-submitted by John Robertson

March 24, 2018

The forecast was mediocre, but the day looked promising when 5 of us set out from  the trailhead in Ladysmith. We made good time along Holland Creek, and up to the base of the Heart Lake trail. The grind up to the lookout paid off with good views of Ladysmith harbour, and a few minutes to catch our breath and have a drink. By the time we got to Heart Lake itself, it was a beautiful bluebird day. The sun decked the branches in jewels, as it melted the snow from the night before.

We had a short break from climbing, as we moved northwest along old logging roads to the base of the Camp 6 ridge. Then once again, we climbed up to a higher viewpoint. As we gained elevation, we encountered snow on the ground, but it was still easy walking. By the time we made the upper viewpoint, the cloud was starting to roll in, but the clouds themselves leant some beauty to the view.

We then plunged into the forest. The initial stretch was some tough climbing, with lots of fallen wood underfoot, but the going got easier when our way levelled off, and we reached the more mature forest. We then took a more leisurely pace, as we rambled a bit, admiring the giants, both standing and fallen. We then descended down through all sorts of fallen logs, to encounter the old rail bed. We stopped there for a well earned food break, then continued down to South Holland Creek, where, by some accident of navigation, I placed us right onto the track that would begin out trip home. We stopped to admire an old cabin, then our pace quickened, as the downhill beckoned.

In all, the trip was a bit over 5 hours, and 15 kilometers, with a nice variety of views and terrain. The beautiful wander in the old woods was well worth the effort. More so, since we found new flagging, designating the area for logging some time in the near future.