Trip Report – The Campbell River Loop – 26 Apr 2017

Six of us hiked a loop from the logging bridge on the Campbell River up to Moose Falls and back. This is always a great walk with lots of highlights, but this was particularly special because of the spring wildflower bloom. Immediately after crossing the bridge and starting along the trail on the north side of the river, we were greeted with a wonderful profusion of pink and white fawn lilies, trillium, and wild bleeding heart. For the first 2 kilometers these flowers carpeted the edge of the trail.  After a long winter, spring was everywhere.

We admired the Canyon View and continued on up to the Station View, with its rather industrial view of the generating station and construction. The Millennium Trail wanders through a fine forest with some very impressive old growth and leads to the Elk Falls viewing platform and suspension bridge, both amazing.  Elk Falls drops about 25 meters into a very narrow gorge with a right-angle turn.

We took the gradually ascending Old Growth trail and then the very steep descent to the rocky viewpoint for Moose Falls and the Dolphin Pool, where we stopped for lunch. Although the forecast had called for rain by mid-day, we had warm sunshine. We returned along the river, passed by Deer Falls and more views of Elk Falls, and crossed over to the south side of the river for more wildflowers before reaching the vehicles. 13.4 km; 4½ hours.


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Hiking – The Campbell River Loop – 26 Apr 2017

Trip Report – Morte Lake Loop – 20 Apr 2017

The Wednesday trip scheduled for snowshoes on Mt. Washington was cancelled because the rain was pretty thick.  Instead five of us took advantage of a day off from the rain on Thursday and walked around Morte Lake.  It was a lovely Spring day for a walk and Morte Lake did not disappoint.  We had lunch at the far end at the sandy beach and returned via the Nirvana bike trail up to the viewpoint and back to the trailhead on Dead Fish. 11.4km; 4¼ hours.


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Hiking – Morte Lake Loop – 20 Apr 2017

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
Savannah Sparrow
Bank Swallow
Pacific Wren
Red-winged Blackbird
Tree Swallow
Brown Creeper
Great Blue Heron
House Finch


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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.


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Natural History – Karst Formations – 5 April 2017

Trip Report – Thompson-B&B Trail Loop – 15 Mar 2017

Six hikers and two dogs, Joe and Luna, enjoyed a three and a half hour hike on a loop which was new to most of the group. The weather was cloudy and mild with no rain. Starting at the Thompson trailhead, we hiked to the first viewpoint and proceeded on a route north down the ridge, dropped off the ridge at the big moss-covered maple tree and continued on a route through the forest to the old B&B trail. We turned up the B&B trail, hiking along the pretty bedrock stream as far as the logging road crossing. The group walked down this road towards North Gowlland Harbour Road. We saw one rough-skinned newt on the road, and more in the water-filled quarry. Not far past the quarry we turned south on a fairly new bike trail leading towards Rousseau Ridge. After climbing the ridge, we took a break to enjoy the view and have lunch. Our return route followed the Gowlland Harbour trail, then the Thompson trail back to the vehicles.


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Thanks to Stephen for the photos.

Hiking – Thompson & B&B Trails Loop – 15 Mar 2017

Trip Report – Eagle Ridge and Beyond – 8 Mar 2017

Despite the forecasts for bad weather Wednesday, the weather cleared just long enough for ten of us to do this hike. The sun even made a brief appearance. The slushy snow from Tuesday was still on the ground so the walking was a bit wet and a bit slippery. We hiked passed the wetland and up to the top of the Eagle Ridge trail with great views to the west. We took an alternate route down, using an unlikely easy route through an otherwise impossible and impressive cliff band. Then we switched to the next ridge to the north and followed mossy, open ridges up to a local summit for lunch. Then we gradually descended the ridge to the east to an overgrown logging road, which provided a good way down to the bigger logging road and easy walking for a loop back to the cars. 4.9km; 2¾ hours.


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Hiking – Eagle Ridge and Beyond – 8 Mar 2017

Trip Report – Kay du Bois Loop – 1 Mar 2017


Four of us had a leisurely walk along the Kay du Bois Loop.  We followed the path along the coast, climbed the hill and hiked Fox Main and descended by the steep, unofficial trail back to the big Sitka Spruce.  The loop was new to many on the trip.  About 1 1/2 hours.


Hiking – Kay du Bois-Fox Main Loop – 1 Mar 2017