Green Mountain: A Fall Hike Near Nanaimo

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, originally published on

On October 14th, I led a small group of Island Mountain Ramblers on a relaxed hike to Green Mountain. Octavia (25 months old) and Hemingway (5 years old) came with us to enjoy the day, and they were the primary reason for the pace. The weather was perfect. The frost from the evening before still lingered in the shadows, but the sun warmed the open terrain, illuminating the spectrum of colours around us, and the valley surrounding the mountain.

Octavia, stomping her way to the summit
Release the beast

The brilliant reds, yellows, and purples of leaves dangling from branches created a rich tapestry on the hills around us. The large field of bracket ferns had already died, yet their brown corpses still stood tall, dried by the sun, and as we walked through them their feathery fronds brushed against us. The bright colours of the fall were contrasted by the stark green of the evergreens that dotted the route.

Total Distance: 5.2 km
Starting Elevation: 1085 m
Maximum Elevation: 1464 m
Total Elevation Gain: 378 m
Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes

hiking to Green Mountain
Ken in the weeds

We followed the standard route, which by this time of the year had a visible track created by dozens of people visiting the peak. We took our time, and Hemingway stopped at every mushroom to admire the shapes and colours. He wanted to pick and poke at each one, and I was worried that he was going to have a meltdown when I told him not to touch any of them.

"I want to touch it so bad", Hemingway (age 5).
“I want to touch it so bad”, Hemingway (age 5).

The kids travelled well. Hemingway poked along at his own pace, and the adults used the time to take photographs and admire the scenery. It was only at the base of the rock scramble that I became concerned about Hemingway’s skills. Relative to his size, a fall from this short scramble would mean more than a few bruises. So I followed close behind him, spotting him and then holding his hand whenever I was too worried. Thanks to Ken, who extended his hand more than once to help Hemingway along.

Still smiling, almost at the summit of Green Mountain
the final steps to the summit of the mountain.
up to the ledge
up to the ledge

Above the rocks, I let loose the beast. Octavia toddled along the beaten track to the summit. Once there, we all sat and ate our lunches while admiring the views of the nearby mountains. Well, the adults did that, while the kids fought over a pair of dinosaurs left at the summit cairn–thanks, Beth.

on the summit of Green Mountain
Summit dinosaurs courtesy of Beth
Green Mountain Summit shotq
One for my mountaineering homes

On the return to the car, we stopped to explore the relics of the deserted ski hill. An old footing of a long-abandoned and burned building captured our interest, and Hemingway had questions about what happened. The still-standing ski shack caught everyone’s eye, so we explored that too. We missed out on the old machine truck and a few other features, but those can wait for another time, when the kids are both more mobile.

hiking to Green Mountain on Vancouver Isalnd
look out below!

It was the ideal way to spend a warm fall day. I hope the kids learn to appreciate what the mountains around the Nanaimo Lakes have to offer.

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