Mount Benson Project –July 6 Work Party

July 6th was going to be a busy day for our work party. There were 8 volunteers signed up but as the forecast worsened the cancellations started arriving. By the time we hit the trail, there were three souls that braved the misty conditions to do a day’s work on the trail.

For the day we focussed on installing an extra step in the eroding bank, stabilizing the bank by installing extra width on one of the steps, hauling more debris into the off route sections, and trimming wood obstacles that could hook a hiker’s foot. A big part of the project is doing sustainable work that withstand the test of time, and that means controling the flow of water. Much of the trail erosion has been made worse by the waterfall that forms on the trail and flows down a large portion of our section.

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Rappel Workshop

June 4, 2019

~submitted by Matthew Lettington

Five members hit the rock wall at Piper’s Lagoon, on Tuesday night.

We spent three hours covering the basics of safe rappelling.

By evening’s end, each was shooting down the ropes to the pebble beach while the sun set behind us. 

Mount Benson Project Work Party –Eroding Bank

On June 1st, a five-member crew hiked spent a little over five hours on the Mount Benson Project. We scheduled a short day to allow for members to join in the club BBQ, later that day. 

With a seemingly endless amount of work to be done the crew focused first on moving materials from the lower road to the eroding bank. Once positioned we spent the remainder of the day working at the eroding bank. 

After watching a few groups walk through the site we picked a route that is now the one route up through this section.

Before Pictures

The start of the day, this eroding slop sees traffic going every which way.

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Mount Benson Trail Project — Area Survey

On Saturday, March 30th a small group of Ramblers and guests took a few hours to hike the Mount Benson trail. Our goal was to survey the area that we are designated to work in, describe the type of work that needs to be done, and examine what the winter rage has wrought.

Happily, the snow has receded, revealing the ground and making it easy to see the work we still need to do. The work falls into four categories, requiring three different types of skills to complete.
On Saturday, March 30th a small group of Ramblers and guests took a few hours to hike the Mount Benson trail. Our goal was to survey the area that we are designated to work in, describe the type of work that needs to be done, and look at what the winter has wrought.

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Mt. Benson – Feb. 24, 2019

What a beautiful day!

On the summit with our adopted dog – he photobombed us!

Crossing Witchcraft Lake

A slippery trail on the bottom half

But after crossing the creek, we were soon wallowing in the snow

But some beautiful views and natural art

And wonderful snow!

A squirrel tried to break trail for us, but needs some work on that!

And we still broke trail on the old road

And even up the first part of Gordie’s Trail

It was slippery near the top

Approaching the summit

After basking in the sun, we slipped/slided our way down

And back to Witchcraft Lake

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.

Gemini Mountain: Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

–submitted by Matthew Lettington; originally published on

On my journey to summit all the peaks on my Island Alpine Quest, I don’t often find time to hike a mountain more than once, but when I do, it’s because I’m hiking with my children. On October 27, I led a group of ten that included Hemingway and Octavia on a quick trip to Gemini Mountain in the Nanaimo Lakes area. It was a less than perfect day: cold wind made short work of our layers, cutting through our clothes to thoroughly chill us, but we took the chance to cross the saddle between the two peaks and scramble to the summit of the second bump.

the clouds lifting from the main summit of Gemini Mountain
the clouds lifting from the sub-summit of Gemini Mountain

My first visit to Gemini Mountain was on a bleak, blustery day, back in 2016. It was the type of day where we wore our jackets, gloves and toques, and by the end of the hike, our gloves were filled with icy water. Relative to that trip, this one was an improvement in almost every metric. But it was still frosty, and above 1300 metres we found ice on the tops of puddles– Hemingway took delight in smashing the ice with a hiking pole.

Total Distance: 5.7 km
Starting Elevation: 1138 m
Maximum Elevation: 1518 m
Total Elevation Gain: 626 m
Total Time: 5h 44m

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