Hiking – Hopespring/Homewood Loop – 24 May 2017

Activity Hiking
Destination Hopespring/Homewood Loop
Date 24 May 2017, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Janis McLean
Contact Info 285-3614; please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip.
Description Begins on Hopespring trail, then south on Heriot Ridge, stopping at the new communications tower and carrying on south to High Bluff. From there we follow east High Bluff trail to Homewood Bluff, then drop off the southwest side of the bluff to follow Gowlland trail back to the west High Bluff trail. Then north across a ridge route to Hopespring trail and back to the vehicles.  About 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Meeting Place Hopespring Trailhead on Hopespring Rd.
Departure Time 9:00
easy to moderate
Costs none
Trip limits 10
Dogs? yes
Notes: Bring lunch and appropriate gear.


Natural History – Caving near Sayward – 31 May 2017

Activity Natural History – Caving
Destination East Memekay Caves
Date 31 May 2017, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Cyndy Chidley
Contact Info Cyndy Chidley: 250-285-3575
Bill West-Sells: 1-778-860-3131
Description Introductory caving (with some challenges) on north Vancouver Island.  Challenges include bridging, climbing, stretching, wriggling.
Meeting Place Q Cove ferry terminal in time for the 8:00 am ferry
Departure Time 8:00 am ferry to Campbell River
First cave “Chicken II” – easy; second cave “Scallop Falls” – moderate.
Costs Ferry and shared gas
Trip limits 12
Dogs? Possible; check on carpooling
Wear rubber boots or runners that you don’t mind getting wet. Bring coveralls, a helmet that you are able to fit with head light and a head light, if you can get one.  Bill has some extras that he will bring.  Flexible gloves, if you have them. A change of shoes and socks. A lunch.  Not essential, but whoever has a walkie talkie, or VHF radio, please bring it with charged batteries.  The more we have of these the better.

Trip Report – Qualicum Area Birdwatching – 12 Apr 2017

A small group of us set out with low expectations, under heavy grey skies, to look for migrating geese. We were in quest of Brant, a beautiful small goose that makes a stop-over in this area to re-fuel on the trip north. We started our exploration at Rathtrevor Beach, just south of Parksville and had several other sites located in case we had to search the length of the estuary area to find groups of Brant. But as soon as we walked over to the edge of the sand we were delighted to see large numbers of these elegant black and white geese strung along the waterline. Among them were a number of shorebirds – Black Turnstones and Black-bellied Plovers. We walked out along the sand as far as we dared without disturbing the birds, set up the spotting scope, and enjoyed the show.

As we had a closer look, we realized that there was a lot of activity offshore as well. A bunch of immense sea lions were splashing and interacting just beyond the Brant, and we spotted a group of porpoise swimming by. Beyond all that were large rafts of Scoters and the occasional loon. There was a feeling of excitement in the air as all these critters were energetically feeding and organizing themselves for the next leg on the push northward to breed.

After taking in our fill at this location, we moved to the forested area on the other side of Englishman River to see what we could turn up there. The forest was beautiful, but there was not a lot of bird activity. We did spot large numbers of Swallows (Bank, we presumed) zooming about along the river. It’s always nice to see these birds in good numbers, knowing that their populations are struggling worldwide.

After a warm-up lunch in a pub in Parksville and we made a final stop inland at Hamilton Marsh near Coombs. A short walk took us to a large open wetland area with a dock extending into the water. We spotted many Canada Geese, Buffleheads, Red-winged Blackbirds and lots of Tree Swallows swooping about.

Altogether, our bird list for the day totaled 37 species:
American Robin
Northwest Crow
Bald Eagle
Brant Goose
Black Turnstone
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
White-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Black Oystercatcher
White Winged Scoter
Surf Scoter
Common loon
Eared Grebe
Black-bellied Plover
Mew Gull
Thayer’s Gull
California Gull
Pine Siskin
Dark-eyed Junco
Spotted Towhee
Wilsons Warbler
Red-breasted Merganser
Belted Kingfisher
Common Raven
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Savannah Sparrow
Bank Swallow
Pacific Wren
Red-winged Blackbird
Tree Swallow
Brown Creeper
Great Blue Heron
House Finch


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Thanks to Kathryn and Norris for the photos

Bird Watching – Qualicum Shoreline – 29 Mar 2017

Trip Report – Karst Formations – 5 April 2017

Eleven of us took advantage of a break in the rainy weather to visit some of the Karst features on Quadra Island: sink holes, insurgences, resurgences, caves, and grikes – holes in the limestone surface which connect to the underworld.  Thanks to the recent rains there was plenty of water coming and going.  We also visited a horizontal mine shaft.  We don’t know what they were mining, but they made an impressive tunnel to explore.  Thanks to James and Carley, young geologists, for their interpretation and commentary on what we were viewing.


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Natural History – Karst Formations – 5 April 2017

Hiking – Campbell River Loop – 26 April 2017

Activity Hiking
Destination Campbell River Loop
Date 26 April 2017, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Debbie Quigg
Contact Info 285-3710 or debbie.quigg@ualberta.ca.  Please contact the coordinator in advance of the trip in order to arrange carpools.
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 (hopefully there will still be some trillium and fawn lilies in bloom), across the Canyon View Bridge, up to the Elk Falls viewing area, Moose and Deer Falls, before heading back down on the south side of the River.  This will depend on weather and construction.  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
A few steep places, but mostly reasonable walking on good trails.
Costs Shared ferry costs
Trip limits None
Notes: Bring lunch and gear for weather.

Snow – Mt Washington – 19 April 2017

This trip has been cancelled

Activity Snow
Destination Mt. Washington
Date 19 April 2017, Wednesday
Trip Coordinator Norris Weimer
Contact Info Please contact the coordinator at norris.weimer@ualberta.ca or 3710 by Sunday night so that car pools can be arranged.
Description This will be a late season snowshoe trip to Mt. Washington.  The snow is likely to be very wet.  The ski resort will be closed, so one possibility is to snowshoe to the top of the mountain.  We can modify this for the weather and the group.
Meeting Place Quadra ferry terminal to Campbell River.  Car pools should be arranged in advance.
Departure Time 9:00 ferry to Campbell River.  Those taking cars need to be early enough to get on the 9:00 ferry.
Costs Ferry and shared fuel.
Trip limits Availability of cars going up to Mt. Washington.
Dogs? No
Notes: Bring equipment, warm clothing and lunch. Maybe sun lotion, if we’re lucky.


Trip Report – Thompson-B&B Trail Loop – 15 Mar 2017

Six hikers and two dogs, Joe and Luna, enjoyed a three and a half hour hike on a loop which was new to most of the group. The weather was cloudy and mild with no rain. Starting at the Thompson trailhead, we hiked to the first viewpoint and proceeded on a route north down the ridge, dropped off the ridge at the big moss-covered maple tree and continued on a route through the forest to the old B&B trail. We turned up the B&B trail, hiking along the pretty bedrock stream as far as the logging road crossing. The group walked down this road towards North Gowlland Harbour Road. We saw one rough-skinned newt on the road, and more in the water-filled quarry. Not far past the quarry we turned south on a fairly new bike trail leading towards Rousseau Ridge. After climbing the ridge, we took a break to enjoy the view and have lunch. Our return route followed the Gowlland Harbour trail, then the Thompson trail back to the vehicles.


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Thanks to Stephen for the photos.

Hiking – Thompson & B&B Trails Loop – 15 Mar 2017