Trip Report – Shellaligan Pass Loop – 18 Nov 2020

In damp, cloudy weather, eight hikers enjoyed our first “Hot Chocolate” hike of the season, perambulating the beautiful Shellaligan inland loop clockwise. We set off from the first parking lot from the turn off from Valdes Road, a good decision in retrospect as the logging road was blocked further on by downed trees from the previous day’s windstorm. The first part of this loop is on good logging roads, watch for signage for the turn-offs. Soon we turned right off a wide logging road, onto the trail, this turn easily missed so now marked with extra orange flagging tape. We followed this lovely, easy trail through a veritable sea of green, alongside a very full creek, to the shore. Here we admired the “neurotic sapsucker tree” and noted the collected marine debris awaiting pick-up. Soon reaching the trail sign a bit inland, we headed back on the “shortcut to parking lot” to the “middle” parking lot, turning right onto the logging road back to our cars. Just under 2 hours, good exercise, good company, home by the fire by early afternoon, a great first “Hot Chocolate” hike. 4.9 km; 1½ hours.

Thank you to Norris for the photos!

 
Valerie van Veen
 

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Hiking – Shellaligan Pass Loop – 18 Nov 2020

 

Trip Report – Kw’as Park, Cortes – 11 Nov 2020

We were a group of four on the Remembrance Day hike to Cortes Island.  The ferry was uncrowded and the crossing calm.  We began the hike at the trailhead near the Cortes Island Motel and walked through this beautiful rainforest.  We ascended up toward the Summit and then along the Millennium Trail undulating over rocky bluffs through some old growth trees.  We had views of Hague Lake before we reached the Swim Rock, where we stopped for lunch.  The water and the weather were calm, and we chatted with a local woman who was fishing from her kayak.
 
We continued on the trail high along the shore with great views and descended the ladder along the Rock Face.  We made a short side trip to visit the Survivor Fir, which we measured as 7.9m in circumference.  We crossed the bridge across the narrow waterway between Hague and Gunflint Lakes and walked the loop to the south, including Pierre de Trail and the Cedar Ridge.  We also enjoyed the large Douglas fir at the junction, which we measured as 8.35m in circumference.  We returned over the bridge and walked the trail along the west shore of Gunflint Lake, with great views along the way and the steam donkey remains.  We continued on through the Spruce Grove and returned to the vehicles.  
 
It was a great hike with lots of variety and highlights.  The trail was very quiet at this time of year.  After the hike we stopped at the Cortes Coop for delicious refreshments before taking the ferry home.  8.9 km, 4½ hours.
 
Debbie
 

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Hiking – Kw’as Park, Cortes – 11 Nov 2020

Reconnaissance Report – Snowden Forest – 6 Nov 2020

Having now hiked the Lost Lake area three times, I was really keen to check out the trails further west,  particularly “Lookout Loop” and “Enchanted Forest”.  Armed with an old Ministry of Forests “Forest Recreation” map and the more recent coloured map, I headed out with my daughter and her dog on a lovely crisp fall day. We passed the Lost Lake parking lot, and the Riley Lake parking turn-off shortly after, and using the Ministry map (the coloured map has a logo right over the relevant section) we found the turn-off to the Elmer Lake parking lot, as marked on both maps. However, though marked as an almost straight north logging road, this quickly became a network of logging roads, with no signage anywhere. The northerly route eventually turned into a narrow, unmaintained quagmire, unnavigable if we hadn’t been in my daughter’s Honda Ridgeline. Obviously, this access route would be impossible for club members. We tried a few more logging roads that quickly opened out into recent clear-cuts with signs of active logging. Most regretfully, we turned around and headed back into more familiar territory.

