Trip Report – Texada Island – 7-11 Sept 2021

What originally was planned as a kayak trip to Jedediah Island morphed into a trip to Texada Island, mostly to hike. Four of us took three ferries the day after Labour Day to reach Shingle Beach on a beautiful afternoon.  We settled in to the spacious campsites at the Forestry Recreation Site and enjoyed walking and relaxing on the beach. The beach walk south lead to an old homestead and a cabin in ruins. (3.2 km; 1¼ hours)  We watched the sunset from the bluffs.

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On Wednesday morning we kayaked south from Shingle Beach in steadily increasing southeast wind. We had no fixed destination and returned to the beach as the white caps pushed us home. (5.7 km; 1½ hours)  In the afternoon, we drove to Shelter Point and walked the gentle Kay Garner nature walk. This trail loops first along a shore bluff on Mouat Bay and then through the forest. The ocean views and old growth were excellent. (3.8 km; 1 hour)  After dinner we again enjoyed the sunset from bluffs at the campground.

After some night rain, Thursday was mostly overcast. We hiked up to the Mt. Pocahontas summit at 462m, which was the site of Canada’s first fire lookout in 1924. This fairly short hike is rewarded with excellent views of Malaspina Inlet and mainland mountains to the east, and Lesqueti, Georgia Strait and Vancouver Island to the west. Part of the group continued on to other nearby viewpoints (7.9 km; 3¼ hours) while others went to Emily Lake to look for turtles, which are common on Texada.  Everyone browsed through Van Anda and some stopped at beaches on Gillies and Davie Bays on the way back to the campsite.  Just above the Shingle Beach campsite, we hiked the short, rambling Colossus Grove trail with an exceptional old growth cedar tree (0.9km).

On Friday, we drove uphill on good-condition logging roads to Bob’s Lake, another Forestry Recreation site with camping.  The lake was beautiful, quiet and very inviting as a camping destination.  Nearby, we hiked up to Mt. Davies with the summit at 609m.  This hike was even shorter than the Mt. Pocahontas hike and mostly through a beautiful, mossy forest with completely open understory.  After enjoying the 360° views during lunch, we hiked on looking for the viewpoint from Mt. Blood.  We underestimated the number of routes flagged with identical flagging tape in the area and some ended up elsewhere, but all had great views.  Some of us swam in Bob’s Lake before returning to the campground for dinner. (5.5km; 3¼ hours)

Three of us were able to linger for a hike on Saturday before returning home.  It was quite windy and lightly raining. We headed to the north end of Texada and hiked in the Eagle Cove Trail system. We made a loop which included a gnome village, some hard walking on rocky, mossy terrain along circuitous trails, dramatic bluffs above wetlands and really impressive bluffs along the Malaspina Inlet shore.

We enjoyed Texada much more than we expected with its amazing variety and beauty, and felt we could have spent much longer exploring trails, lakes, beaches and logging roads.  We hope to go back.

Debbie

Thanks to Norris and Vikki for the photos

Trip Report – Village Bay Beach – 18 July 2021

Four of us set off on an almost perfect paddling day from the Rebecca Spit boat launch. While this is a very easy launch, regardless of tides, it does have its challenges regarding motor boat use, which was constant, and negotiating the ferry crossing both ways. However, we were off to an early start, on the water by 9:40. In calm seas and no wind, we enjoyed a leisurely paddle to the Breton Islets, taking the opportunity to survey intertidal damage from the recent heat dome event. Dead mussels were all too apparent, and the tide level did not allow for easy observations of the presence or absence of sea stars or other intertidal life. The usual oystercatchers were nowhere to be seen. The resident seal colony seemed content, and it was nice to see that they no longer flee their perches in panic as kayaks approach.

We continued on to Moulds Bay, enjoying a short break on the beach. The old oyster lease seems to have been relinquished and the Clay Cabin has been restored. The rising tide allowed us to scoot through the Shellaligan passage, then past the Shellaligan rocks and on to Village Bay where we stopped for lunch. Content with our paddle so far, we opted to return via the same route to the Spit.

On the way, we stopped to admire the amazing geological formations at the south end of Valdes Beach which include a lava tunnel. This unique feature alone is well worth the paddle to this area.

We waited briefly for the ferry to pass in front of us, returning to Rebecca Spit by 3 pm.  18.0 km; 5¾ hours.

Valerie

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Kayaking – Village Bay Beach -18 July 2021

Trip Report – Nugedzi Lakes- 21 July 2021

A small group of three got to enjoy the hike on the familiar route to Nugedzi lake with the not so obvious cairn indicator showing us the way up the trail. We added a few more rocks to the cairn on the way back from a wonderful lunch by a lake. As it was cooler than days past no one felt the urge to swim and we were back in good time. Huckleberries were plentiful but there were few signs of wildlife except for the lone grouse.

