We had high hopes for the day, but not all plans come to fruition. Canoe Peak was a lofty goal for any day, but we were adding to the challenge by attempting a winter ascent. On our way through Sutton Pass (230 m) snow was falling fast and accumulating so fast that vehicle tracks were being obscured within minutes and within 15 minutes there was an inch of fresh snow on the road.
We were only a few minutes from the pass when we ended up sideways on the highway– motivation enough to change our plan! In all likelihood, it was also snowing at higher elevations which would create even more dangerous conditions on the mountain. We rerouted back to Port Alberni in hopes of heading up Mount Apps in the Beaufort range. When we found the CX 91 gate locked, we decided to explore the Oyster River Mainline in search of a route up to Mount Mitchell. But this too would be unfruitful when just ten kilometres from the gate, and just 500 metres in elevation, we hit the snowline that stopped our progress.
It was time to enact plan D! Upon returning to Nanaimo we decided to do a quick loop around Copley Ridge recreational trail, just outside Lantzville. After six hours of driving it felt good to stretch our legs. We were fast on the wide trail and covered the eight-kilometre loop in just seventy-five minutes.
Canoe Peak remains on our hit-list, but with the questionable weather we are having, it’s likely to stay on the list until late spring.