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
Why the Hinde(less) you ask? Because we didn’t summit the Golden Hinde, which, for most people, would be the primary objective of this trek. For me, and for most of my group, it wasn’t a big disappointment, because for us it was about the journey, not just about bagging the highest peak on Vancouver Island.
We were two groups of four, with the other group canoeing over Buttle Lake before traversing across Marble Meadows and then to the Hinde, attempting it on the 21st. Aftrer coming within 200 meters of the top, they turned back due to hazardous snow conditions. My group hiked up the Elk River Trail to Elk Pass and then across to the Golden Hinde, making it to the South Tarn at the base of the mountain on July 21. Our hopes of a summit attempt on the 22nd, however, were dashed when we heard from the other group (via our inReach satellite communication) of their aborted attempt. To be honest, though, I’m not disappointed. I was tired, and climbing the mountain (which I had bagged in 1998) and then having an arduous 3-day hike to Buttle Lake before the short canoe back to my truck wasn’t appealing. And frankly, I don’t have the confidence on steep pitches, especially snow, that I once had.
What a difference a year makes! Last year when we hiked this trail, we saw nary a soul past Mount Albert Edward, but this year we met more than 20 others. One big group of about 20, a group of 3, a solo man and his dog, and two runners completing it in a day. The trail is also much better defined than it was just last year – a well-worn tread with many cairns leads the way. Although it is popular and pleasant, it’s far from a “walk in the park,” as over it’s 30 km it gains 2150 m and loses 3000 m. Lots of ups and downs! Since we started from Mt. Washington’s Raven Lodge with an elevation of 1100 m., we had an overall elevation loss of 850 m.
We started off with a stroll through Paradise Meadows
Four of us braved a spotty forecast to hike Douglas Peak. Instead of patches of sunlight, the four of us hiked up the logging road to its terminus and then headed into the bush for a few hours of light bushwhacking to the old-growth summit.