Hiking – Mt. Elma, Strathcona Park – 28 July 2021

This trip has been postponed

 

Activity Hiking
Destination Mt. Elma, Strathcona Park
Date 28 July, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Norris Weimer
Contact Info norris.weimer@ualberta.ca or 3710; Please contact the coordinator by Monday evening.
Description We will hike from Raven Lodge up to Battleship Lake and continue on the Forbidden Plateau trail, passing Lady Lake.  The trail up Mt. Elma is not an official, maintained trail.   The Mt. Elma summit  is 1,420m and will have good views in all directions, weather permitting.  Approximately 13 km and 420 m elevation gain.
Meeting Place QCove ferry terminal
Departure Time 8:00 ferry.
Difficulty
Moderate to challenging
Costs Ferry and fuel
Trip limits 10
Dogs? No
Notes: If you wish to car pool, please make your own arrangements in this COVID transition period.  This trip will only proceed in reasonable weather.  Rain or extreme heat will be avoided. Bring lunch and appropriate gear.

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).

(click to enlarge photos)

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

Reconnaissance Report – Snowden Forest – 6 Nov 2020

Having now hiked the Lost Lake area three times, I was really keen to check out the trails further west,  particularly “Lookout Loop” and “Enchanted Forest”.  Armed with an old Ministry of Forests “Forest Recreation” map and the more recent coloured map, I headed out with my daughter and her dog on a lovely crisp fall day. We passed the Lost Lake parking lot, and the Riley Lake parking turn-off shortly after, and using the Ministry map (the coloured map has a logo right over the relevant section) we found the turn-off to the Elmer Lake parking lot, as marked on both maps. However, though marked as an almost straight north logging road, this quickly became a network of logging roads, with no signage anywhere. The northerly route eventually turned into a narrow, unmaintained quagmire, unnavigable if we hadn’t been in my daughter’s Honda Ridgeline. Obviously, this access route would be impossible for club members. We tried a few more logging roads that quickly opened out into recent clear-cuts with signs of active logging. Most regretfully, we turned around and headed back into more familiar territory.

We turned off at the sign to the Riley Lake parking lot, a bit further west of the more popular Lost Lake parking lot. Finally on foot, we headed up the Riley Lake trail. We soon came to a map which outlined the very area that we had been trying to access, now off-limits as active road construction and logging is presently underway there. So that explained the lack of any signage. To avoid the logging, the northern stretch of Riley Lake trail is being redeveloped, it is wide and with a good dirt base, easy walking. Eventually as Riley Lake trail turned west then SW, it became a narrow trail off the developed pathway, (not signed, used our compass and common sense). We followed the narrower trail to Pepper Spray (signed) to a T-junction with Cheshire Cat. Here the signage was very confusing. The right hand branch was signed “Out” but this would lead, eventually, to the very parking lot we had tried to find earlier, and would be in the closed area. Ignoring the “Out” sign, we went SE on Cheshire Cat, which came down to a clearing off the main road. We decided to follow Cheshire Cat back north, then took Oggies right back to our truck. Altogether about 2.5 hrs without a rest stop, easy to moderate hiking through beautiful woods. The short drive to the Riley Lake parking lot is a little rough, I think the Trimac trail links the Riley Lake trail to the Lost Lake parking lot, which would be more convenient. Definitely another hike to do in the beautiful Snowden Forest.

Valerie

Reconnaissance Report – Century Sam Lake – 7 Nov 2020

Another weekend was forecast to be fabulous, so we did another short-notice hike to check out a place we had never been to.  It’s a difficult place to get to in part because the logging company keeps the access road closed most of the time.  When it is open, the gate is locked promptly at 6:00 p.m.  There is a long drive inside that gate, some of which has great views of Comox Lake and mountains along the way.  Then there is a 2 km section which has water bars (cross ditches) making it accessible for 4×4 only and then there is the hike itself.  The trail is well worn, but hardly improved, so it is slow.  And this makes it harder to do as a day-hike.  We parked before the water bars and hiked up the logging road to the trailhead.

The trail isn’t special.  It’s often muddy, rooty and slippery, there is a lot of deadfall, there is a headwall below the Lake with a few places which require a bit of scrambling (and could use a rope).  Also, for us the trail was frequently icy, and occasionally the rock had a thick coating of ice. 

The destination is quite nice.  Century Sam Lake is a glacial blue – it would be great with sunshine on it.  We were too late in the season for that.  The Lake lies in a hanging valley below Comox Glacier.  A kilometre or so beyond the lake there is an ice patch with ice caves.  Fantastic.  For us, there was a strong, cold winter wind blowing across the lake, so we did not stay long.

This has become a very popular destination in the summer, when it is green, and you can see why.  Even now, late in the season, there were lots of people there.  Our whole hike was 13.6 km, 7 hours, 568m elevation gain to 1,000m at the ice caves. For just the trail portion, it was 8.3 km, 5¾ hours, 400m altitude gain. 

