Cruikshank Canyon Walkabout

~ submitted by Bil Derby

July 29, 2018

With the requisite, at least for me, Starbucks stop out of the way four of us left Nanaimo at just after 07:30 headed for Raven Lodge to meet the other three hikers coming from the Comox Valley. We welcomed several new IMR members with the “hi, my name is _______” stuff and wandered off at around 09:15.  The weather was clear and sunny and the congested parking lot emphasized how much the outdoors contributes to our collective island psyche.

To delay the boardwalk walking we opted for the counterclockwise route from Raven heading out past Piggot Creek to Helen MacKenzie for a quick break before taking the hikers right along the north side of the lake and up to the col between Brooks and Elma. On reaching Hairtrigger Lake Julianna took the lead and demonstrated her deep local knowledge of the park by introducing us an alternate route from Hairtrigger to the canyon ridge.

We pressed on through meadow and rock to reach the viewpoint at 13:00-ish. A few quick photos to prove we were there and off to find some shade for lunch.  Hard to imagine but the thermometer on my pack was reading 32C in the shade.

The regular route brought us back up to Kwai Lake and around past Lady, Croteau, and Kooso before the trail widened at Battleship and the stride extended.  We arrived back at the trailhead at 17:30 more or less.

This trip was the second of the weekend for Mike H and Julianna W who joined John’s Curran/Squarehead/Joan trip the day before making for a high mileage big elevation weekend complete with tired bodies and “well massaged” feet.

Despite the congestion of the parking lot we were seeing few people, many whom were returning from nights at Kwai or Circlet.  It always amazes me how many people this part of the park can absorb.

Thanks to Jenn McA, Julianna W, Mike H, Linda F, Chai M, and Stephanie H for a fun day in the hills.

Trip Data:
8 hours, more or less, with lots of photo taking, lounging, and interpretive stops.

Photo credits to Bil, Jenn, Chai, and Mike

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