Call it our wedding anniversary, the final weekend before school, an early celebration of Octavia’s birthday, or just Labour Day; on September long weekend, I led a group of families on a traverse of Strathcona Park.
I’ve hiked the route between Raven Lodge and the Old Forbidden Plateau ski lodge on two previous occasions. Each time, I vowed to return to do it as an overnighter. Though a bit of a longer route, it meanders Forbidden Plateau with very few steep climbs; a fit group can complete it in about nine hours. In terms of a hiking route, there are very few like it on Vancouver Island. So when the question, “what to do as a family trip for our various celebrations in the face of COVID 19?” arose, I proposed doing the traverse as a family trip.
Distance: 26 km
Starting Elevation: 720 m
Maximum Elevation: 1226 m
Total Elevation Gain: 727 m
Total descent: 1100 m
A quiet Wednesday evening led to us check out the crags. Most folks did not climb and were just there to check out the scenery.
With not a tonne of time (and a healthy portion of it spent on showing folks the tour of my favourite conglomerate crag on the south island) we only were able to get ropes on “The Roof Is On Fire 5.10a” and “Salamander 5.7.” Both were fun routes.
Planned as a do-over of an unsuccessful trip in 2018 this trip filled up quickly when posted on the schedule. By the time the week of the trip arrived the group reduced to just Gord and I. Leaving Nanaimo at 06.30 on Saturday we arrived at the trailhead at 09.00 and were set up in the lower meadows 3-1/2 hours later.
Having had this described as one of the best hikes in Cowichan, I had to find out for myself!
The route has quite the views on the way up. and is quite the thigh burner.
We turned around at the top of the false summit as it was easy walking to there. With nothing to prove and the weather in the high 20’s, we both agreed that turning around then and there was still a fine day!
On July 1, three set out from the TCT trailhead at Ninatti road, for a wander around Mount Hayes. The route included Camas Ridge trail, some old roads, and a few short stretches of bushwhack. The weather was cooperative, and the views were lovely.
As the temperatures soared to 30 degrees in the valley below, the strong wind on Mt. Cokely kept us cool, for the most part. The views, the flowers, the rock scrambling, and the wonderful company made for another great outing in the mountains of Vancouver
Island. We started off about 9 a.m. with a short walk up the old road.
5040 Mountain is a favourite hike for many of our club members. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I had many inquiries about joining the trip I hosted. So much interest, in fact, that I enlisted the help of a second leader to take on the extra hikers that I couldn’t host; Sherry stepped up.
The 5040 hike of July 11 took place on Aug. 15 as snow levels and visibility were still an issue on July11. This hike was appended to Matt Lettington’s hike up 5040 and 7 people came along. It was a beautiful warm day so we started early, meeting at 6:30 am with 2 people coming up from Maple Bay (a VERY early start).
The coordinator, Sherry, was sweep and the reluctant hiker, Peter, was lead. This worked well until Holly realized that Peter was waiting too long for Sherry to catch up on the way down and took the lead. One and ¼ hours got the group to Cobalt Lake and about ½ hour further got us to the cabin. It was occupied but closed for visitors. We had snacks and the 4 am starters from Maple Bay decided to enjoy views from the cabin porch while the rest of us trudged to the top. By noon, we met the other Island Mountain Rambler group led by Matt Lettington and had nice chats about flying ants, bugs in general, and how to fine tune trip participant levels.
On the way down, Holly took the lead with a good pace and we congregated at Cobalt Lake for swims, dips, and water refills. The rest was a slow but steady descent through trees, roots, and rock to the cars. All were down by 3:30, thankful that we’d gotten an early start on a very warm day.
Sutton Peak is one of Vancouver Island’s illustrious 6000 footers. It’s a destination that I frequently poke Phil about doing; since he first summited – without me—back in 2016. Aside from its height, this route’s sparkling feature is the long west ridge that leads mountaineers to seek this summit.
No GPS Track Available
Total Distance: 15 km Starting Elevation: 1094 m Maximum Elevation: 1870 m Total Elevation Gain: 1511 m Total Duration: 8 h 30 min