We turned off at the sign to the Riley Lake parking lot, a bit further west of the more popular Lost Lake parking lot. Finally on foot, we headed up the Riley Lake trail. We soon came to a map which outlined the very area that we had been trying to access, now off-limits as active road construction and logging is presently underway there. So that explained the lack of any signage. To avoid the logging, the northern stretch of Riley Lake trail is being redeveloped, it is wide and with a good dirt base, easy walking. Eventually as Riley Lake trail turned west then SW, it became a narrow trail off the developed pathway, (not signed, used our compass and common sense). We followed the narrower trail to Pepper Spray (signed) to a T-junction with Cheshire Cat. Here the signage was very confusing. The right hand branch was signed “Out” but this would lead, eventually, to the very parking lot we had tried to find earlier, and would be in the closed area. Ignoring the “Out” sign, we went SE on Cheshire Cat, which came down to a clearing off the main road. We decided to follow Cheshire Cat back north, then took Oggies right back to our truck. Altogether about 2.5 hrs without a rest stop, easy to moderate hiking through beautiful woods. The short drive to the Riley Lake parking lot is a little rough, I think the Trimac trail links the Riley Lake trail to the Lost Lake parking lot, which would be more convenient. Definitely another hike to do in the beautiful Snowden Forest.

Valerie

Reconnaissance Report – Century Sam Lake – 7 Nov 2020

Another weekend was forecast to be fabulous, so we did another short-notice hike to check out a place we had never been to.  It’s a difficult place to get to in part because the logging company keeps the access road closed most of the time.  When it is open, the gate is locked promptly at 6:00 p.m.  There is a long drive inside that gate, some of which has great views of Comox Lake and mountains along the way.  Then there is a 2 km section which has water bars (cross ditches) making it accessible for 4×4 only and then there is the hike itself.  The trail is well worn, but hardly improved, so it is slow.  And this makes it harder to do as a day-hike.  We parked before the water bars and hiked up the logging road to the trailhead.

The trail isn’t special.  It’s often muddy, rooty and slippery, there is a lot of deadfall, there is a headwall below the Lake with a few places which require a bit of scrambling (and could use a rope).  Also, for us the trail was frequently icy, and occasionally the rock had a thick coating of ice. 

The destination is quite nice.  Century Sam Lake is a glacial blue – it would be great with sunshine on it.  We were too late in the season for that.  The Lake lies in a hanging valley below Comox Glacier.  A kilometre or so beyond the lake there is an ice patch with ice caves.  Fantastic.  For us, there was a strong, cold winter wind blowing across the lake, so we did not stay long.

This has become a very popular destination in the summer, when it is green, and you can see why.  Even now, late in the season, there were lots of people there.  Our whole hike was 13.6 km, 7 hours, 568m elevation gain to 1,000m at the ice caves. For just the trail portion, it was 8.3 km, 5¾ hours, 400m altitude gain. 

Norris

Thanks to Norris, Stephen and Carrie for photos

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Trip Report – South Morte Lake – 4 Nov 2020

This hike was a substitute for a trip to Cortes, which we put off because of the wind forecast.  Seven of us hiked a loop from the east end of Reed Lake up and over to the south shore of Morte Lake and back.  We only had a few drops of rain, but the trail was really wet, having had some heavy rains this fall and over 40 mm 24 hours earlier.  
 
We started along the north shore of Reed and Mud Lake to the South Bluff trail and the beach and viewpoint at Morte Lake, where we took a short break.  We then followed the official Morte Lake trail, turning on Nirvana and continuing up on Seven Sins to the viewpoint for lunch while it was nearly sunny.  We then turned down on Deadfish and Lost Rider and back to the vehicles.
 
The mushroom were still great and everything was very, very wet.  7.2 km, 3¼ hours.
 
Debbie
 

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Hiking – South Morte Lake – 4 Nov 2020

Trip Report – Big Tree – 28 Oct 2020

The destination for this hike was to the biggest tree on Quadra.  Five of us set out to visit it and other big trees in the area.  It’s in the Park, but there is no trail to it.  We parked the cars where the logging road gets steep and hiked from there.  Leaving the logging road, there is a short section of deadfall and brush.  Once in the Park the forest is more open and there is a path.  The big trees are in a deep valley with a little clear stream running through it. We measured around a few big Douglas fir trees, then had lunch and visited Clear Lake.
 
