Trip Report – Breton Islands Spring Equinox Paddle – 20 Mar 2020

Six paddlers gathered (mindful of our interpersonal distance) at the Len Road access on a sunny, calm, 2° morning to start the season with our first paddle outing of the year. After refreshing each other on some basic paddle trip guidelines, a gear and flotation check, and COVID-19 protocols/discussion, we put in at 9:00 on a favourable tide and headed across Hyacinthe Bay. We cruised the shoreline through Open Bay, rounded the “Red Chair Point” and on into Moulds Bay. After a brief beach stop, we continued northeast through Shellalligan Pass into Hoskyn Channel to enjoy the view up the channel towards snow-capped Doogie Dowler and other mountains of the BC mainland. Turning south we paddled down the island chain on even calmer seas until we rounded the southern tip of Breton Island and our lunch stop destination on the cobble/gravel beach. After a leisurely, 90-minute lunch in the sun (physically distanced) we put in once again and headed west to Turtle Island and on to the take out, completing the circuit at about 3:00 pm. Although we saw no cetaceans or sea lions, and few harbour seals, we did enjoy the company of a large variety of sea birds, many of which were in breeding plumage. The trip coordinator will attempt to recall the identified birds and includes a list below.  15.0 km; 4 hour paddle without the lunch break

Varying numbers of: Common Mergansers, Harlequins, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Loons (Common in transition to breeding plumage), Cormorants, Black Turnstones, Black Oystercatchers, Glaucous winged gulls, Canada geese, Surf scoters.

Vic

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Kayaking – Hyacinthe and Open Bays to Breton Islands – 20 Mar 2020

Trip Report – Rampart Hill – 18 Mar 2020

We had beautiful spring conditions to snowshoe from Ramparts Hill.  Warm and sunny, with good spring snow.  We headed steeply up the hill from the parking area until we reached the open bluff with great views of the Forbidden Plateau mountains.  We wandered along wide and narrow paths as well as untracked snow.  We meandered down to another great viewpoint where we stopped for lunch.  We continued on looking for the old cabin, but another group told us we wouldn’t find it because it has burned down.  A piece of history gone.  We continued east and south, with better views of the BC mainland mountains.  In total we had views through about 270° from Mt. Albert Edward to Mt. Waddington.  This was a beautiful day at a superb area for snowshoeing.  The terrain and views couldn’t be better.  6.3 km, 3 hours 

Debbie

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Snow – Mt. Washington – 18 Mar 2020

Trip Report – Reed Lake Loop – 11 Mar 2020

Ten hikers enjoyed a three-hour hike on a series of biking trails south of Walcan Road. Beginning at the Reed Lake pullout on Walcan Road, we headed south on Straight-As-A-Dime. This is a winding uphill trail with intermittent sections of logging roads which are beginning to grow in. After a short time on Navel and Silk Stockings Trails, the group turned east onto Backdoor Trail which winds its way over an extensive rock bluff plateau covered with vibrant green moss and pine forest. We stopped at a warm sunny spot to have lunch and enjoy the rays. Continuing east to the junction of Cash Only, and through the Rose Garden, we took Dick’s Ride north to the Yellow Mud Trail. Here we found a few pink salmonberry buds about to burst open. It was a pleasant walk along Wood Duck Lake, created by the extensive beaver dam at the east end of the lake. There were ring-necked ducks and bufflehead on the lake. We continued northwest on Yellow Mud Trail through mature hemlock and Douglas fir forest and along McKercher Creek to arrive back at the vehicles. The weather was sunny with a cold north wind blowing. This loop should not be attempted without being familiar with the biking trail system and having a specialized bike trail map, since the trail names have worn off the flagging at main intersections and the trail system is extensive. 8.0 km; 3½ hours

Janis

Hiking – Reed Lake Loop – 11 Mar 2020

Trip Report – Benn Mine and Deepwater Bay – 4 Mar 2020

Ten of us explored the Deepwater Main and Creek area to a variety of destinations.  We first stopped at the old rail trestle.  Only the posts remain, but some are impressively tall and it’s a reminder of Quadra’s history.  We continued along the logging road and were surprised by the amount of snow on the road.  We probably should have been expecting  it, but the cloud on the Mt. Seymour Ridge had been so low we hadn’t noticed.  We hiked up the old logging road to the Benn Mine, which was covered in enough snow to completely change the landscape.  The sample cores and even the old car were not visible.  After taking care around the open pits, we scrambled down to view the tunnel shaft.  2.5 km; 150m elevation; 1¼ hours.

We returned to the vehicles and continued further on the active logging road covered in some patches of snow.  We hiked down the old logging road following Deepwater Creek.  The creek was as beautiful as we have ever seen it, with plenty of water flowing and deep greens in the valley.  The route is somewhat eroded, but the frequent winter deadfall had all been chain sawed, making our progress very easy. 

We had not visited the old fish hatchery since it had been sold and rehabilitated by private owners.  The area is much improved.  We are very grateful that the new owners are permitting “leave-no-trace” visitors.  It’s very generous of them.  We stopped on the shore for lunch in the sun, with great views all around of Deepwater Bay, Discovery Passage and the mouth of Deepwater Creek.  It was a lovely and varied hike.  4.8 km, 235 m elevation; 2 hours.

