Trip Report – Horne Lake Caves – 23 Oct 2019

Eleven adventurous souls made the 1¼ hour drive down island to Horne Lake Provincial Park. We went on a variation of their guided multi-cave tour.  After the suspension bridge over the Qualicum River and the 1 km walk up the hill, we started on the upper end of Riverbend Cave where we visited the Soda Straw and Bacon Galleries with beautiful caves features (speleothems) and continued as far as the Buddha Room to see the “Buddha” in the reflecting pool.  Main Cave was the second cave where we climbed up a waterfall and slid down a metal slide.  We all managed to avoid “face-plant rock” at the bottom of the slide. The final cave was Lower Cave with beautiful features and tight passageways.  We crouched low as we walked up the stream in the “Birth Canal”, but the “Cheese Grater” was the tightest squeeze. We emerged dirty, somewhat wet and tired, but everyone had a good time.

Matt was our guide and an experienced caver as well as fun and knowledgeable. He explained how the caves were formed by slightly acidic water running through limestone. He also showed us ancient fossils and how calcite crystals are formed.  As we made our way through the caves he talked about how stalagmites (from the ground) and stalactites (from the ceiling) are formed over thousands of years. 4 hours on the tour.

I would highly recommend this Park to anyone. There are a wide variety of things to do for all levels of comfort.

Les

Thanks to Norris and Vic for the photos

(click on photos to enlarge)

Natural History – Horne Lake Caves – 23 Oct 2019

Natural History – Horne Lake Caves – 23 Oct 2019

Activity Caving
Destination Horne Lake Caves
Date 23 Oct 2019, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Les Hand
Contact Info 285-2029 or leshand@gicable.com.  Please let the coordinator know as soon as possible if you are interested.
Description This is a multi-cave experience that will be slightly modified for us and will take about 3 hours.  Please use link
https://hornelake.com/cave-tours/   to check it out. Scroll down to “Multi-Cave Experience”, click on “More Info” to see what to bring and wear. The helmet and headlight are provided.  You can rent rubber boots for $6 if needed.
Meeting Place Q Cove ferry terminal – be early
Departure Time 10:00 ferry
Difficulty Moderate
Costs $26.25 including taxes for the tour. Must be prepaid to Julie hold your spot.  Please make arrangements to pay Julie by contacting her at 3978.  Also the ferry and shared gas costs.
Trip limits 12
Dogs? No
Notes: We will arrange carpools once we know who is coming.  You will need to sign a liability waiver for Horne Lake Caves. Bring a lunch that you can eat before tour.

Trip Report – Sayward Area Caves- 25 June 2019

On Tuesday, June 25th, nine of us went caving with Bill West-Sells to the White River caves in the Sayward area.  We hiked for approximately half an hour to a series of four caves.  We did quite a bit of bridging to avoid getting wet feet.  There were many shelves and a few upper holes which we climbed through.  Everyone enjoyed their time exploring the various caves, the impressive karst environment, and the forest trails between.

Cyndy

Thanks to Bill for the photos

(click on photos to enlarge)

Natural History – Sayward Area Caves – 25 June 2019

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

Natural History – Caving near Sayward – 25 June 2019

Activity Natural History – Caving
Destination Sayward area caves
Date 25 June 2019, Tuesday
Trip Coordinator Cyndy Chidley
Contact Info Cyndy Chidley: 250-285-3575.  Please let the coordinator know as soon as possible if you are interested.
Description Moderate caving on north Vancouver Island with Bill West-Sells as our guide.  We will meet Bill at Sayward and drive to the cave area from there.  Challenges may include bridging, climbing, stretching, wriggling, not to mention small, dark, wet places.  We will be going to caves we have not visited before.  We will walk for about half an hour through brush to reach the cave.  Make sure you read the notes below on what to bring.  We will need some 4-wheel-drive vehicles some clearance as the end of the road is quite steep.
Meeting Place Q Cove ferry terminal
Departure Time 9:00 ferry to Campbell River; if you are driving come early to avoid the overload
Difficulty Moderate
Costs Ferry and shared gas
Trip limits 12 people or enough 4-wheel-drive vehicles
Dogs? No
Notes:
Wear rubber boots, neoprene socks or booties, or wool socks with runners that you don’t mind getting wet.  The water will be cold.  Bring coveralls, a helmet that you are able to fit with head light, and a head light, if you have one.  Bill has some extras that he will bring.  Flexible gloves, if you have them. A change of shoes and socks with a small towel.  Bring a backpack, as we will walk for a half hour to the cave entrance.   Also lunch and water.  If you have a walkie-talkie or family radio, please bring it with charged batteries.

Trip Report – Carrington Bay, Cortes – 23 Jan 2019

Eight of us had spectacular weather for our trip to the Children’s Forest on Cortes Island, including Carrington Bay and the Grandmother’s Grove.  We took the 9:05 ferry to Cortes and the views of Sutil Channel, the mainland and Vancouver Island mountains couldn’t have been better.  We were met by Sabina who guided us through the forest and told us so much about the efforts of the community to acquire this forest, so that this incredibly diverse and important habitat can remain intact. Sabina shared her amazing knowledge about so many topics including lichen and moss, wolves, wildlife trees, flying squirrels and owls and so much more.  We continued on to Carrington Bay and the tidal lagoon, and crossed the narrow channel through which the tide was rushing out.  We walked to the swim rock and sat in the sun for a leisurely lunch admiring the mergansers, golden eye ducks and a curious seal.  From there we continued on to Grandmothers Grove, a beautiful old growth stand of spruce and cedar, in the James Creek watershed which also supports cutthroat trout and spawning salmon. The greens of the mosses were vibrant after all the recent rain.  We followed the trail and logging roads back in a loop and made a short variation on the James Creek Trail before returning to the vehicles and the ferry. 10.4 km; 5 hours.

Thanks so much to Margot for organizing this event and to Sabina for sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge with us.

Debbie

(click on photos to view larger)

Here is a short video of the area using mostly drone footage:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-zs5BjQo2U

Hiking – Carrington Bay – 23 Jan 2019

Hiking – Carrington Bay – 23 Jan 2019

Activity Hiking
Destination Carrington Bay, Cortes Island
Date 23 January 2019, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Margot Wood
Contact Info tel 250.285.2393.  Please contact the coordinator well in advance of the trip, so that car pools can be arranged.
Description Sabina is going to join us to be our guide and naturalist. This will be a great treat; Sabina is always filled with marine and environmental knowledge. We will drive to Carrington trailhead and proceed on the trails to Carrington Bay. This deeply cut bay is magnificent with the adjoining lagoon. Glaciers receded over the shoreline of Carrington Bay 10,000 years ago; lots to see and learn. We will have lunch at Carrington Bay and continue on to Grandmother’s Grove following the stream. We plan to return on the 3:50 p.m ferry.
Meeting Place Cortes ferry line-up.
Departure Time 9:05 a.m ferry; vehicles need to be in the ferry line-up not later than 8:15 a.m as this is a busy sailing.
Difficulty
Easy to moderate.
Costs Ferry travel costs; bring your experience card and ID
Trip limits
Dogs? no
Notes: Bring lunch and gear for weather.