Island Mountain Ramblers

Hiking/ Climbing / Mountaineering / Exploring Vancouver Island since 1958

Mount Benson from Morrell Sanctuary

~ submitted by Bil Derby

May 13, 2018

Five intrepid Ramblers and one guest (Karen’s son Nick) met early on Mother’s Day at Morrell Sanctuary before heading up and over Roberts Roost to gain the shoulder of Mount Benson and follow the SE route to the top. The less than pleasant bit of road walking between exiting Roberts Roost and gaining the tree line on Benson itself foreshadowed the afternoons return trip but all was soon forgotten as the terrain steepened and we worked in and out of small bluffy areas that afforded increasingly pretty views and, at one, a place for a quick bite to eat.

The day started warm and grew warmer as we progressed upward and we were thankful for a light breeze and the shade of the forest. Gaining the summit, we settled in for a proper lunch, a nice view, and enjoyed soulless whine of a drone flying about the summit.

Our descent route brought us down the Te’tuxw’tun trail, through the Cougar Bluff bypass trail and a long hot several km’s of logging road walking before making it back into the woods at the south end of the Westwood Ridges and returning to Morrell. The logging road walk was necessitated by the recent logging and cluttered slash areas that now disrupt the tradition route down from just below Cougar Bluffs to the north end of the Westwood Ridges.

All in all, a nice day out and about with wonderful people. Hopefully all enjoyed the day (despite the road walking) and felt refreshed after arriving home and finding a cold beverage. For me, two hot feet in the kiddy pool in the yard was just the ticket.

Thanks to Karen A, Seonok B, Wendy L, Carole T, and Nick A for sharing the day with me.

Trip Data:
1528m total elevation gain
7 hours 30 minutes, more or less

Sidebar:  Trail conditions on the ascent route have worsened quite a bit since the trial dirt bike folks have found the trails.  Erosion is increasing, the trail bed is significantly loose in areas, and the bikes have even found their way out onto the moss cover rock bluffs and the little footpaths along the edges of the rocky areas. Trail braiding is getting worse and wayfinding is proving to be more of a challenge than a couple of years ago when the trail was less travelled and poorly flagged. It is disheartening to see, especially when so many other options exist for motorized off road recreation. On the descent, the logging road walk was necessitated by the recent logging and still cluttered slash areas that now disrupt the traditional route down from just below Cougar Bluffs to the north end of the Westwood Ridges.


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1 Comment

  1. Matthew Lettington

    Sounds like we are just in time for trail upgrades!?

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