The biggest tree we measured was 7.4 meters around.  We think it is the same one as featured in this drone video.  The video says 9 metres around, but we suspect that was at the very base of the tree, which is not the standard way to do it.  It also says 800 years old and 90 metres high Watch that video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MARVLftC-YY     4.9 km; 3 hours.
 
Norris
 

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Hiking – Big Tree – 28 Oct 2020

Reconnaissance Report – Mt. Drabble – 24 Oct 2020

We had hoped to make an exploratory trip to Mt. Drabble before the snow came to Forbidden Plateau and didn’t quite make it, but we had a beautiful day.  We approached it from the Strathcona Parkway and then logging roads.   It had snowed a few inches about 24 hours before, but most of the logging roads were fine.  However, we decided to walk rather than drive up the last steep section of road.  From the the road it was easy to get onto the ridge which leads gradually up to the summit of Mt. Drabble.  The ridge quickly becomes sub-alpine with great views and many tarns.  The route was well marked so that we could follow it in the snow without being familiar with the trail.  The snow made our time a bit slower as we checked frequently to make sure we were on track.  There was one significant dip in the ridge, but mostly the walking was steady and gradual.  From the end of the ridge there are great views of Forbidden Plateau, Georgia Strait and the mainland mountains.  The reward for effort is very high on this trip.  11.8km (4 km on the road); 442m elevation gain to 1,353m; and 6 hours (1¼ hours on the road).

.Debbie

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Trip Report – Elk Falls Loop – 21 Oct 2020

Eight of us hiked up the Campbell River on a beautiful, crisp fall day.  We started at the logging bridge and followed the trail on the north side along a side channel and on to the Canyon View trail.  Although we saw almost no salmon running, we soon encountered a young bear cub on this busy trail.  We avoided each other and continued to the bridge over the Canyon and on to the Millennium trail.  We had great views of Elk Falls from three different vantage points.  We stopped for lunch on sunny rocks above the falls and then continued along the river, passing some excellent old growth trees.  After Deer Falls we lingered at the pool below Moose Falls watching the eagles.  We took the most inland trail back to the Millennium trail and crossed to the south side of the river at the relatively new stairs and viewpoint at the generating station.  After admiring the new totem poles we continued back to the vehicles along the smaller trail along the river.  Apparently we walked by a mother bear and two cubs very near the Quinsam River.  We didn’t notice, but others turned back after getting between the bears.   This is a beautiful walk any time of the year, but it was particularly lovely on this late autumn day.  12.8 km; 5 hours.
Debbie

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Hiking – Elk Falls Loop – 21 Oct 2020

Trip Report – Rousseau Ridge Loop – 14 Oct 2020

Seven of us hiked to the top of Rousseau Ridge starting near the end of North Gowlland Road.  From there we followed the open mossy ridge as it gently sloped down, with a few steep sections and great views.  The route emerges onto a logging road.  We followed that back uphill to the end.  We continued on a short, wet trail which joins the Gowlland Trail below Heriot Ridge.  We followed that back to the start, with a side trip to the old growth grove of big Douglas fir frees.  The day before had torrential downpours, but the weather for us was good.  8.6 km; 4 hours.
Norris

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Hiking – Rousseau Ridge – 14 Oct 2020

Trip Report – Snowden Demonstration Forest – 7 Oct 2020

Eight hikers enjoyed a lovely fall day (possibly the last lovely fall day…) in the Snowden Demonstration Forest.  Starting from the Lost Lake parking lot (about 20 minutes from the ferry terminal), we walked the Lost Lake loop  – a pleasant and generally easy trail, with a good variety of fungi, lichen and moss.  After a short snack break at the picnic area (south end of the lake), we walked Mudhoney Pass, to complete the outing.  10.1 km; 3¼ hours.
 
 
The Demonstration Forest has an extensive network of biking/hiking trails, with several access points.  We took mainly level trails, but there are many with more ups and downs over rocky bluffs.  The coordinator stumbled onto one of these the next day, a black rated trail that looked, at first blush, like a shortcut….
 
Darcy 

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Hiking – Snowden Demonstration Forest – 7 Oct 2020