Trip Report – Woss Lookout & Little Huson Caves – 26 July 2018

The original plan was to hike to Woss Lookout in the morning to beat the extreme summer heat. But, unexpectedly, when we drove north on Highway 19, it was overcast and quite cool, so we continued on to the Little Huson Caves first. These karst features in Quatsino limestone are very beautifully sculpted into complex shapes with the Atluk Creek running through it. We took the short walk to the northern viewpoint first and explored the big opening in the natural bridge over the River “Cave”. The trail also leads to the south opening of the bridge with even more opportunity to see the sculpted limestone. With the low water and dry weather there are lots of possibilities for exploring. We also visited the Bridge Cave before walking to Little Huson Lake.

We then drove south to the rough logging road leading to the Woss Lookout trailhead. Once the skies cleared at noon, it was already hot. We walked up the upper logging road switchbacks and then took the trail through the forest up to the summit. This is a short, steep hike with lots of rope available for assistance. There were wonderful blueberries and purple huckleberries on the way up. At the summit we enjoyed the excellent restoration of the lookout tower, a very refreshing afternoon breeze, and fantastic view in nearly 360°. The historical photos from 1948 are very interesting. The location of the tower was great as a fire lookout, but also for views. The conical hill is a focus for five valleys. For the hike: 4.4 km; 2¾ hours; 376 m elevation gain; 35% incline in the steep section.

Debbie

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Hiking – Woss Lookout & Little Huson Caves – 27 July 2018

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Trip Report – Caves near Sayward- 23 May 2018

Eight of us met Bill, our all-knowing-guide, at the beginning of the long, dusty logging road into Cave Land.  Bill took us through Chicken II, a standing-room passage way leading to interesting geology.  After which a short drive took us to Scallop Falls Cave.  We spent slightly over an hour winding single file through narrow, curving, scalloped marble passages, with water running through them.  We scrambled, manoeuvred and slithered up to the top of the falls.  The beautiful limestone cave features and the contortions to navigate the route were impressive.  We debriefed together over lunch at Bill’s new campground.  As the adventure drew to an end, the participants felt a unified sense of accomplishment. .

Cyndy

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Thanks to Norris, Cyndy and Bill for their photos

Natural History – Caving near Sayward – 23 May 2018

Natural History – Caving near Sayward – 23 May 2018

Activity Natural History – Caving
Destination Sayward area caves
Date 23 May 2018, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Cyndy Chidley
Contact Info Cyndy Chidley: 250-285-3575
Bill West-Sells: 1-778-860-3131
Description Introductory caving (with some challenges) on north Vancouver Island.  Challenges include bridging, climbing, stretching, wriggling, not to mention small, dark places.
Meeting Place Q Cove ferry terminal
Departure Time 9:00 ferry or possibly the 8:00 to Campbell River
Difficulty Depends on the group
Costs Ferry and shared gas
Trip limits 12
Dogs?
Notes:
Wear rubber boots or wool sock with runners that you don’t mind getting wet, but you will have cold feet. Bring coveralls, a helmet that you are able to fit with head light and a head light, if you can get one.  Bill has some extras that he will bring.  Flexible gloves, if you have them. A change of shoes and socks. A lunch and water.  If you have a  walkie-talkie or VHF radio, please bring it with charged batteries.

Trip Report – Memekay Caves – 31 May 2017

Seven of us had a great trip to the Memekay Caves. We visited two caves: Chicken II and Scallop Falls. Bill, our guide from Vancouver Island Cave Exploration Group, was full of stories and information. He made us feel at ease as we made our way through the long narrow passages. There were some challenges in the second cave as we climbed, bridged and wriggle through the narrow tunnel with water running through it. We marvelled at the rock formations and Scallop Falls. After lunch we took a short walk along the East Memekay River.

