interests and weather conditions. Up to 25 km per day in possibly adverse conditions. Possibilities for hiking as well as day paddles.
Meeting Place End of Valdes Road, Open Bay
Departure Time 9:30 a.m. for 10:00 a.m. launch
Difficulty
Moderate to challenging
Cost none
Trip limits 6
Dogs? no
Notes: All participants must observe club paddling guidelines including demonstrated ability (through Club safety sessions) to perform assisted, and preferably, self-rescue. If you have not previously paddled with the coordinator on a multi-day trip, please contact her to discussion your experience and equipment.  Pandemic protocols will be observed.

Last date for registration – August 4.

Trip Report – Open Bay/Sutil Channel/Octopus Islands – 12-15 July 2020

Day 1.  Six paddlers launched from the end of Valdes Road on a fairly high tide, leaving the beach about 10:45 toward the Penn Islets. The weather was sunny with some overcast and the occasional rain squall, winds light. With a favourable current, we made excellent time, arriving at the campsite on North Penn Islet in just under 3 1/2 hours paddling time. A lovely classic cruiser was anchored in the nook south of the campsite, but very few other boats seen. The campsite is beautiful, with great views from the bluff, and some good forest sites also. Distance covered – 16.6 km in 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Day 2.  As the day was sunny with light winds forecast, we made a side trip to the entrance of Von Donop Inlet and stopped for a break at the campsite in Robertson Cove. While the location has several tent sites, and a trail to Robertson Lake, it seemed dark and is exposed to the west. Easy landing. We then paddled toward South Rendezvous Island, our planned stop for the night. Unlike other years, this large and very attractive site was empty. The summer has been disastrous for local outfitters, but it has meant that more camping options are available than usual. Easy access from the north, several tent sites, and a small creek. One or two tent sites also available on the tidal island in front of the main site. Hot afternoon. Distance covered 16.2 km in 4 hours and 10 minutes.

Day 3.  We launched about 9:45 to be in good time for slack at Surge Narrows. Paddling up the west side of the Rendezvous Islands to the south tip of North Rendezvous, we crossed to Mayes Point at the entrance to White Rock Passage against a fairly lively adverse current. After a short stop on the south shore of the Passage (just before the campsite noted on the Marine Trails website), we paddled through the Settlers Group in good time. As the weather was very calm, we paddled a straight course up Okisollo Channel to the Octopus Islands to benefit from the favourable ebb tide. Several other parties of kayakers spotted, and the usual population of pleasure boats in the park. We camped on the shore of a very “clammy” cove on the south shore of Waiatt Bay. There is a good creek draining an unnamed lake. The grassy site is good for 2 and possibly 3 tents; others uncomfortably close to the high tide line. Another hot day. Distance covered 21 km in 5 hours 10 minutes.

Day 4.  Heading home, we made a short stop at the ‘museum cabin’ on the more southerly of the private islands adjacent to the park. Many boaters (often for successive years) have left mementoes of their visits in the cabin. We then took a short swing through the islets and headed to Yeatman Bay for lunch and to wait for slack in Surge Narrows. We slipped easily through the rocks between Quadra and Peck Island on the last of the flood, and with increasing following winds and a fair current, landed in Open Bay less than half an hour after high tide, for an easy landing and a short carry. Distance covered 23.9 km in 5 hours and 23 minutes.

The weather throughout the trip was great and the first two campsites excellent. We didn’t see much wildlife apart from a few harbour porpoise, some seals, and sea birds, apart from one fledgling eagle that we hoped would be rescued by a parent as it looked very forlorn on its rock. Total trip distance – 77.7 kilometres for an average speed of 4.3 km per hour.

Darcy

(click on photos to view larger)

Multi-day Hiking – Cortes Island- 4-8 May 2020

Activity Multi-day Hiking
Destination Cortes Island, staying at Linnaea Farm
Date 4-8 May 2020, Monday to Friday
Trip Coordinator Janis McLean
Contact Info 250.285.3614; please contact the coordinator well in advance of the trip
Description This is our annual trip to Cortes Island, based at Linnaea Farm in an eight bedroom rustic farmhouse on the edge of Gunflint Lake. We are planning to hike many of the trails: Easter Bluff, K’was Park, Hanks Beech Forest Park, Green Mountain, Whaletown Commons, Manson’s Lagoon, Smelt Bay, Carrington, etc. A schedule of trails will be developed and presented daily. There may be one or more optional hikes in silence, giving us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in nature without the distraction of conversation. Each person is responsible for their breakfasts and lunches; dinner teams will be organized in advance. Please visit: http://www.linnaeafarm.org for information about the farm.
Meeting Place Cortes ferry line-up
Departure Time 9:05 am sailing. Vehicles must be in line-up by 8 a.m. This is a busy trades ferry. Car-pooling will be organized in advance.
Difficulty Easy to Moderate.
Cost $35/person/night. Bring your own sleeping bag and towel. Plus ferry costs and shared fuel. Bring your ferry card (and driver’s licence if you want the senior’s rate).
Trip limits Limit of 10 people, if four people are willing to double up in two of the bedrooms. Lakeview Room is reserved for the coordinator.
Dogs? No. Dogs are not allowed on the farm.
Notes: Payment to Club Treasurer Julie Mellanby by April 15, 2020. Members will need to renew their membership for 2020-21. Please advise of any special dietary needs. Other activities include swimming and canoeing/kayaking (bring your own boats and equipment) on Gunflint and Hague Lakes. As in other years, this trip is popular and will fill up quickly.

