–submitted by Matthew Lettington, Read the report on his blog
Being focused on an objective is a great way to track progress and remember to celebrate when you achieve a goal. But sometimes, I get so focused on the objective that I forget about everything that goes into making the day a success. On January 22nd, I had a good reminder that getting to the destination can be half the fun.
I’m usually the driver for our adventures. Behind the wheel, I’m focused on the moment: making sure I don’t fall asleep, leave us sideways on a patch of ice, or take the wrong road. I try to take in as much as I can, but I often let the landscape slide past me without paying it much mind. On January 22nd, I was a passenger — Oh, the sweet passenger life! I scrunched myself into the backseat, propped my head against the window, and watched the landscape roll by. I took it all in – well, at least the right side of the highway. We were on our way to … well, I don’t even remember where. I recall that our destination was past Gold River — a long drive, for sure! But where we were headed isn’t important, because we didn’t get there. In fact, we rerouted several times and ended up far from our original destination.
Well, the weather cooperated, rain and snow didn’t materialize. After a short scenic walk past the lake and crossing the hydro corridor, we made our way to the 1st Ridge, but not without a brief stop at the Memorial Picnic Shelter and Remembrance Garden.
First Ridge is easily reached under an hour affording a brief snack break and photo op’s. The trail to 2nd Ridge is more variable with its ups and downs and a nice steepish scrambly bit before we top the ridge which, honestly, has a sweeping view to include Mt. Benson, Roberts Roost, and to the South Ladysmith Inlet.
After lunch, downhill all the way, exit under the power lines with a stopover in Morrell Nature Sanctuary, and a not to be missed summit of the Rocky Knoll–good elevation gain here. And back to the cars.
Took longer than expected–4 hours, which I put down to the easy unhurried pace we adopted. Anyways, smiles all around at its conclusion.
Our plans were to ring in the new year out at Sombrio beach didn’t go as scheduled. On our way to Port Renfrew we encountered a white out and compact snow conditions on the road. When we finally got to Port Renfrew, well, it all just became black ice. Nice locals were able to help us find a place to camp and give us rides as it became unsafe to drive.
4 of us started out under a mostly cloudy sky. The sun went down behind the cloud,
without putting on a show for us. Shortly after that, we had some clearing in the west, and were treated to the sight of Venus shining spectacularly brightly, a hand’s-breadth above the horizon.
As the clouds thinned, the moon lit them from behind, illuminating a huge portion of the sky. We had a few drops of rain, but nothing to speak of, and gusts of wind that could take the breath away. We paused for a snack at a high point on the ridge, and enjoyed seeing the lights from the mainland. Even one of the ski hills (Cypress?) was lit up.
At that point, the moon came out in all its glory. Headlamps were turned off, and we soaked it in. Then, back to the cars, and home for supper.
This report is one chapter in a longer series that chronicles a multiday car-camping and mountaineering expedition, done in the summer of 2016. This report is for Day Three, July 17th. We hiked Peak 5769 and several other numbered bumps (read Day 1, Day 2). I came to call this day The day that couldn’t make up its mind — we had blazing sun, heavy rain, wind, more sun, low cloud, sun again, hard rain, lightning, and finally sun as we descended back to the car.
Every summer, I plan multiday adventures on Vancouver Island. I often find myself trekking along the coasts, mountaineering through the backcountry, or paddling the rugged west coast. These trips become the focus of my summer, around which everything else is planned. Arranging for our group members to have the same days off is usually one of the biggest planning issues. So, when we finally get our schedules coordinated, these days become sacrosanct.
This summer, we planned a trip through Strathcona Park along the Wolfe/Cervus Divide — but Mother Nature had other plans. As our planned trip approached, the forecast turned to three days of lightning and rain. We reconnoitred and decided to travel beyond the weather, finding adventure in the Bonanza Range.
Total Distance: 13 km
Starting Elevation:906 m
Maximum Elevation: 1682 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1549 m
Total Time: 9 hours 30 minutes
Phyllis Hill, holding an artifact from the settlement.
Experiment Bight, eastern end. Sand neck visible in the distance. Bill Hill.
Bill Hill, lagoon.
This image was flipped when scanned. This is at Experiment Bight, eastern section walking towards the west just before the middle beach section. Bill Hill blue shirt. Ruth Masters red clothing brown backpack.
Sand Neck. WWII plank road across sand (a few planks and nails can still be found in the sand). Bill HIll
Ruth Master hold glass ball. Nells Bight, on rocks near the “old” ranger cabin.
Suspect this is the King’s Farm / Spencer Farm. Phyllis Hill
Group photo, probably end of trip at the lagoon near the pickup location for the float plane. Ruth Master’s holding glass ball. Phyllis Hill red hair first row. Bill Hill, taller blue shirt.
Bill Hill – Boiler, probably at lagoon.
Unknown person at the Sand Neck. Looking north towards Experiment Bight.
This image was flipped when scanned. It always looked familiar but not right. When the image is flipped horizontally it becomes clear. Experiment Bight, eastern end, near where the trail to Nells Bight exits onto the beach. Sand Neck visible in the distance on the left and the Cape to the right (in the corrected image). Bill Hill blue shirt.
Sand Neck, WWII plank road. Bill Hill.
Telegraph Wire beside plank road from Sandneck to the lighthouse. Bill Hill.
Lagoon, probably closer to the dykes. Phyllis Hill on left (red hair)