September 17th, 2022
~ Submitted by Julianna Wells
After much participant-list shuffling, in the few days before the trip we went from 8 participants and 12 on the waitlist to a new trip leader and only 4 other participants arriving for the hike.
The group met at the old Forbidden Plateau ski hill parking area, switched into one vehicle, and made the drive together to the Raven Lodge parking lot where we started off at a good pace for our long hike across the park.
Fall colours were just starting to come alive in the park, giving us extra-beautiful views to enjoy as we hiked through Paradise Meadows and up to Croteau Lake. High overcast clouds kept the temperature perfect as we followed the well-worn trail to Panther Lake, made the short trek down to see Johnston Lake, and then went back up to the plateau above Johnston Lake.
Lunch was enjoyed in the sun at “Lunch Lake”, the halfway-ish point on the trail. And the blueberries! One of the best things about September hiking.
After lunch we carried on across the plateau before dropping down along the trail into Mckenzie Meadows, then up past the Mckenzie viewpoint and down into the Slingshot Meadows area. One member unfortunately woke up a nest of wasps while reaching for blueberries and suffered several stings. Medical care supplies were quickly shared and applied to give some relief and thankfully no long-lasting effects were felt. While the trail is a little more overgrown along this part of the route, the bushes were dry so it was easy walking as we continued past Drabble Lakes and up to the Drabble/Becher junction.
From the junction we started heading down to Wood Mountain, crossing paths with several others enjoying the day at this end of the route. The final descent down Wood Mountain gave us great view of the Comox Valley, and we made our way carefully down on legs that were feeling the 25-ish kilometers and 9 hours of steady hiking. While happy to be finished, we were all smiles from the wonderful day spent in beautiful weather together.
I’m thankful to the participants who were able to join me to help make this a perfect day hiking in my favorite playground.