– Debbie

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Hiking – Benn Mine and Deepwater Bay – 4 Mar 2020

Trip Report – Drew Creek and Harbour – 26 Feb 2020

Nine of us took a stroll around the new Drew Creek loop on the We Wai Kai reserve starting at the stream renovation done by the Salmon Enhancement Society, then on to the new foot bridge put in by John Barclay and other volunteers.  We continued through the campground, which is quiet in February, and on to the memorial and beachwood shack at Paddy’s Lagoon.  There were lots of interesting things to explore along the way.  We walked back along the shore and stopped to admire Alex Witcombe’s driftwood Sasquatch sculpture. 

Five of the group continued into Rebecca Spit Marine Park, stopped for a snack and walked the trail to the end of the Spit.  It was a cold, dark day with a bit of southeast breeze, but the rain held off.  11.1 km, 3½ hours.

– Norris

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Hiking – Drew Creek and Harbour – 26 Feb 2020

Trip Report – Open Bay and Crikey Creeks – 12 Feb 2020

Ten hikers attended the two short hikes. The weather was pleasant for early February, with cloud cover, mild temperatures and no rain. We walked south along the forestry road near the bottom of the big hill on Village Bay Lakes Road (opposite the Open Bay Main turnoff). After substantial snow the week before, the road still had a couple of inches of soft snow, but not deep enough to make walking difficult. After a half hour or so (and passing several clearcuts on the uphill side of the road), we took a trail into the woods towards Open Bay Creek, and followed this undulating trail through mossy open second growth Douglas fir and hemlock forest north along Open Bay Creek (upstream). This beautiful stream sustains salmon spawning in the fall, when chum and coho migrate up from Open Bay.

The second hike began on Open Bay Main which proceeds northwest from Village Bay Lakes Road, downhill from the large gravel pit. After a hundred meters are so, we turned west into the forest and proceeded at a steady uphill climb through lovely open Douglas fir and hemlock forest. The first part of this trail has been heavily eroded after the heavy winter rains, having been improperly constructed with no switchbacks or proper water management. We avoided the slippery-looking rough bridges by easily dipping down into the creek swales. Partway up this hill, we came across ‘Road Right-of-Way’ flagging tape, indicating that this area will be bisected by a forestry road and is slated for logging, presumably in the near future. We popped out onto a narrow logging road and could see Granite Bay Road a little further west uphill. A ten-minute walk south along the road took us to a good place for lunch, with old moss-covered logs to sit on. A short distance further, near the junction of this road and Granite Bay Road, our next trail headed downhill through the same forest, but closer to Crikey Creek which is situated in a deep gully. We came across forestry cruise plots used for timber volume estimates, another indication of imminent logging. The downhill trail ended on Open Bay Main just a short distance to the south of our uphill trail. Total time was three hours, from assembly at the Heriot Bay Store parking lot and back again. 

Janis

Hiking – Open Bay and Crikey Creeks – 12 Feb 2020

Trip Report – Ucluelet-Tofino – 3-6 Feb 2020

On Monday, eight of us drove out to Ucluelet on a beautiful sunny day. The road through the mountains along Highway 4 was lovely with snow. After dropping off our gear at the vacation rental we had an afternoon walk in the remaining sun. We walked into the Pacific Rim National Park and explored Half Moon and Florencia Bays. The stairs down to the beaches are steep and there was occasional snow along the way and ice on the steps. The firm sand was great to walk on and the sunny views were great. (9.9 km; 3 h) Some of the group explored Ucluelet before dinner. We had an amazing dinner followed by a song circle. The big four bedroom house slowly warmed up with the furnace and big woodstove.

On Tuesday we went again to the National Park. We had hard, cold rain all day. It was cold comfort that it was snowing back on Quadra. We hiked to the north end of Florencia Bay and on to South Beach following the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail. The forest was beautiful, but the ice on the boardwalk was thick and extensive. It was a slow walk. We stopped for lunch on a covered walkway at the Wickaninnish Centre (which was closed). We looped back to the car along the road, taking time to explore the very interesting Bog Trail. About half the group continued on to hike the Rainforest Loop, with amazing boardwalk through old growth forest. (10.9 km; 4¼ h) We had another wonderful dinner, played games and socialized by the fire.

On Wednesday morning we were greeted by Trumpeter swans on the inlet in front of the house. The weather moderated to a warm mist. We hiked two loops along the Wild Pacific Trail at Ucluelet. We started with the lighthouse loop, enjoying the dramatic rock bluffs and waves. We stopped for lunch at the picnic area at Big Beach and then continued on to a loop further north including the Artist Loop, the Rocky Bluffs and the Ancient forest. (10.4 km; 4¾ h) These are beautifully constructed and maintained trails with exceptional views. This last night we ate out, which was memorable.

Thursday brought more rain and the return trip to Quadra was made slower by the road closure on Highway 4. We had a great group visiting an extraordinary part of the world. The weather was a challenge, but it was still beautiful and it kept down the crowds.

Debbie

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Multi-day Hiking – Ucluelet-Tofino – 3-6 Feb 2020