After many comings and goings of people on the trip list, all of the waitlist people were also invited and we ended up with 5 of us on the hike. It was a beautiful, somewhat smoke hazy day. The road is a bit rough, needing high clearance and 4×4.
The hike is an easy ramble up and along in the beautiful subalpine to a big cairn at the non-majestic summit. The views were hazy but we could see Comox glacier, Reese ridge, George V, Frink, Albert Edward, Regan, Jutland and more.
The hike is not long so we took our time, had a snack break and a nice long lunch break at the top. A good day with good company!
An Island Mountain Ramblers hike from Mt. Washington to Wood MountainSept. 26, 2020In order to avoid the dreaded car shuttle that involves an extra 2 hours of driving, we swapped vehicles at the meet-up point on Piercy Road. My group of four then drove up to Mt. Washington’s Raven Lodge, and the other three drove to the old Forbidden Plateau Ski Area. When we finished the hike, our vehicles were waiting for us.
Our Route – 26.5 km
Although the previous days had been rainy, the sun beckoned us forward through Paradise Meadows
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.
Lucky or what? My fifth time snowshoeing in the last 2 months and each time the trees have been adorned with snow! Some years, you might never get that, as the snow melts off or is pelted off with untimely rains.
This time, we had snow on the trees right from the parking lot, and although the skies were clear when we set out at 9:45, cloud moved in, limiting our view from the summit.
The plan was to summit Mount Allan Brooks, but the weather had other ideas. On our start up the road to Raven Lodge, the snow on the road was so slippery that a long line of cars had formed not far from the lower chain up area—forget that noise! We detoured to Mount Becher, perhaps a bit far from our original destination, but the road was plowed and the snow just as fresh.
It was late January. I’d been signed up for a winter snowshoe ascent of Mt Becher with the Island Mountain Ramblers for a while, but the weather had not been easy to predict of late. In the end, it had to be postponed for a week, but with a forecast of light snow and afternoon clearing, the trip was a go for Groundhog Day. Well, I’m no meteorologist, but that sounded good to me. I’ve only seen that movie about twelve times by now!
As our trip leader John was later heard to say “In Saskatoon, you know, we never really worried about the groundhog seeing his shadow. Six more weeks of winter didn’t sound too bad at all!” But I digress, despite the torrential rains of the previous Friday, it was time for us to gear up and head for the hills!
There were seven of us altogether: Fearless leader John, Mo, Karen, Sylvie, Goody, and I left Nanaimo at 730 am. We met Kristy on the mountain a little later on. As we drove up Highway 19, the sun and skies put on a bit of show, once we got north of Qualicum. I remember musing that it might just be the best light of the day, and that there had to be a storm behind it. Sure enough, when we reached the turnoff to Piercy Road, it had begun to snow lightly, and by the time we’d parked near the site of the old Forbidden Lodge, it was snowing harder and the wind had picked up considerably.
Three of the five people on this hike had never participated in a club trip before. Kerry drove from Nanaimo, Dave (Mitch) and I from Qualicum Beach, Sarah drove from Tahsis via Campbell River to pick up Elliott.
We started trudging up the unpleasant remnants of the ski resort around 10:30 and after a few brief pauses arrived at the top at 12:30 where we had lunch.
It grew more overcast during the ascent and clouds obscured the views at the top. We were surprised by the number of folks on the trip, particularly those families with small children. Many dogs also.
Descending the resort caused a few butts to unexpectedly kiss the earth. Would I do the hike again? No, except possibly in winter on snowshoes– should we have a good snow year.
With the requisite, at least for me, Starbucks stop out of the way four of us left Nanaimo at just after 07:30 headed for Raven Lodge to meet the other three hikers coming from the Comox Valley. We welcomed several new IMR members with the “hi, my name is _______” stuff and wandered off at around 09:15. The weather was clear and sunny and the congested parking lot emphasized how much the outdoors contributes to our collective island psyche.
Three of us met at the usual North Nanaimo gathering point at 7am, and quickly got underway for parts north. We made good time to Mount Washington. We met 2 more adventurers at the Raven Lodge. Boots were tightened, packs were donned, and we were off.
The trip through Paradise meadows was predictably lovely. Trails were wet and muddy, with no trace of snow, until Lake Helen Mackenzie.