Cyndy

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Thanks to Norris, Bill & Cyndy, Mitch and Sameen for contributing their photos

Natural History – Caving near Sayward – 31 May 2017

Natural History – Caving near Sayward – 31 May 2017

Activity Natural History – Caving
Destination East Memekay Caves
Date 31 May 2017, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Cyndy Chidley
Contact Info Cyndy Chidley: 250-285-3575
Bill West-Sells: 1-778-860-3131
Description Introductory caving (with some challenges) on north Vancouver Island.  Challenges include bridging, climbing, stretching, wriggling.
Meeting Place Q Cove ferry terminal in time for the 8:00 am ferry
Departure Time 8:00 am ferry to Campbell River
Difficulty
First cave “Chicken II” – easy; second cave “Scallop Falls” – moderate.
Costs Ferry and shared gas
Trip limits 12
Dogs? Possible; check on carpooling
Notes:
Wear rubber boots or runners that you don’t mind getting wet. Bring coveralls, a helmet that you are able to fit with head light and a head light, if you can get one.  Bill has some extras that he will bring.  Flexible gloves, if you have them. A change of shoes and socks. A lunch.  Not essential, but whoever has a walkie talkie, or VHF radio, please bring it with charged batteries.  The more we have of these the better.

Trip Report – Qualicum Area Birdwatching – 12 Apr 2017

A small group of us set out with low expectations, under heavy grey skies, to look for migrating geese. We were in quest of Brant, a beautiful small goose that makes a stop-over in this area to re-fuel on the trip north. We started our exploration at Rathtrevor Beach, just south of Parksville and had several other sites located in case we had to search the length of the estuary area to find groups of Brant. But as soon as we walked over to the edge of the sand we were delighted to see large numbers of these elegant black and white geese strung along the waterline. Among them were a number of shorebirds – Black Turnstones and Black-bellied Plovers. We walked out along the sand as far as we dared without disturbing the birds, set up the spotting scope, and enjoyed the show.

As we had a closer look, we realized that there was a lot of activity offshore as well. A bunch of immense sea lions were splashing and interacting just beyond the Brant, and we spotted a group of porpoise swimming by. Beyond all that were large rafts of Scoters and the occasional loon. There was a feeling of excitement in the air as all these critters were energetically feeding and organizing themselves for the next leg on the push northward to breed.

After taking in our fill at this location, we moved to the forested area on the other side of Englishman River to see what we could turn up there. The forest was beautiful, but there was not a lot of bird activity. We did spot large numbers of Swallows (Bank, we presumed) zooming about along the river. It’s always nice to see these birds in good numbers, knowing that their populations are struggling worldwide.

After a warm-up lunch in a pub in Parksville and we made a final stop inland at Hamilton Marsh near Coombs. A short walk took us to a large open wetland area with a dock extending into the water. We spotted many Canada Geese, Buffleheads, Red-winged Blackbirds and lots of Tree Swallows swooping about.

Altogether, our bird list for the day totaled 37 species:
American Robin
Northwest Crow
Bald Eagle
Brant Goose
Black Turnstone
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
White-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Black Oystercatcher
White Winged Scoter
Surf Scoter
Common loon
Eared Grebe
Black-bellied Plover
Mew Gull
Thayer’s Gull
California Gull
Pine Siskin
Dark-eyed Junco
Spotted Towhee
Wilsons Warbler
Red-breasted Merganser
Belted Kingfisher
Common Raven
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Mallard
Savannah Sparrow
Bank Swallow
Pacific Wren
Red-winged Blackbird
Bufflehead
Tree Swallow
Brown Creeper
Great Blue Heron
House Finch

Kathryn

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Thanks to Kathryn and Norris for the photos

Bird Watching – Qualicum Shoreline – 29 Mar 2017

Trip Report – Karst Formations – 5 April 2017

Eleven of us took advantage of a break in the rainy weather to visit some of the Karst features on Quadra Island: sink holes, insurgences, resurgences, caves, and grikes – holes in the limestone surface which connect to the underworld.  Thanks to the recent rains there was plenty of water coming and going.  We also visited a horizontal mine shaft.  We don’t know what they were mining, but they made an impressive tunnel to explore.  Thanks to James and Carley, young geologists, for their interpretation and commentary on what we were viewing.

Norris

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Natural History – Karst Formations – 5 April 2017