Neil

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Hiking – Nugedzi Lakes and Views – 21 July 2021

 

Trip Report – Shellaligan Pass Trail- 7 July 2021

We started the larger Shellaligan loop trail around 9:30 from the end closest to Valdez road in order to time our lunch later on the rock outcrop overlooking the ocean.   This is a beautiful hike through big forest and ferns and then along the ocean front with expansive views.  Just past the unique tree with all the uniform holes that circle its circumference we could see a portion of new dock at the old oyster farm where people were working.  We had the benefit of watching hump backs during lunch.  The hike was leisurely and with lunch was close to 3 1/2 hours.

Vikki

Thanks to Vikki for the photos
 

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Hiking – Shellaligan Pass Trail – 7 July 2021

 

Trip Report – Main Lake & Yeatman Bay – 30 June 2021

This hike was all within Main Lake Provincial Park on an old trail that has recently been restored by Quadra Trail Committee volunteers. Eight of us drove to a pull-out on the Surge Narrows Road (identified by a cell-reception sign) and started hiking at 10:00. Even though the temperature was lower than previous days, it was still hot even in the shade of the forest.

The trail descends steadily, first through ferns with occasional muddy spots and we arrived at Main Lake where we stopped for a snack before carrying on to Yeatman Bay on Okisollo Channel. No one braved an ocean swim, but as soon as we got back to Main Lake several hikers jumped in for a refreshing dip. After lunch at the lake, we hiked back to the cars.

Walking time: 3 hours    total trip time: 4.5 hours    distance 10 km

Diana

Thanks to Diana and Norris for the photos
 

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Hiking – Main Lake and Yeatman Bay from Surge Narrow Rd – 30 June 2021

 

Trip Report – Stramberg Creek & North Grove – 23 June 2021

Eight of us hiked north on the old Little Main Lake logging road. This trail has received lots of maintenance this spring which was much appreciated.  The old, grassy, undulating road led us to Stramberg Creek which we crossed without difficulty.  From there the route is a narrow, flagged trail, but still quite well used and easy to follow.  The path meanders through the forest past an impressive old Douglas fir, crosses a wetland before gradually ascending a glade with many old Douglas firs.  We stopped here for lunch before heading back.  It was a hot, humid day and we were happy to swim in Stramberg Lake from the swim rock before heading home.   9.3 km; 4½ hours.

Debbie
 

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Hiking – Stramberg Creek and North Grove – 23 June 2021

 

 

Trip Report – Strathcona Park-Ralph River – 15-18 June 2021

When the kayak trip to Bligh Island unraveled, the remnants of that trip booked into the Ralph River campground at the last minute.  This was not a carefully scripted trip; we mostly made it up as we went along.

Day 1 – After a late start and a ferry overload wait, we arrived at 3:00 at the campground, set up the tent amongst the amazing old growth trees in the Ralph River campground, and left to begin hiking at 4:00.  Given the time available, we explored some of the trailheads in that area: the Auger Point Traverse (steep), Shepherd Creek route (impressive canyon), Flower Ridge, and Price Creek (river views, then follows an old level road for a while).

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Day 2 – We hiked up the Buttle Bluffs and Park Main logging roads from the Western Mine road.  These are steep, gated roads surrounded by clear-cuts, but they provide excellent views and a rapid approach to higher elevation destinations.  The spring flowers were still quite good, the geology was fascinating, and there is an excellent water falls at 5 km.  The views of the Buttle Lake valley are really exceptional.  We continued about 7.5 km and 840 meters elevation gain, until we crossed a high point in the road and could see into the next valley surrounded by high mountains.

Day 3 –  We planned to kayak on Jim Mitchell Lake, but that didn’t work out because the condition of the Jim Mitchell Road changes from 2-wheel drive to 4-wheel drive at the Bedwell trailhead.  We didn’t have the right vehicles, so we walked up the road to see the Lake.  We returned part way down the road and then followed the Bedwell Trail out through a beautiful old forest to Thelwood Creek and the suspension bridge for lunch.  After lunch we drove just a bit further and walked the short approach to Lower Myra Falls.  This is always a beautiful falls, with great rock ledges and pools.  There was lots of water coming through the falls with the spring run-off.  The final short hike of the day was the Shepherd Creek loop, which leaves from the Ralph River bridge.  This short trail has a lot of variety with the river, some big trees, a mossy bluff, a wetland, and interesting saprophytes and fungus.  We still had time to explore the campground which is nestled in a beautiful forest between the Ralph River and Buttle Lake with lots of shoreline and views.  There were other folks from Quadra so the evenings were very social.

Day 4 –  We packed up the camping gear and drove to the Buttle Lake boat launch to kayak on the Lake.  We crossed to Rainbow Island in a freshening breeze.  At the moment it’s not an island because the water level in Buttle Lake is quite low.  We paddled to the south, sheltered side, explored a bit and had lunch.  There was a racing shell boat practicing in the lake.  After lunch we poked around some cliffs and an island to the south before returning to the boat launch.  Further exploration would be great, but more water and less wind would have been ideal.

This is an exceptionally beautiful area with access to amazing hiking at the Lake level or in the surrounding mountains.  The combination of the fjord-like lakes, the mature forests and the numerous mountains makes this a wonderful base for hiking and boating.