Trip Report – Ucluelet-Tofino – 3-6 Feb 2020

On Monday, eight of us drove out to Ucluelet on a beautiful sunny day. The road through the mountains along Highway 4 was lovely with snow. After dropping off our gear at the vacation rental we had an afternoon walk in the remaining sun. We walked into the Pacific Rim National Park and explored Half Moon and Florencia Bays. The stairs down to the beaches are steep and there was occasional snow along the way and ice on the steps. The firm sand was great to walk on and the sunny views were great. (9.9 km; 3 h) Some of the group explored Ucluelet before dinner. We had an amazing dinner followed by a song circle. The big four bedroom house slowly warmed up with the furnace and big woodstove.

On Tuesday we went again to the National Park. We had hard, cold rain all day. It was cold comfort that it was snowing back on Quadra. We hiked to the north end of Florencia Bay and on to South Beach following the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail. The forest was beautiful, but the ice on the boardwalk was thick and extensive. It was a slow walk. We stopped for lunch on a covered walkway at the Wickaninnish Centre (which was closed). We looped back to the car along the road, taking time to explore the very interesting Bog Trail. About half the group continued on to hike the Rainforest Loop, with amazing boardwalk through old growth forest. (10.9 km; 4¼ h) We had another wonderful dinner, played games and socialized by the fire.

On Wednesday morning we were greeted by Trumpeter swans on the inlet in front of the house. The weather moderated to a warm mist. We hiked two loops along the Wild Pacific Trail at Ucluelet. We started with the lighthouse loop, enjoying the dramatic rock bluffs and waves. We stopped for lunch at the picnic area at Big Beach and then continued on to a loop further north including the Artist Loop, the Rocky Bluffs and the Ancient forest. (10.4 km; 4¾ h) These are beautifully constructed and maintained trails with exceptional views. This last night we ate out, which was memorable.

Thursday brought more rain and the return trip to Quadra was made slower by the road closure on Highway 4. We had a great group visiting an extraordinary part of the world. The weather was a challenge, but it was still beautiful and it kept down the crowds.

Debbie

(click on photos to enlarge)

Multi-day Hiking – Ucluelet-Tofino – 3-6 Feb 2020

Multi-day Hiking – Tofino-Ucluelet – 3-6 February 2020

Activity Multi-day Hiking
Destination Tofino-Ucluelet
Date 3-6 February, Monday-Thursday
Trip Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info debbie.quigg@ualberta.ca or 3710.  Please let the coordinator know as soon as possible if you are interested.  The deadline for payment is 3 January 2020.
Description We will be staying in Ucluelet for three nights at a vacation rental and doing day hikes in the Tofino-Ucluelet area. We will have two half days and two full days, which should allow time to explore the Wild Pacific Trail, the Pacific Rim National Park, and the two villages.
Meeting Place TBD
Departure Time TBD
Difficulty Moderate
Costs Accommodation, ferry and transportation.  The details about the vacation rental have not been finalized, but we hope to keep the cost close to $160/person for the three nights.
Trip limits The vacation rental we are hoping to get sleeps 10, with at least two people in each room.
Dogs?  no
Notes: Be prepared for rain

Trip Report – Woss Lookout and Huson Caves – 15-17 July 2019

We camped at the Woss Lake Recreation Site, with the group arriving gradually over about 30 hours.  Due to forecast rainy weather, many invested quite a lot of effort in setting up camp with tarps.  Three of us kayaked on Woss Lake Monday morning in calm and increasingly sunny conditions.  We paddled down the east side of the Lake exploring the cabins and boat launch. (about 7 km)  Some also explored the Woss River Trail with some impressive old growth cedar and good views of the river from a bluff. This trail goes a long way, but we only went about 2.8km.   In the afternoon, two more people arrived and the weather turned showery.  We drove logging roads to check out Schoen Lake Provincial Park. We already knew that any possible interesting hiking would involve access by boat, but the deluge of rain when we arrived discouraged any enthusiasm for exploration.  Back at camp, we enjoyed appies by Les’ campfire before dinner.  By Monday night the final two people had arrived and enjoyed an evening canoe paddle, where they found some pictographs.

Tuesday morning:  After Les’ delicious blueberry pancake breakfast, we departed for Woss Lookout.  We parked at the trail sign and hiked up the steep logging road, through some clear cut and into the forested lookout hill. The steep trail is well equipped with rope aids and the distance is quite short, but a good test of fitness.  We were soon rewarded with the restored fire lookout and excellent views, even with a bit of cloud around.  The views of the Schoen, Vernon, Woss and Nimpkish Valleys are impressive, as well as the nearby mountains.  We returned by the short loop and headed back down the steep trail, once again thankful for the ropes. (4.6km, 3½ hours; 400m elevation gain)

Tuesday afternoon: After lunch we continued on to the Little Huson Caves Regional Park.  The short walk through the woods takes you to the sculpted rock of the Atluck Creek working its way though the limestone.  The boardwalk and stairs are very helpful and some have been recently replaced.  We enjoyed views of the Natural Bridge from both entrances, the River Cave, the Atluck Creek and the Bridge Cave.  The green water, scalloped and sculpted rock were beautiful.  (about 2.6km, 1½ hours)  Back at camp, quite a few bathed in the Lake, which wasn’t too cold,

The forecast had consistently called for afternoon showers and we escaped until Tuesday evening, when the real weather was expected.  The rain began lightly after 21:00 and increased and continued all night.  Wednesday morning, five of us made a short paddle on Woss Lake in marginal weather, before taking down the sodden camp gear and heading home.

Thanks to everyone for the food sharing, logging road driving, and general good time.  Having the only serious rain at night was a benefit for seeing this beautiful and not much visited area.

Debbie

(click on photos to view larger)

Multi-day Hiking – Woss Lookout and Huson Caves – 15-17 July 2019