Norris

Thanks to Norris, Stephen and Carrie for photos

(click on photos to enlarge)

Reconnaissance Report – Mt. Drabble – 24 Oct 2020

We had hoped to make an exploratory trip to Mt. Drabble before the snow came to Forbidden Plateau and didn’t quite make it, but we had a beautiful day.  We approached it from the Strathcona Parkway and then logging roads.   It had snowed a few inches about 24 hours before, but most of the logging roads were fine.  However, we decided to walk rather than drive up the last steep section of road.  From the the road it was easy to get onto the ridge which leads gradually up to the summit of Mt. Drabble.  The ridge quickly becomes sub-alpine with great views and many tarns.  The route was well marked so that we could follow it in the snow without being familiar with the trail.  The snow made our time a bit slower as we checked frequently to make sure we were on track.  There was one significant dip in the ridge, but mostly the walking was steady and gradual.  From the end of the ridge there are great views of Forbidden Plateau, Georgia Strait and the mainland mountains.  The reward for effort is very high on this trip.  11.8km (4 km on the road); 442m elevation gain to 1,353m; and 6 hours (1¼ hours on the road).

.Debbie

(click on photos to enlarge)

Trip Report – Elk Falls Loop – 21 Oct 2020

Eight of us hiked up the Campbell River on a beautiful, crisp fall day.  We started at the logging bridge and followed the trail on the north side along a side channel and on to the Canyon View trail.  Although we saw almost no salmon running, we soon encountered a young bear cub on this busy trail.  We avoided each other and continued to the bridge over the Canyon and on to the Millennium trail.  We had great views of Elk Falls from three different vantage points.  We stopped for lunch on sunny rocks above the falls and then continued along the river, passing some excellent old growth trees.  After Deer Falls we lingered at the pool below Moose Falls watching the eagles.  We took the most inland trail back to the Millennium trail and crossed to the south side of the river at the relatively new stairs and viewpoint at the generating station.  After admiring the new totem poles we continued back to the vehicles along the smaller trail along the river.  Apparently we walked by a mother bear and two cubs very near the Quinsam River.  We didn’t notice, but others turned back after getting between the bears.   This is a beautiful walk any time of the year, but it was particularly lovely on this late autumn day.  12.8 km; 5 hours.
Debbie

(click on photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Elk Falls Loop – 21 Oct 2020

Trip Report – Snowden Demonstration Forest – 7 Oct 2020

Eight hikers enjoyed a lovely fall day (possibly the last lovely fall day…) in the Snowden Demonstration Forest.  Starting from the Lost Lake parking lot (about 20 minutes from the ferry terminal), we walked the Lost Lake loop  – a pleasant and generally easy trail, with a good variety of fungi, lichen and moss.  After a short snack break at the picnic area (south end of the lake), we walked Mudhoney Pass, to complete the outing.  10.1 km; 3¼ hours.
 
 
The Demonstration Forest has an extensive network of biking/hiking trails, with several access points.  We took mainly level trails, but there are many with more ups and downs over rocky bluffs.  The coordinator stumbled onto one of these the next day, a black rated trail that looked, at first blush, like a shortcut….
 
Darcy 

(click on photos to enlarge)

Hiking – Snowden Demonstration Forest – 7 Oct 2020

 

Hiking – Elk Falls Loop – 21 Oct 2020

Activity Hiking
Destination Elk Falls Loop
Date 21 Oct 2020, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info 285-3710 or debbie.quigg@ualberta.ca.  Please contact the coordinator by Monday.
Description The plan is to hike the full loop beginning at the logging bridge across the Campbell River.  We will hike along the north shore of the River, across the Canyon View Bridge, along the Millennium Trail up to the Elk Falls viewing area, beyond to Moose and Deer Falls, before heading back down on the south side of the River.  We have not done this hike since the completion of the BC Hydro construction project.  About 12 km and 5 hours, if we do the full loop.
Meeting Place Q Cove Ferry terminal.  Drivers will need to be early enough to be on the ferry.
Departure Time 9:00 ferry
Difficulty
A few steep places, but mostly reasonable walking on good trails.
Costs Ferry costs
Trip limits Eight
Dogs?
Notes: Bring lunch and gear for weather. COVID protocol in effect.

Hiking – Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Park – 16 Sept 2020

This trip was cancelled due to smoke.

Activity Hiking
Destination Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Park
Date 16 Sept, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Valerie van Veen
Contact Info 250 285 2329 vvv@qisland.ca; contact coordinator by Monday evening, Sept 14
Description We will hike around Paradise Meadows … no particular destination, just fresh air and exercise, a chance to enjoy a late summer day in beautiful Strathcona, maybe some wildflowers out, maybe some blueberries still around. A lake swim an option if good weather. Bring lunch, dress for mountain weather.
Meeting Place QCove ferry terminal
Departure Time 9:00 ferry
Difficulty
Moderate
Costs Ferry and fuel
Trip limits 10
Dogs? Must be on leash in the Park
Notes: Must contact coordinator by Monday evening, Sept 14. Trip depends on weather, cancelled if rain.

Hiking – Snowden Demonstration Forest – 7 Oct 2020

This hike is FULL

Activity Hiking
Destination Snowden Demonstration Forest
Date 7 Oct, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Darcy Mitchell
Contact Info mitchelldarcy51@gmail.com (preferred)  or 250 923 5540. Please let the coordinator know that you are coming on the hike no later than Monday, October 5.
Description Day hike in Snowden Demonstration Forest, north of Campbell River. Several trail options are available; we will likely take a loop trail of about 2 – 2.5 hours duration.
Meeting Place Ferry lineup Q. Cove (Hike starts at Lost Lake parking lot )
Departure Time 9:00 a.m. ferry for 9:45 departure at Snowden
Difficulty
Easy
Costs Ferry
Trip limits 6
Dogs? No
Notes: If people are comfortable with car pooling (masks, sanitizer, passengers in back seat), the coordinator can pick up 2 passengers at the Campbell River ferry terminal.