Trip Report – Forbidden Plateau – 21 Sept 2022

Four enthusiastic hikers enjoyed an absolutely perfect Fall Equinox Day as we hiked in Paradise Meadows/Forbidden Plateau. Our ultimate destination was Kwai Lake, via the circle route through Paradise Meadows and past Lake Helen Mackenzie. Taking the 8 am ferry, we were on the trail by 9:20 am.

We enjoyed a pleasant break at Lake Helen Mackenzie with stunningly beautiful reflections of the surrounding hills.  Debbie had wisely suggested we go counter-clockwise, as we always seem to go clockwise when hiking in this area. Even though this meant going uphill on the dreaded “Helen Mackenzie headwall”, it was still better than stumbling down the steep, rooty, eroded trail at the end of a long hike.

We were not the only ones enjoying the early autumn sunshine, as the number of cars in the parking lot attested. We encountered several backpackers on their way out, two school groups camping in the backcountry group camps, and many day-hikers like ourselves.  At Kwai Lake we found a quiet grassy area on the southwest shore for lunch, away from a large school group taking their break on the rocky outcropping on the opposite shore.  After lunch, we completed the circle, passing Croteau, Lady, Kooso and Battleship Lakes. Some sections of this circle route are boardwalk, protecting wetlands and tree roots, the rest varies from pleasant forest paths to very eroded, rooty trails.  About 6½ hours, approximately 17 km.

Valerie van Veen

Thanks to Valerie and Norris for the photos

(click on photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Strathcona Park – 21 Sept 2022

Trip Report – QCove to Smiths Rd – 15 Sept 2022

With just a few days remaining of summer ’22, seven kayaks set out from Quathiaski Cove to complete a “Round the Cape” adventure. With the help of non-paddling spouses, we managed the shuttling of vehicles between Q-Cove and the Shore Access at the end of Smiths Road that made it possible to do this trip.

By 8:50 we were on the water just as the ferry was docking – one less thing to worry about. Weather, tides and currents were all in our favour as we rounded Whiskey Point and headed south to Cape Mudge. We passed by the Village and the campground and then rounded the Cape. The often turbulent waters were very calm, due to our timing, and we headed into the boulder strewn shallows of the south shoreline.  By this time we were looking for a reasonable place to pull out for a “rest” and stretch. A cobbly beach was the best we could do.

We were treated to a good showing of sea birds throughout the trip and numerous seals and sea lions and/or dolphins quite a ways offshore. No doubt they were after salmon which were seen jumping near our kayaks.

The rest stop ended up being a little longer and some snacked enough that we put off our lunch stop until the takeout. Back on the water and the sun appeared, warming things up even more as we cruised northward from Francisco Pt to our destination at Smiths Road. Once ashore, lunch and beverages were enjoyed on the beach.

List of bird sightings – at least two dozen Common Loons (very vocal), many Harlequin ducks, Common Mergansers, Bonaparte’s, Glaucous-winged, and Mew Gulls, Cormorants, Great Blue Heron, geese, Bald Eagles, Vultures, Horned Grebes,

About 3.5 hours of paddling; Distance – 15.3 km

Vic Gladish

Thanks to Jan and Norris for the photos

(click on photos to enlarge)

Kayaking – QCove to Smiths Rd – 15 Sept 2022

Trip Report – Alternate Chinese Mountain Loop – 24 Aug 2022

It was forecast to be another scorching hot day, so we moved the start time an hour earlier.  Instead of taking the usual hiking trail up South Chinese Mountain, the four of us took a climbers’ path, which goes steeply up to the base of the rock wall.  From there the path is less steep and goes up a swale between the south peak and a minor southeast bluff.  We took a side trail which goes up that bluff for excellent viewpoints, a rest and a snack.  We continued on the path back down to meet the main trail at the “mud hole”.  Coming back down the regular trail we took the new “scenic route” trail which avoids a badly eroded section of the original trail.  Then we took another scenic route, which avoids another part of the main trail which is more stream bed than trail.  The second scenic section is not marked or flagged, but it is a very nice alternative route.  It rejoins the main south bluff trail near a viewpoint.   3.4 km; 2½ hours; 220 m elevation gain.

Norris
 

(click on photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Alternate Chinese Mtn Loop – 24 Aug 2022

Reconnaissance Report – Victoria Peak Ridge – 20 Aug 2022

We did this hike on impulse after the destination we had wanted was unavailable due to a locked gate on a logging road.  From Quadra it’s quite long as a day trip.  The drive from Campbell River was nearly 6 hours round trip.  And it was a very hot day.  Normally this is a route for climbers on their way to Victoria Peak, but we were after a hike to the sub-alpine with good views.  Forty-eight kilometres out from Sayward, we turned onto W79, which is signed as the road to Victoria Peak. This road is in decent condition and winds its way up fairly steeply.  There were 16 cross ditches, none of which were impossible, but it was very slow going.  After a while we decided to walk, but we could have driven another 2½ kilometres.  From the trailhead to the ridge it’s short, but quite steep.  A typical climbing access route, the path to the ridge rises 213 m over 713 m, for about a 30% incline.

Wandering along the sub-alpine ridge is very pleasant.  It continues up for a bit more than a kilometre until the ridge is quite level and more distant views are revealed.  There was significant heat haze, making it tricky to see Quadra from the ridge and there was forest fire smoke to the west from lightening strikes the night before in the Nimpkish Valley.

After lunch and a bit of exploring on the ridge, we headed back down, going quite slowly in the heat.  ( 8.6 km; 658 m elevation gain)  Once back on the logging road toward Sayward, we stopped at the White River Provincial Park to walk through the old growth grove to the White River.

