Monthly Archives: July 2008

Cape Scott 31/07/08

Carollyne at Cape Scott:
“Charlie, Curt, Lucy, Ribeka and I caught the 8:30 am ferry to Nanaimo for a rainy drive and dinner at The Scarlet Ibis in Holberg, before beginning the muddy trek to Eric Lake at 7:30 pm. It was hard to imagine what a `muddy trail’ meant before Cape Scott, but we were all glad we brought gaiters. Fortunately, Thursday night saw the last of the rain. Friday, we hiked out on the waterlogged, but lovely forest trail ­ giant spruce, stunted pines moss, ferns and the largest skunk cabbage I’ve ever seen – over boardwalks, bridges and mud to Nels Bight beach in bright sunshine, quickly throwing off our boots for a run into the ocean. Amy, another Wanderunger and a friend were there to greet us. That evening we sighted 3 grey whales blowing and fluking for several hours before having our first amazing 3-course dinner and sharing Amy’s campfire. We had heavy packs, but great food. Saturday, we day hiked to Experiment Bay, Guise Bay and the lighthouse, enjoying brilliant sunshine, stunning beaches, end of the earth views and interesting chats with the lighthouse keeper before another evening of whale sightings. Sunday, we were relieved to have a somewhat drier trail for the 18 km trek to San Josef Bay. While on the trail, the writer lept over a mudhole a little too recklessly, resulting in a full body and face plant in the mud with Curt at a full run in rescue. Luckily, a good laugh was the only consequence. Monday, some of us enjoyed San Josef Bay’s beaches, sea stacks and heat while others hiked to the cold chill and clouds of Mt. St. Patrick. Another starry sky, a great dinner and campfire filled our last night at Cape Scott. Everyone contributed cheer, great conversation and teamwork to make this a fantastic trip. Curt gets special thanks for helping get our packs on our backs and all the driving too. Sorry that Daniel was held up at work at the last minute so couldn’t make the trip.”


Southern Chilcotins 29/07/08

Chris on Slim/Gun/Taseko in the Southern Chilcotins:
“Dean had to drop out so that left just Cara and I for a week in a quiet corner of the Southern Chilcotins. The Hurley road was in great condition earlier this year but is deteriorating – still drivable at speed but bumpy, pot-holey and washboardy. Slim Creek FSR was great until Jewel Bridge but only OK 2wd after that until the blocked bridge at 28.5km. An hour of walking took us to the end of the road and the start of the very wet trail (no way to keep your feet dry on this one). Soon we left the trail and spent the rest of the trip off-trail wandering the alpine or bushwhacking for days. Despite less-than-stellar weather (rain/hail/snow every alternate day), a scaled-back itinerary (20km of off-trail travel a day is insane) and a tent fly that was a sheet of ice on the last morning, we had an amazing time. No bears or wolves (there were plenty around given the number of prints we found) but we did have close encounters with a bull moose and a porcupine. We found 40 year old mineral claim posts and animal bones, gazed down on massive glaciers, glissaded snow slopes, forded icy streams, strolled meadows that extended forever and saw no-one (except the helicopter pilot who buzzed us one morning). Days of rain followed by a beautiful sunny day resulted in a hatch of mosquitoes of biblical proportions which turned our bushwhack back to the trail on the last day an epic of endurance. It’s a beautiful place and I’m already planning a trip (or 2) back.”

Pender Island 27/07/08

Markus cycling on Pender Island:
“Five of us enjoyed a beautiful sunny day on Pender Island. It was hillier than I remember it and the quaint pub and marina at Poets Cove is now a resort and spa. We still enjoyed a nice patio lunch and then spent some time exploring the island. We ended up taking the evening ferry back and enjoyed a beautiful sunset while on the trip back to Tsawwassen. A good time was had by all.”

Lunch at Poet's Cove

Sproatt Mountain 26/07/08

Chris on Sproatt Mountain:
“Adam, Cara, Dean and I spent the weekend avoiding the Pemberton crowds on the edge of Whistler. The Sea-to-Sky was quieter than usual as we headed up and we were the only cars at the Rainbow Lake trailhead. The trail was in pretty good shape to our turnoff just past the Gin and Tonic bridge. A faint trail disappeared after crossing the creek and we made our way through open heather meadows to the larger of the two Gin and Tonic lakes. We continued up past the meadow behind the lakes, climbed to a low point in the ridge crest and found camping spots near a small tarn just outside the watershed. As soon as the tents and tarp were up, the rain showed up. It didn’t last long and left enough time for everyone to explore Mt Sproatt (beautiful pocket meadows), ridges and ponds (chilly swimming given the weather). Next morning, we awoke to rain which let up at about 9 leaving us wrapped in clouds. We packed up in the late morning and headed north up the ridge using map and compass to navigate the lumpy terrain in almost white-out conditions. We came out at the saddle between Hanging and Rainbow lakes and returned to the cars along the Rainbow Lake trail which was very quiet (saw perhaps 7 people in total all weekend). Traffic back to town was, again, amazingly light.”

Mt Cheam 26/07/08

Michelle on Mt Cheam:
“A long road to Cheam, but worth it. The 4×4 road definitely takes some extra time to account for (and good clearance and good tires definitely make it easier). However the views are there even before you start at the trailhead. Something to look at every step of the way. Lush green meadows, fields of flowers, mountain peaks everywhere and an end destination panoramic view to boot. You are truly on top of the world at the precipice of this peak. You are also exposed almost every step of the way – sun protection and hydration are a must. Although sunny and clear, the wind and milder temperature worked in our favour (I wouldn’t want to try this one on a 30-degree day).”

