Trip Report – McKenzie and Douglas Lakes – 26 Sept 2018

Eight of us and a dog set out on a beautiful, crystal clear fall day to visit Douglas and McKenzie Lakes on the Forbidden Plateau in Strathcona Park.  The short way to get there involves an half hour, 6.3 km drive on a rough old logging road.  We made it and then walked 700 m into the park on a rough but easy trail through old growth trees and blueberries.

At this point it is necessary to cross the outlet stream from McKenzie Lake.  It turned out that the Lake level was a few inches higher than expected and the puddle jumping rocks were under water.  At this obstacle, five people and the dog decided to go up to Paradise Meadows, leaving three to continue to the Lakes as planned.

Having found a dry way across the creek using rocks and logs, we arrived at the sunny side of the stream, the path was found and the lakes were beautiful, the meadows were beautiful and the weather was beautiful.  So after lunch at McKenzie Lake, we explored the trail towards the main area of Paradise Meadows via Kwai and other Lakes.  The trail gains some elevation, follows a sequence of small lakes and was in unexpectedly good condition.  Now we want to come back and do the whole trail from Raven Lodge to the old ski area beyond Mt. Becher.  We saw a Western Toad, maybe a toadlet, grouse and a glimpse of sandhill cranes migrating south.  11.8 km, 5¼ hours.

The alternate group hiked the Battleship Lake – Helen MacKenzie Lake loop and said it was great.

Norris

Reporting from Paradise Meadows and beyond –   On a perfect fall day, we began with the intent of hiking to Douglas and MacKenzie Lakes, and enjoyed the drive and short hike in. Then, deciding to eschew the fun of wading across the high water in the creek in our bare feet, five of us, and one dog, decided to walk in Paradise Meadows instead. We had a lovely, brisk walk around the Battleship Loop with a brief lunch stop in the Meadows, alive with the vibrant fall colours. The views across the lakes were astounding. We enjoyed chatting with some of the overseas visitors we met on our perambulation.  10.5 km

Valerie

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Hiking – McKenzie and Douglas Lakes – 26 Sept 2018

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Hiking – McKenzie and Douglas Lakes – 26 Sept 2018

Activity Hiking
Destination McKenzie and Douglas Lakes
Date 26 Sept 2018, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Norris Weimer
Contact Info norris.weimer@ualberta.ca or 3710.   Please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip.
Description McKenzie and Douglas Lakes in Strathcona Park are approached from logging roads off of the road to Mt. Washington.  The 6 km drive each way is rougher than the hiking.  The hike is quite short (about 6 km return) and goes through forest and meadows to two lakes.  This isn’t Helen Mackenzie Lake and this area is not busy.  We can hike further or add other destinations, if this goes quickly.
Meeting Place We will take the 8:00 Quadra ferry.  Rides to be arranged in advance.
Departure Time Drivers need to be early enough to get on the ferry
Difficulty
Easy
Costs Share gas and ferry costs
Trip limits Vehicles willing to drive the logging road may limit the number of participants
Dogs? Would need to be on a leash at all times
Notes: Bring lunch and appropriate clothing for altitude of 900 m.

Trip Report – Forbidden Plateau and Cruikshank Canyon – 27 Aug 2018

This was an unscheduled, impromptu trip.  We took advantage of a break in the weather for a tour of the lakes on the Forbidden Plateau and at the last minute decided to push on to Cruickshank Canyon.  The day was cloudless, with a reasonable summer temperature, and a bit of smoke haze on the horizon.  We caught the 7:05 ferry and were hiking shortly after 8:30.  We hiked the lake loop clockwise, arriving first at Battleship, then Lady, Croteau and Kwai Lakes.  We explored the excellent new group campground at Croteau, complete with yurt cooking shelter, and had lunch at Kwai.  We hiked the spur to Mariwood and Beautiful (well named) Lakes and continued to Cruikshank Canyon.  The haze was most noticeable across the canyon, but the viewpoint drop-off is always impressive.  We stopped at Mariwood Lake on the return and Julie swam in the cold water, before hiking up to the Ranger station and on to Helen Mackenzie Lake.

This is truly a spectacular sub-alpine hike.  We were very pleased that there was no apparent drought on the plateau.  The lake levels were reasonable and the meadows still green and lush.  The wild blueberries were delicious and definitely extended the time it took to do the trip.  22.1 km; 8¼ hours.

Debbie

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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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Hiking – Crest Mountain – 25 July 2018

Change of start time!  Stay in touch with the coordinator.

Activity Hiking
Destination Crest Mountain
Date 25 July 2018, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Norris Weimer
Contact Info norris.weimer@ualberta.ca or 3710.   Please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip.
Description There is a good trail through the forest which climbs steadily at about a 22% grade.  Think Pilot Road.  It goes up 1,100 metres in 5.0 km.  It’s strenuous but not difficult other than that.  At the top of the climb there are fantastic views all around and a small alpine lake.  From there the trail to the summit is easier.  14 km, 7 hours, plus driving and ferry time.
Meeting Place We will take the 07:05 Quadra ferry.  Rides to be arranged in advance.
Departure Time 06:20 07:05 ferry
Difficulty
lots of uphill!
Costs share gas and ferry costs
Trip limits must be fit and have good knees
Dogs? no
Notes: poles, lunch, water

Trip Report – Mt. Washington – 7 Mar 2018

We returned to Mt Washington on a day with a skiff of fresh snow on a very good base and mild conditions.  We had four in the cross-country ski group and six in the snowshoe group, all starting at Raven Lodge.  The skiers headed out along Paradise Meadows to the Far East trail, returning to the Lodge for lunch.   The snowshoers crossed the Meadows and headed up the summer trail to Battleship Lake.  One person had a snowshoe malfunction, but continued walking on the well-packed path without any problem.  After crossing the Lake and the next rise, they made the steep descent to Helen Mackenzie Lake and stopped for lunch.  They then continued across Helen Mackenzie Lake and followed the summer trail back down to the Ponds area and back to the Lodge. 7.5 km; 3½ hours.

Debbie

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Thanks to Norris, Vic and Les for the photos

Snow – Mt Washington – 7 Mar 2018

Activity Snow
Destination Mt. Washington
Date 7 Mar 2018, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info debbie.quigg@ualberta.ca or 3710;  please contact the coordinator by Sunday night.  Please indicate whether you are willing to drive and whether you are snowshoeing or cross country skiing.
Description We hope to have both snowshoeing and cross country skiing on this outing. We will probably leave from Raven Lodge.  As always, the trip is weather dependent.
Meeting Place Quadra ferry terminal to Campbell River.  Car pools should be arranged in advance.
Departure Time 9:00 ferry to Campbell River.  Those taking cars need to be early enough to get on the 9:00 ferry.
Difficulty
Depends
Costs Ferry, shared fuel and the trail pass If we go to Raven Lodge.  The snowshoe day pass is $10 or the cross country pass is $23 for adults or $19 for seniors.  It may be slightly cheaper if you buy in advance online.
Trip limits Availability of cars going up to Mt. Washington.  Technically cars going up need to have chains.
Dogs? No
Notes: Bring equipment, warm clothing and lunch.