Trip Report – Newton Lake and Waiatt Bay – 14 Aug 2019

There were eight hikers and two dogs for this highly varied walk to Newton Lake, Small Inlet and Waiatt Bay. It was a warm and sunny day for a hike and a swim. We hiked up the old, eroded logging road to the lake and enjoyed the view and the quiet for a while before continuing along the creek and down the switchbacks to Small Inlet. The Inlet was beautiful and serene, with no boats at anchor, but we decided to go to Waiatt Bay for lunch. It was a very low tide, with quite a lot of boats in the bay, and few people on the trail hiking up to the lake. We returned to Small Inlet by the portage trail and the bubbling spring before hiking back up the hill to Newton Lake. By this time, there were quite a few swimmers at the lake, but we had the rock bluff on the north side to ourselves for a wonderfully refreshing splash in the lake, before returning down the logging road to the vehicles.  14.4 km;  6 hours.

– Julie and Debbie

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Hiking – Newton Lake and Waiatt Bay – 14 Aug 2019

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Trip Report – Stramberg Creek & North Grove – 7 Aug 2019

Twelve of us and two dogs headed out to the Stramberg north grove of big trees.  It was one of those dog days of August, sunny and hot.  The first section of the route, an old logging road which was deactivated when it became park land, was a pleasant stroll, a grassy, mossy path. When we reached Stramberg Creek, it was flowing deeper than usual at this time of year.  So we waded across the clear, cool stream.  Then some of us and the dogs were attacked by ground-nesting wasps.  With the help of some ointment on the bites, we continued on.  The trail was clear and well flagged so we made good time and had lunch at the north grove.  After lunch the group split as some returned while others opted for continuing on the trail to the Stramberg big trees, which we normally reach by the trail from the south and east side of the Lake.  The return trip was uneventful, but warm and quick since swimming in Stramberg Lake was the next objective.  The cool, clear waters were very refreshing.  12.1 km;  5½ hours.

– Norris

Thanks to Norris and Les for the photos

(Click on the photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Stramberg Creek & North Grove – 7 Aug 2019

Trip Report – Sandy Island Marine Park – 31 July 2019

Our group of eight kayakers left the Union Bay boat launch shortly after 10:00.  The morning was a bit dark, but mild and gentle.  We paddled out and across Baynes Sound to Denman Island and the Longbeak Point sand spit.  We arrived at a particularly low tide (0.4 m) on the day of a new moon, so that the sand spit connected Denman with Sandy Island.  In fact the White Spit continued all the way to the Comox Bar entrance, about 2.5 NM.  This gave us an excellent opportunity to observe the intertidal life:  moon snails, clams, barnacles, sand dollars, and sand anemone, as well as admire the variety of shells.  On the other hand, it wasn’t a good day to paddle around the islands and islets.  Oddly, a large search and rescue helicopter landed on the Island without any apparent emergency, as we paddled by Sandy Island.

We continued on to a shell beach and stopped for lunch.  Les spoiled us again, this time with garden fresh berries and whipped cream for dessert.  A few in the group explored a bit more or practiced kayak self-rescues before we headed back under a clearing sky.  On the way, we stopped for a walk around the lovely beach at Sandy Island Marine Park and then paddled back to the boat launch with a slight breeze at our back.  Although the tidal range was 4.5 m that day, the current during both crossings was minimal.  (13.9 km; 3½ hours)

Debbie

Thanks to Norris and Marie for the photos

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Kayaking – Tree Island – 31 July 2019

Trip Report – Morte Lake Loop – 24 July 2019

Six of us hiked the classic Morte Lake loop.  The day was sunny and not too hot for the hike.  The berries and mushroom were doing well.  We admired the view of Morte Lake from the east beach before continuing up the newly routed trail, which avoids the steep, eroded section up to the bluff.  We had planned to stop at the northwest beach, but that was fully occupied with children from the Homewood summer camp.  We continued on to the southwest beach, which we had to ourselves.  Most of us stayed for lunch and some swam in the beautiful green water over the white sand.  We continued along the south shore to complete the loop around the lake.  As we returned lots of people were heading out to the lake for a swim.  We crossed over the creek and returned to the vehicles via the Lower Deadfifsh mountain bike trail.   10.0 km;  4 hours.

– Julie and Debbie

Hiking – Morte Lake Loop – 24 July 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

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Multi-day Hiking – Woss Lookout and Huson Caves – 15-17 July 2019

Trip Report – Kay DuBois Trail – 10 July 2019

The Heriot Ridge Loop was cancelled due to rain (slippery bluffs). Instead, we opted for an enjoyable hike along the Kay Dubois Trail. The rain had stopped as six people and Kona (the dog) met at the trailhead on Wa Wa Kie Road and followed the trail south along the ocean. After the night’s rain, the forest was humid, very green, almost jungle-like. Before heading up the hill to the south end of the trail at Sutil Road, we stopped at the beach access for a break and watched the rough waves breaking at the shoreline. At the end of Sutil Road, we followed logging roads east and north. On the road north that leads to the end of Fox Road, we spotted wolf poop and a small brown garter snake trying to find a patch of sun. Before reaching Fox Road, we turned east onto a small trail that winds its way back to the Kay Dubois Trail, connecting at the big mother spruce tree. From here it was short hike back to the vehicles. Our timing was good as it began to rain again. Thank you Norris for the photo-taking.  5.3 km;  1¾ hours.

– Janis

Hiking – Kay DuBois Trail – 10 July 2019

Trip Report – Octopus Islands – 8-9 July 2019

An unfriendly forecast changed a four-day trip to Cortes into a 2-day trip to the Octopus Islands. The two days were great, however, and with the much reduced travel time, distance paddled was probably not too far off what we would have done on the longer trip.

Five paddlers launched from the Discovery Lodge docks at 9:15 to catch the morning slack in Beazley Rapids, and after a short stop in Yeatman Bay, headed north to the Octopus Islands. Passing (with just enough water) between the two private islands, we found a fairly good campsite on the east side of Quadra and set up for the night. After lunch, we paddled around Waiatt Bay and stopped at a truly lovely site on the south shore (which we’re saving for a future trip). Our next stop involved a short and unsuccessful walk to find the picturesque ‘museum’ cabin on the southern private island. Backtracking a bit, we made an easy landing on the beach below the cabin, and visited the hundreds of signs and other artifacts left over the years by visiting boats.

Heading back to camp, we sighted the very rare Flamingo Rosa Giganteus making its stately way around the cove (apparently propelled by two attendants…). This species is usually seen in its normal habitat of Suburbia Walmartia and is previously unknown in these waters. (First day 19.2 km or 10.4 NM; 4¾ hours)

The next day after a fairly early start, we crossed to the Maurelle shore and paddled down to enter the Settlers Group at slack water. We made good time, but were a bit apprehensive about the current as we hadn’t previously paddled among these islands. All went well and we stopped for lunch just inside White Rock Passage. After much debate and listening (again) to the marine forecast, we made the reluctant decision to head home that evening, as rain and strong winds were still on the menu for Wednesday. After a short trip up the passage, we returned on the Read Island side, and crossed from Surge Point to the Lodge, arriving at the dock just before 5 p.m. At that point, we had been in the kayaks continuously for 3½ hours, and flopping out onto the dock was less than graceful (for some of us, anyway).  (Second day 24.1 km or 13 NM ; 6 hours)

A good if short trip – good weather, lovely scenery, good company.
Thanks to all, Darcy Mitchell, Trip Coordinator

Thanks to Norris and Valerie for the photos

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Multi-day Kayaking – Octopus Islands – 8-9 July 2019