Mt Frosty 26/07/08

Andy G. on Mt Frosty:
“Seven of us car-camped at the Hampton campground on Friday night, setting off for Mt Frosty the next morning from the Beaver Pond trailhead (we parked the other car at Lightning Lake for our return). Note that the old bridge mentioned in Dawn Hanna’s description of the Windy Joe trail is ruined but it was still possible to get across the creek to reach to the bridge over the Similkameen River. Once across the bridge we were on the trail proper and our first destination was the old fire tower atop Windy Joe. After a snack break there we back-tracked downhill a mile or so to join the loop trail to Mt Frosty. This section of trail is a gem: easy on the feet with a gentle gradient. It starts off in open woodland, gradually giving way to spectacular flower meadows and views to the south before finishing off with a series of switchbacks through scree up to the Windy Joe junction. We spent over an hour at the summit of Frosty, admiring the fantastic view and playing hide-and-seek with a pika. Our descent was via Larch Plateau to Lightning Lake for a swim just as the sun dipped below the mountains, followed by dinner and a starlit camp fire. Sunday we were all too tired to do much so we drove up to the start of the Heather Trail and spent a couple of hours taking a bazillion flower photos before heading home. Bugs were plentiful and hungry.

Saturday was a long day – it took us almost 11 hours – but it was worth every minute. Highly recommended for a two car trip.”

Gambier Lake 26/07/08

Dory at Gambier Lake:
“Saturday’s car free hike to Gambier Lake is definitely one of my top 5 most enjoyable hikes at Wanderung. Using 2 ferry services to get to the somewhat isolated Gambier Island, we landed at New Brighton dock at 10:15 am and started making our way up through the beautiful lush and mossy forest. The climbing portion of the hike was much longer than the organizer estimated (which caused him to give false ETA information to one of the hikers, apologies!) we reached the lake at 13:15 and spent the next hour having lunch as some brave souls went for a swim. Back at the dock at 16:45 we had enough time for refreshments at the local general store/community centre and then caught the ferry back to Langdale.”


Sumas Mountain 26/07/08

Su-Laine on Sumas Mountain:
“How does a 6-hour hike end up taking almost 9 hours? The trail to Sumas Mountain from the west is mostly well-marked, however just after the creek and before Chadsey Lake, the main trail is blocked by a fallen tree and a new trail also branches off. After inadvertently taking the new trail, which isn’t shown in the ‘103 Hikes’ book, we found ourselves walking west, not east, on a trail that looked familiar. We stopped for lunch and met some locals who confidently gave us entirely incorrect information about where we were and where we should go. More walking in the wrong direction followed, and we met the only other people we’d see on this trip, who were just as lost as we were. Eventually local pair #1 caught up with us and told us where we really should go, and we turned around yet again. The new trail, we eventually realized, forms a loop, and we weren’t the first ones to be caught in it like some space-time vortex in Star Trek:

I was glad the group had all stuck together and gotten lost as a unit – if we’d been in this situation and missing a person, we could have been in serious trouble. I was also very grateful for everyone keeping their sense of humour! We all made it to the top, at which point we started another chapter in the annals of Lame Hiking Experiences by not being able to find either of the two summits described in ‘103 Hikes’; all we could find were microwave towers and a lookout. The lookout had a very good view of the east. ‘103’ Hikes is correct, we found, in its description of the west trailhead. It is indeed .5 km down the gravel road and very poorly marked. Wildflowers were not spectacular – I think the season for them on Sumas is pretty much over. Mosquitos, on the other hand, are still plentiful.”

Horne Lake 25/07/08

Greg on a Horne Lake adventure:
“The trip this weekend went without a hitch. Thirteen of us made it to the campground where we enjoyed the teepees, although one was a bit drier than the other due to heavy rains Friday night. The group enjoyed a restful stay and bountiful meals in the beautiful, clear scenery of Horne Lake. Some hiked, some caved, some played frisbee, and some even skinny-dipped. All of the people on the trip were of great interest: professionals with various backgrounds and common values made for some interesting conversation and classic good camping and outdoor recreation. If I hadn’t left my camera on the roof of a stranger’s car, I’d have documented proof.”

Boise Trail/Tricouni Meadows 24/07/08

David in search of the Boise Trail:
“Denis and I got up extra early to do this hike because of all the unknown factors involved. Unknown trail conditions, road conditions etc. Unfortunately, the only question answered was road conditions. The Mamquam service road was blocked by a crew removing the bridge at mile 15. They didn’t seem to think that a new bridge will be in place anytime soon, so this trail will remain an enigma.

Thinking fast, we decided to cross Squamish to Tricouni meadows. The logging road was in rough shape but was no problem for my SUV. The branches are closing in though and, unfortunately, christened the SUV with scratches on both sides. I guess that it was bound to happen sometime.

The trail was wet and muddy for the first 45 minutes, At first, I cursed myself for wearing low top trail shoes, but after stepping into mid-calf deep mudholes, I was glad that I didn’t wear my boots. They only would have held more water and mud. Once past the boggy section the trail ascended to a beautiful series of alpine lakes. At the end of the second lake, someone has recently been carving a totem pole, giving the area a peaceful and surreal atmosphere. There is no official trail to the lakes but there are many paths that will get you there.

One last bit of advice. There was very little blooming in the meadows at this time. This hike will be stunning in another couple of weeks.”