Debbie

Trip Report – Morte Lake Loop – 9 June 2021

The hike around Morte Lake is a familiar classic to many of us. There have been lots of changes in the past two years so this hike gave us an opportunity to experience some of those changes. Volunteers have been busy creating alternatives to trail sections that were wet or seriously eroded.

In spite of grizzly bear sightings and a rainy weather forecast, seven of us met at the Morte Lake parking lot and set off under sunny skies. We hiked counter clockwise, stopping for a snack on a bluff overlooking the lake. It started to rain lightly as we ate our lunch at the sandy beach on the south end. We returned to the parking via lower Deadfish Trail. It was a great to spend the day hiking and chatting with new people after so many months of isolation.

4 hours total (with snack & lunch stops) 9.5 km

Diana
 
Thanks to Diana and Norris for the photos
 

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Hiking – Morte Lake Loop – 9 June 2021

 

Trip Report – South Heriot Ridge Loop – 2 June 2021

This  was the first Club outing since Dr. Bonnie Henry re-opened adult outdoor sports in British Columbia.  It was great to go out with a group again.  The six of us first talked a bit about work that has been done documenting the geology, plants, animals and Indigenous history in this area.  We started out on the Homewood Camp trails leading to the first and most easterly bluff with views to the south and east.  We descended and continued on to Homewood Bluff for more views.  After a brief section off-trail we followed a forest trail leading to a short, steep ascent and High Bluff.  We stopped for lunch, then descended and made our way westerly across open mossy bluffs below the Citadel.  We climbed up a line to the plateau on the Citadel and visited the emergency communications tower with entirely different views to the northeast.  It was quite warm and humid, so we vegged out a bit on the helipad before continuing along the ridge and joining the Hopespring trail.  This trail led us to North Gowland Trail and then the Isle of 19 old growth Douglas firs.  We admired these survivors of the 1925 fire before crossing the small bridge, and again out onto mossy bluffs.  We followed a good line down to a forested logging road, where a Barred Owl sang to us, and a then short trail section leading back to North Gowlland Trail.  From there we walked east back to the vehicles.  7.7 km; 4¼ hours.

Debbie
 

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Hiking – Homewood and N Gowlland Trails – 2 June 2021

 

Trip Report – Cortes Island – May 2021

Day 1 – With Dr. Bonnie Henry’s encouragement to go camping locally, we stayed three nights and four days on Cortes Island, using the Smelt Bay campground as our base. After taking the ferry on Monday to Cortes, setting up camp and after having a sunny, relaxed lunch on the beach at Smelt Bay, we went to Manson’s Lagoon at a very low tide so that we could walk to the little island and explore the intertidal zone. (1.5 km; 1 hour)  After that we hiked to Easter Bluff, a short walk rewarded with excellent views to the south and east. (2.3 km; 2 hours)

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Day 2 – The night was quite cold, but we warmed up hiking up to the summit of Green Mountain, the highest point on Cortes Island, but still a very accessible trip. The loop around the top provided great views in most directions. (4.3 km; 2 hours)  In the afternoon, one couple kayaked on Hague and Gunflint Lakes, while the rest of us kayaked from the Whaletown government dock out to Shark Spit, once again at a very low tide. The launch down the steep ramp was quite extreme.  We walked around the Spit before portaging the boats over the spit and exploring the islets and coast around Uganda Passage.  (9 km; 2.5 hours)

Day 3 –  Rain was forecast overnight and into Wednesday, but we really only had drizzle overnight and it was dry by morning. Still, for breakfast we took advantage of the beautiful picnic shelter at the Smelt Bay campsite, with its timber-framed structure, wood stove and picnic tables. We then set out for the long loops at Kw’as Regional Park. Starting near the Cortes Motel, we hiked the eastern side Millennium Trail out to the Swim Rock for lunch. We followed along the Rock Face trail on the Hague Lake shore and visited the amazing Survivor Fir before crossing the narrows and hiking the loop out to the bench on the Pierre de Trail. Returning by the Cedar Ridge, we re-crossed the narrows and followed the Gunflint Lake shoreline stopping at the old steam donkey and then back to the cars. (12.4 km; 5.75 hours)

Day 4 –  Wednesday night was cool and windy, but Thursday turned into a lovely day. A few headed back on an early ferry (which it turned out didn’t run until 3:50), while the rest of us hiked in the morning at Hank’s beach, catching the low tide, sunny facing shore and great views. We rambled over the rocky bluffs and explored some tidal pools.  (3.2 km; 1.25 hours)  We then headed over to Squirrel Cove for lunch on the beach. We carried the kayaks a long way to the water and paddled into the protected anchorage, through the islands, enjoying the intertidal life. We were happy to see that the purple sea stars are returning very well. We stopped at the creek into the Squirrel Cove lagoon and walked across to the lagoon. In addition to the excellent intertidal life, there were duck and chicks in the lagoon. (7.7 km; 2.25 hours)  After ice cream from the Squirrel Cove store, most of us took the last ferry home.

There is so much to see and do on Cortes and we packed a lot into four days. The weather was kind to us, the low tides fascinating, and the spring growth lovely. We are so fortunate to have this nearby.

Debbie

Thanks to Norris and Bonnie for the photos