A short, stiff hike up from Second Lake on the Nanaimo Lakes circuit. We leftHarewood Mall at 0700 and arrived at the base of the logging road 1150 metres below the summit. Stop about 400 metres before the main 2nd Lake Gate which is the gate just after the lake cottages. There is a small road to the right climbing up with an old,low gate which may be locked. It does not matter. We parked on the main logging road.From here it was a quick walk up from the lake to the end of the road at about 480metres.
From here it was a direct ascent up the mountain for about 800 metres. Although there is no trail, the going underfoot is clean through one of the last remaining remnants of coastal Douglas fir forest on Vancouver Island. Large, clear trees with no other species except Douglas Fir dominate. But the going is steep and relentless. There is not one flat section on the entire route of until the summit block. That is except for the primeval forest ridge connecting the South Summit with the main North Summit. Only about 20 metres difference in elevation. Both peaks offer superb views in their respective directions. The views were so good we ate lunch on both summits… most of my food on the former ate, and my wine consumed on the main summit.
Coming off the North Summit we headed on an angle back to our main route in a sort of circular route. Here the route was just as steep going down. Careful steps made the descent rather grueling in place until the last pieces of first growth forest yielded to the logging road. One of the logging road the peaceful reverie of the old growth, yet steep, was still to be much preferred to uniformity of the logging road.
We returned back to our truck with a total time of about 8 hours (with at least an hour of eating on top). I have done it faster, but the summit is not a race and can usually be done taking ones. I have a GPX track but forget that. I “found” this route in 2013 the old-fashioned way – google-earthed it, looked for where the old growth hits the nearest road near 2nd Lake… then headed out and took a compass bearing to the top… and the bearing was not even necessary. It is an easy off-trail route and not technically hard at all. It is relentlessly steep, however, I believe most people made the trip to the summit from the logging roads at the back that go up to 1100 metres… that of course, is cheating and misses the sublime beauty of the first growth forest girding the first 1000 metres of its base.
I think we can safely say this was a good hike enjoyed by everyone. Worthy of a reprise in the future.