Debbie

(click on photos to enlarge)

Trip Report – Kanish Bay Paddle – 17 Aug 2022

Six paddlers got an early start – 9:15 – from the Granite Bay boat launch on a beautiful summer day, with the forecasted northwesterly looking very manageable. Taking a counter clockwise route this time we headed to Orchard Bay for a quick pit stop and a stretch. We headed along the north side of Kanish Bay for a couple of kilometers and then decided it was time to head across to the Chained Islands in case the wind got any stronger. We encountered some chop coming nearly broadside and then some interesting waves as we got close to the second last island. Circling this island we arrived at the campsite in a sheltered bay and had a leisurely lunch in the shade. As the day was getting much warmer a couple of us attempted a swim in the very chilly water.

Getting back on the water we cruised in the shelter of the islands along the south side of Kanish Bay. Several salmon were spotted jumping and a flock of mergansers were working hard to keep ahead of us. With the day getting much hotter it was a good time to head to the take out and go in search of cold beverages.  12.0 km; 4 hours.

Vic Gladish

(click on photos to enlarge)

Kayaking – Granite Bay and Beyond – 17 Aug 2022

Trip Report – Mt. Drabble – 12 Aug 2022

Five of us hiked to the top of  Mt. Drabble (1,363 m).  We caught an early ferry and drove to the turn off near Ramparts Hill chain-up area on the way to Mt. Washington.  That gives access to the Murex Main logging road (no signs) which was in good condition.  We met a wide-track excavator working on the road and ditches, who kindly moved to the side to let us by.  We parked where the road starts to get really steep and eroded.  Theoretically you could drive 1.9 km further (and 210 m elevation gain) to the trailhead, but we walked.  The trail is well established, with flagging, reflectors and cairns.  It ascends the rocky, sub-alpine ridge and passes a number of ponds.  Lovely to look at, but not appealing for swimming.

The views of the Strathcona Park mountains were great.  There are also views back over Georgia Strait/Salish Sea; we could make out Quadra in the haze.  We reached the summit by 11:00 and stopped for lunch.  Brent set up his radio and antenna and made a contact.  It’s a very enjoyable hike over this long, undulating ridge.  The hardest part was walking down the steep logging road with loose gravel.  Altogether it was 11.7 km, 5½ hours, 450 m elevation gain (from bottom to top), but more overall with the undulations.

Norris

(click on photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Mt. Drabble – 12 Aug 2022

Trip Report – Happy Hour to Morte Lake – 7 Aug 2022

A few of us made the very short walk up the old logging access to Morte Lake in the late afternoon for the Club’s first ever “happy hour hike.” This area is now protected as part of the Quadra Conservancy Land.  The weather was warm, sunny and breezy.  Recognizing that the social aspect of this event was more important than the exercise, we brought our folding chairs, and whatever drink and appie we wanted.  Sitting on the shore, we relaxed, caught up on recent events, and some swam in the lake.  It being a warm Sunday afternoon, a few others stopped by to swim or to return via paddle board.  Everyone was very cheerful and friendly.  We didn’t stay long, but had a good time.

Debbie

DSCN3382

Happy Hour Hike – Morte Lake– 7 Aug 2022

Trip Report – Chauntaluf Farm to Open Bay – 28 July 2022

Four of us started fairly early to avoid the hottest part of the afternoon.  We strolled through the Chauntaluf farm taking time to appreciate the setting, views, animals and trees.  We then followed their Open Bay Rd over to Kolker Main.  We were met by Marianne who accompanied us down the private road to her home on Open Bay. As we had not met Marianne before, we took time to get acquainted before having lunch in the shade at the beach.  It was a very low tide and we walked on the sand to the shore and to Open Bay Creek before heading back.  It was warm ascending the road before we crossed back into the forest of Chauntaluf Farm.  We stopped at the pond for a cool swim before returning to the car.  This outing involved visits to two private properties and we are very appreciative for the invitations from Heather and Marianne.   7.4 km; 4 hours

Debbie
 

(click on photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Chauntaluf Farm to Open Bay– 28 July 2022

Trip Report – Manzanita Bluff – 27 July 2022

Six of us set out for Manzanita Bluff on one of the hottest days of the year, so far – about 34° C.  The view at the top is worth it, and the hike up is in the shade of an open forest with some fine Douglas fir trees.  We hiked up the 250 metres in 1½ hours and had lunch enjoying the great view from the bluff.  We descended quickly and took the side trip to Darkwater Lake for a well deserved swim in this excellent lake.  5.3 km; 4¼ hours

Norris
 

(click on photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Manzanita Bluff – 27 July 2022

Trip Report – Eagle Ridge and Blindman’s Bluff – 6 July 2022

Our small group parked off of Copperhead logging road, now that the culvert has been replaced.  We descended to the wetlands before meandering up through the forest and bluffs to Eagle Ridge.  The day was overcast and humid, after a few days of heavy rain.  Just before we reached the high point of the ridge a Night Hawk flew across the trail onto the bluff and then into a tree.  We assumed that this was to divert us away from a ground nest and moved on to the high viewpoint.  After a brief stop on the ridge we returned the same way and noticed that there was a single egg alarmingly close to the trail.  Our second destination was Blindman’s Bluff on the hill to the south of Eagle Ridge.  Both of these are excellent walks with lots of variety and views.  We stopped for lunch at the main viewpoint overlooking Gowlland Harbour and Discovery Passage before heading back.  5.7 km; 3½ hours

Debbie
 
Thanks to Carrie and Norris for the photos.
 

(click on photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Eagle Ridge and blindman’s Bluff – 6 July 2022