Trip Report – Cortes Island – 6-9 May 2019

A wonderful four days of sunshine for our Cortes Trip.

Day 1: Nine women came along, leaving Quadra on the 9:05 am ferry, arriving in Whaletown at approximately 9:45 am. We drove on to Linnaea Farm and took our food into the kitchen fridge to stay cold. We then drove to Manson’s Landing and hiked on the trails that the students had created through the forest to Manson’s Lagoon. Stopping to view the beautiful carved totem pole on the beach, then walked on to the lagoon. The timing was perfect because we reached the lagoon at low tide and walked out to the islands. The islands were covered with wild flowers, colours of blues, yellows, pinks and even chocolate lilies. We sat and ate our lunches, watching the geese with their babies. A number of blue starfish in the tidal pools along with sand dollars, a lovely treat, the lagoon was covered in shells. Return hike along the lagoon trail and onto Hague Lake, even two of the ladies swam. Then on to Manson’s to say ‘hello’ to Tom the turkey plus a treat from the Co-op, arriving at the farm by 4 pm, gear brought in and took the time to get settled. Dinner team # 1 prepared a delicious dinner, served at 6 pm. A group then took a walk around the farm, seeing the cows and the planting of produce etc. Nine pm we held meditation and everyone was present. Games were played by a few members, plus group discussions. A lovely end to a glorious day.

Day 2: Soon the kitchen was busy with individuals preparing their lunches and breakfasts. Eight am – meditation, the focus ‘I am my Silence’. This was a day for hiking Kw’as Park in silence, giving each person the opportunity to truly appreciate nature. The trails lead from Linnaea Farm along the sides of Hague and Gunflint lakes, through deep old forest with numerous old growth trees. We climbed up to the higher rocks overlooking Hague lake for lunch, warm sunshine with us, we all managed to find a little shade. In the afternoon we climbed over the high manzanita covered bluffs, a most beautiful avenue of tiny blue flowers helped our descent. Climbing down a newly erected steel ladder to the forest floor. Kw’as Park is a jewel, so much to see, to hear, to feel, we celebrated each step in silence. Arriving back at the farm in good time for dinner preparation by Team # 2. Another delicious dinner, giving us a chance to discuss our day of silence. Meditation at 9 pm again appreciated by all. All ready for a good nights sleep.

Day 3: Again, the busy kitchen with preparation for lunches and breakfasts. Today, the trip was to Blue Jay Farm, this is a 350 acre farm overlooking Carrington Bay and Squirrel Cove on the edge of Blue Jay Lake. A productive busy farm, chickens, cows, goats, ducks, lumber yard and also a huge amount of fresh produce grown, a magnificent farm. We toured the farm and then Tiger the cat came with us for a hike through the forest and around the lake, he took great care of us. We had lunch at the lake and a number of brave ladies swam in the cold waters. Another hike to a high ridge overlooking the farm and Carrington Bay and beyond. Such a wonderful day. We stopped for a short time at Squirrel Cove and then on to Linnaea Farm. Dinner Team 3 prepared the dinner, yet another delicious dinner. After dinner, a group went for a short walk and some played games. Nine pm meditation to end yet another beautiful day.

Day 4: Individuals awoke early to get a start for leaving the farm. We packed our lunches, ate breakfast and then cleaned. Nine-thirty am we set off to hike Easter Bluff, a pretty hot weather hike. Arriving at the top to take in the magnificent views overlooking the south and west end of Cortes and the mountains beyond, looking down on Cortes Bay, also a good view of Quadra. A trek down to Linnaea Farm to get into our vehicles, we then drove to Hanks Beach. This is a short forest walk to a secluded wide sandy beach with intriguing rock formations which we explored. Hanks Beach overlooks Twin Islands. We stopped awhile and ate our lunches before walking back to our vehicles. We then headed for the 3:50 pm ferry, reflecting on our wonderful trip to Cortes Island. The whales gave some a terrific display in the waters off Cortes.

A huge thank you to everyone, our fantastic trail guide, our meditation guide, the dinner teams etc. etc. A wonderful group. Yes, we were Silent on Day 2 for our walk in Kw’as Park. ‘ I am My Silence’.

Margot Wood.

Thanks to Jan, Janis, Kathryn and Cyndy for the photos

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Multi-day Hiking – Cortes Island – 6-9 May 2019

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Multi-day kayaking – Cortes Island and vicinity – 3 – 6 July 2019

Activity Multi-day Paddle
Destination Cortes Island and vicinity
Date 3-6 July 2019, Wednesday to Saturday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell and others
Contact Info mitchelldarcy51@gmail.com
Description Multi-day paddle with camping, likely at either Carrington Bay or Von Donop Inlet
Meeting Place Quadra Island ferry terminal to Cortes Island
Departure Time 9:05 departure – this is a popular sailing, so you should be in line by 8 a.m.
Difficulty
Moderate (depending on wind conditions)
Cost Ferry fare to Cortes
Trip limits Eight with no more than 6 tents as camping space is limited
Dogs? No
Notes: All participants must review and conform to QIOC paddling guidelines. Only ‘sea kayaks’ (with waterproof bulkheads) equipped with spray skirts and all required safety equipment are eligible for this trip. Participants must be self-sufficient in camping equipment, fresh water and food. Please note that all participants must be able to perform a wet exit and assisted rescue, at minimum. If you do not have fairly recent rescue training and practice (e.g. Paddle Canada basic courses or equivalent), you must take the club training workshop scheduled for June 26 (see the trip schedule for details). If you have not paddled with the coordinator previously, please contact her no later than June 20. All participants must contact the coordinator by email (preferably) or by phone to 250 923 5540 to confirm participation no later than June 30. The trip will be cancelled if forecast winds are higher than 15 knots, or steady rain is expected. Participants will be informed by 7 p.m. on July 1 if the trip will be cancelled.

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.

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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 – Cortes Island – 6-9 May 2019

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

Activity Multi-day hiking, women only
Destination Cortes Island, staying at Linnaea Farm
Date 6-9 May 2019, Monday to Thursday
Trip Coordinator Margot Wood
Contact Info 250.285.2393; please contact the coordinator well in advance of the trip
Description Planning our annual Cortes hiking trip for women, staying at Linnaea Farm. An eight bedroom rustic farmhouse on the edge of Gunflint Lake, at the gateway to many of the hiking trails on Cortes. We are planning to hike many of the trails: Easter Bluff, K’was Park, Hanks Beech Forest Park, Sisken Forest Park, Whaletown Commons, Carrington Trails, etc. A schedule of trails will be developed and presented daily by Janis. We will be offering a short guided group meditation morning and evening to those who wish to participate. (7:45 am meditation and 9:00 pm relaxation meditation).  We are also planning one day of Silence as we hike in K’was Park, giving us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in nature without the distraction of conversation. Silence would begin after breakfast and conclude at dinner time on this day. Each person is responsible for their breakfast and lunch; dinner teams will be organized by Margot. Please visit: www.linnaeafarm.org

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Meeting Place Cortes ferry line-up. Vehicles must be in line-up by 8 a.m. This is a busy trades ferry.
Departure Time 9:05 am ferry to Cortes
Difficulty Moderate to easy
Dogs No
Trip Limits Limit of 8 ladies, or 9 if two wish to share a room.
Costs $30/person/night if you bring your own sleeping bag and towel. $50/person/night if you use Linnaea bedding, plus ferry costs and shared fuel. Bring your ferry card.
Notes Car-pooling and dinner teams will be organized by Margot. Let me know your diet needs. Please let me know a.s.a.p. as this trip will fill up fast. This is such a lovely happening on beautiful Cortes Island.

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

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

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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