Mount Tzouhalem

~ submitted by Mary Hof

January 13, 2019

16 hikers, 2 were members of the Ramblers and 2 were interested in us. The rest were Cowichan hikers, and with the beautiful weather and the route I choose, many wanted to join in. The hike was only 10k but had many view spots and was a wonderful day to be out. Thanks to all who joined.

The Hordelski – Mt Benson New Year

~submitted by Ken Warren

January 1, 2019

Twelve eager hikers set out earlyish new year’s morning to enjoy what’s become an annual hike and remembrance of Mike Hordelski.

The weather was ok with mixed cloud and sun with no wind. The evidence of our recent wind storm was most visible around Witchcraft Lake, and several trees have fallen since the big blow, so the ground is still saturated and caution needed. Most of us put on our traction aids around the third way mark and the trail was easily followed. We met no-one going up and the views at the lookouts were quite good. There was a lot of snow on the final third, but the trail was packed and the going was easy.

We had the summit to ourselves for 10 minutes before the rest of Nanaimo started to catch up. Conditions on top were good with some changing views. The coastal mountains were quite spectacular. The descent was uneventful and somewhat slowed by the number of people we met. We heard some very animated conversation below us at one point and a hiker explained that it was group of Brazilians in their first encounter with snow. We intended to pass by the 1942 plane crash site but windfallen trees have all but covered the wreckage.

It was a grand day and Mike would have enjoyed it. Thanks to all for the pleasure of your company.

Mt Tzouhalem Traverse

~submitted by Mary Hof

December 30, 2018

Six of us met at Providence Farm for a short car shuttle for our hike across the Tzouhalem ridge. Started with winter jackets but soon we were just down to shirts.  The views were beautiful, not many trees down, and the company great. Three were members and three were from my hiking club from Cowichan.  A wonderful day to be out.

Big Tree Peak

–submitted by Matthew Lettington; originally published on explorington.com

Since beginning my project to summit all the peaks in Island Alpine, I’ve spent more time exploring the various unknown peaks and ranges of Vancouver Island than I ever spent hiking more well-known objectives. Sometimes, when I think about the time I’ve spent hiking, driving, and reporting– it’s become very time-consuming– I wonder, Is it worth it? Why am I doing this? Am I still having fun?

These questions are usually fleeting, but they strike like an avalanche. With more than two dozen trip reports in various forms of drafts, it’s a problem that seems impossible to surmount. Especially considering that these were some of the most important trips I’ve done over the past three years: Nootka Island; West Coast Trail; Augerpoint Traverse; Hesquiat Peninsula; three different seven-day kayak trips; Tatchu Peninsula; my Rambler Peak Trip where we summited Devoe and Slocomb; and a half-dozen family trips. These, and about a dozen other daytrips that I haven’t even started writing, add to the overwhelming workload I’ve created. I just can’t seem to keep on top of it. And if I’m not committed to doing them all, then why even do any of it?

Surprisingly, this lost and overwhelming feeling is one that I’ve grown accustomed to in my life. Although it’s easy to be subsumed by the feeling, there is also a small comfort that comes with it. I imagine it compares to an explorer crossing an ocean to an unknown destination: there’s probably something on the other side, and there’s definitely something behind you. The farther you get from the known shore, the braver you must be. Without landmarks to position oneself, it’s difficult to take stock of progress, and sometimes you just have to trust you’re heading in the right direction.

But taking notice of my accomplishments is the key to navigating through the sea of hopelessness, and that’s why I write these reports. On December 1, I was one of a group of six that summited Big Tree Peak in the Prince of Wales Range. The peak itself is hardly worth noting; it’s not the highest, bushiest, or most challenging, nor does it have the best view of all the peaks in the Range. However, it was the final peak I needed to summit in the range. And for that reason, it’s important to take note: I’m making progress.

Big Tree Peak Route

Total Distance: 7.2 km
Starting Elevation: 789 m
Maximum Elevation: 1419 m
Total Elevation Gain: 724 m
Total Time: 4 hours, 43 minutes and 34 seconds

Continue reading “Big Tree Peak”

Heather Mountain Hustle

–submitted by Matthew Lettington; originally published on explorington.com

When the weather turned to crap on October 28th, we abandoned our plan to summit Steven Peak in the Tlupana Range and turned our eyes to something much closer to home: Heather Mountain.

You may be surprised to read that I haven’t done this common south island hike, but the long logging road approach never really appealed to me, when there are so many other objectives on our list that don’t require 15 kilometres of walking on hard, unaesthetic logging road. However, earlier that week, I caught wind that the gate might be open and sent Phil a message about the possibility. Rather than walk through the downpour of rain on an unknown route on an unfamiliar mountain, we decided to make an easy day of it.

hiking to Heather Mountain on Vancouver Island
an idyllic mountain scene

We got lucky! Indeed, we did find the gate unlocked. Even better, we found that a kind soul had brushed out the upper sections of the old logging road, creating what I’ll refer to as an ATV track to the end of the road.

Total Distance: 4.8km
Starting Elevation: 1053 Em
Maximum Elevation: 1346 m
Total Elevation Gain: 392 m
Total Time: 2h 12 m


Continue reading “Heather Mountain Hustle”

Mount Rorberts

-Originally published on explorington.com

Winter 2018 took its sweet time arriving on Vancouver Island. Many Vancouver Islanders eagerly watched the forecast as they tuned their skis and took stock of their winter gear. I too anticipated a beautiful winter pursuing adventure in the white stuff. Yet, by late October we were still waiting for the first hints of snow to hit the alpine. Fortunately, in the seemingly endless wait between the hot summer and the white stuff, there was a lot of fantastic fall hiking.

hiking to mount Roberts in the Prince of Wales Range on Vancouver Island
That bump is listed as the summit; har har

On October 18th we had a fantastic day; ideal for the type of hiking we wanted to do in the Prince of Wales Range. I love hiking the peaks in this range. They offer easy access to what I’d call mostly-easy hiking–except for the bush. And on top of the quality of the hiking, the mountains, Roberts, H’Kusam, Springer, Stow, Milner, Kitchener, High Rigger, and Big Tree all offer stellar eastward views of the Johnstone Strait. Plus, if you have a clear day you get views of the Coast Ranges including Mount Waddington; while, to the west Victoria and Warden stand prominently on the horizon.  The views are tough to beat (in my opinion only surpassed by the view from Tyee Mountain).

Mount Roberts Route and GPX by request

Total Distance: 12.9 km
Starting Elevation: 744 m
Maximum Elevation: 1485 m
Total Elevation Gain: 878 m
Total Time: 7 hours
Continue reading “Mount Rorberts”

Green Mountain: A Fall Hike Near Nanaimo

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, originally published on explorington.com

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

Continue reading “Green Mountain: A Fall Hike Near Nanaimo”

Mount Maitland: A Hike for People Who Don’t Want to Be Clean

–submitted by Matthew Lettington, originally posted on explorington.com

Wet. It was wet. It was very wet. This doesn’t even come close to describing how wet we were by the end of the day. It was the kind of day where any effort or equipment used to contravene the water would result in failure; so, we left our raingear in our backpacks with our dry clothes in case we needed them to get warm—a smart decision. It was the kind of day where I saw water well out of the cuff of Clarke’s boot when he stepped down onto a rock, and oozing out of the tongue of Phil’s boot when he flexed his toes.

hiking to Mount Maitland
these are the faces of fatigue

 

Total Distance: 9 km
Starting Elevation: 225 m
Maximum Elevation: 1258 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1140 m
Total Time: 9 h 15 m

Continue reading “Mount Maitland: A Hike for People Who Don’t Want to Be Clean”