We started with the goal of practicing essential skills of the winter mountaineer: walking with crampons, and self-arrest. Although the slope conditions in the prior week would have been ideal, a recent dump of snow worked against our plan.
~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.
~submitted by John Young
January 1, 2019
We started at 8 a.m. with an unattractive approach on the logging spur
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.
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
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.
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
~ submitted by Mary Hof
July 1, 2018
Three hikers from the Island Ramblers, and 8 from Cowichan Hikers celebrated Canada day by hiking the Westwood Lake Ridges and Robert Rooste. We sang O Canada as we held the flag. It felt good to be with people of all walks of life, and to be hiking on a beautiful day.
~ submitted by Matthew Lettington
June 2, 2018
Our Westwood Ridges Ridge Ramble was hiked under mixed skies. The five adults and two children took our time exploring the picnic shelter, memorial garden and picking our way through the salal to the upper ridge.
~submitted by Bil Derby
May 27, 2018
Eight of us gathered at the end of Arroyo Road just south of Ladysmith to make introductions and swap out flip-flops for boots before starting up the logging road at 09:00, right on time. The grind of logging road walking was offset by laughter and stories as we wandered along to the trail that leads up to the old cabin and on to Christie Falls, or in Mike’s words it’s “Christie Hill” for lack of water.
~ submitted by Bil Derby
May 13, 2018
Five intrepid Ramblers and one guest (Karen’s son Nick) met early on Mother’s Day at Morrell Sanctuary before heading up and over Roberts Roost to gain the shoulder of Mount Benson and follow the SE route to the top. The less than pleasant bit of road walking between exiting Roberts Roost and gaining the tree line on Benson itself foreshadowed the afternoons return trip but all was soon forgotten as the terrain steepened and we worked in and out of small bluffy areas that afforded increasingly pretty views and, at one, a place for a quick bite to eat.
The day started warm and grew warmer as we progressed upward and we were thankful for a light breeze and the shade of the forest. Gaining the summit, we settled in for a proper lunch, a nice view, and enjoyed soulless whine of a drone flying about the summit.