Wandering About Mount Benson

–submitted by Ken Warren

Nine of us set off from Morrell Sanctuary to hike Mount Benson from the south. Clear skies and warm sun were promised and delivered. Logging activities have made the original trail somewhat more difficult, but a bike trail allowed us to bypass the damaged section.

We missed our intended trail, which turned out to be a recurring theme that day, and found ourselves on the eastern side of the ridge on a new trail that is only partially complete. We managed to intersect our intended trail only to wander off on several newer and similarly marked trails. We did eventually find the summit and enjoyed the views and the sunshine. The return leg of the loop was uneventful, without the trail exploration that marked our ascent.

East Sooke Trail – April 2, 2016

— submitted by John Young
Read the full report on John Young’s Blog, John Young’s Out there

Twelve of us met at Aylard Farm where we had two taxi-vans meet us and transport us to the trailhead at Pike Road. We started hiking under clear skies, but only 3 of us deemed it warm enough for shorts.

After 20 minutes we came to Iron Mine Bay, and some of us donned more clothing to contend with the cool ocean breeze.

The brisk breeze kept the temperatures perfect for hiking, and we marvelled at the views of the Juan de Fuca Strait. I had only done this hike once previously, and had forgotten how rolling it is; you really have to be careful of your step going up and down the rocks! And the ocean is a long ways down from some of the precipitous cliffs!

Read the full report and view all the images on his blog…

Winter’s Confusing Message: Ascent of Mount Russell

-submitted by Matthew Lettinton, read the full report on his blog

Winter sent a confusing message in early March. There was obvious evidence of winter’s demise, and I even wrote a few posts saying so. But then winter made a roaring comeback, with some ski hills receiving as much as 200cm of snow. Although this is great news for spring skiing, it makes planning adventures a bit more challenging.

On Sunday, March 6, we intended to adventure in the Bonanza Range, with a goal of summiting Mount Ashwood. With the recent snow and poor layer adhesion earlier in the year, the avalanche risk was set to extreme. After assessing the risk, and our beta for the trip, we changed our plan and picked another mountain: Mount Russell. It’s located north of Campbell River, but not as far as Woss. Another long day in the car was inevitable, but the juice was definitely worth the squeeze, as Phil would say.
In many of my trip reports, I write about getting into situations that require a rope for descending, walking along exposed ridges, or setting protection in the rock in order to reach a summit. In comparison, Mount Russell is an uncomplicated route, ending with some fantastic ridgewalking. For folks looking to get into the high alpine without the exposure that many other peaks on Vancouver Island entail, this is a series of bumps to check out.

Hiking and Snowshoeing Mount Russell on Vancouver Island
Mount Russell GPS route and Map

Distance:  10 km

Starting Elevation: 815 m
Maximum Elevation: 1749 m
Elevation Gain: 949 m

Mt Tzouhalem — Hike & Flower Hunt

–Submitted by John Young

Another lovely jaunt up beautiful Mt. Tzouhalem. Picturesque clouds in the morning, and then cleared off, and warmed up in the afternoon. Spent a little extra time wandering around the bike trails, making it a 6 hour outing, including many breaks. Many other people up at the cross enjoying the great view. Some flowers out, and fresh growth on the Garry Oak was beautiful. 

Mt Cokely to Base of Mt Arrowsmith Gully

— Submitted by Clark Gourlay,

— Author Wanda Hill

ACC combined with Island Mountain Ramblers trip Apr 25, 2015. Traverse Mt Cokely to the Base of Mt Arrowsmith Gully and hike out climbers trail to the road. Organized and let by our fearless leader Clarke. Particpants included Clarke, Roger, Peggy, Monica, Wendy, Sandra and Wanda. We arrived to find loads of fresh snow. The trip took us 8 1/2 hours using various combinations of snow shoes and crampons. Thanks to Roger for breaking trail most of the way and Clarke for the excellent route finding. This route was moderately strenuous with beautiful scenery and some short steep and airy sections.

East Sooke Park — A Sunny Sunday Stroll

— Submitted by Matthew Lettington, read the full report on his blog
A Beautiful Cove

Oh the west coast of Vancouver Island. Why are so unpredictable! They say, if you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes….. How true they are!  November on the west coast is not known for is ample sun, warm days, and gorgeous sunny views. Rather it is common to find oneself mired in light drizzle and a bone chilling coolness. On November 24th, I led a group to the south western edge of the island to hike along The coastal route in the East Sooke Park.

This route is one of the best coastal day hikes on the island. The terrain has its ups and downs and does travel through second growth forest but the second growth is 60-100 years old and there are still several giants.  PARK MAP

GPS Route with 48 Photographic Annotation 

Total Horizontal Distance: 12.7 km
Beginning Elevation: 14 m
Max Elevation: 96 m
Total Elevation Gain: 800 m
Time: 6h 30 min

In total 12 hikers made it out for the day, including three guests. I’m normally not one to obsess about the weather, heck I grew up in Nanaimo! I, like many from the area am acclimated to the region. I don’t walk with and umbrella, I don’t spend much time looking at the forecast, however, as a trip leader things are different!  The days leading up to the trip, I checked the weather at least once a day  The night before the trip I awoke to the sound of driving rain beating against my window and roof. The wind was howling as it buffeted my windows.  I was worried that I would awake to discover a dozen emails, sending regrets

Curran-Squarehead-Joan Traverse – August 30, 2014 – by John Young

After making our way up the rough logging road,
the 10 of us started hiking at 9:48, under not bad looking skies. Mt. Joan’s
summit looked to be covered in cloud, but other than that it looked like a good
day. We headed up the Curran trail, which Ken Rodonets has done such a fine job
of maintaining, and by noon we were heading over the Curran-Squarehead col.
The group enjoyed the nice rock on Curran, and
views of Georgia Strait. We omitted the “true” summit of Curran, as
we figured it was going to be a long enough day, and the summit isn’t much
The col to Squarehead was a bit bushy in places,
and going up to Squarehead was a bit of a rock scramble that raised the heart
rate of a few people. We finally lunched on Squarehead, about 1:30, and it
started to rain as we headed over to Joan. The rain was brief, though, and at
the Squarehead-Joan col I gave people the option of skipping out the Joan
summit, shortening the trip by an hour total, but the group voted to bag it.
And we were glad we did! Yes, the view was somewhat obscured by cloud, but that
made it even more spectacular, as we could see Port Alberni poking out from
beneath the clouds.
We then began our descent, and it showered some
on the way down, but didn’t really begin raining until we reached the vehicles
just after 6 p.m. Another fine day in the mountains with an enthusiastic bunch.
Especially nice to have 3 guests along and 3 fairly new members.
Participants: Matt Lettington, Dean Williams,
Christine Rivers, John Proc, Fran Proc, Tyler Proc, Mary O’Shea, Mo Goreyan,
Alana Stott, John Young

Lomas Lake

To read his full report check Matthew’s Blog

GPS route with photographs
GPS Route with photographs

Total Distance: 21.9km
Max Elevation: 1189 m
Total Ascent: 1678 m

On Saturday July 5th, six hikers, many members of the Island Mountain Ramblers, rendezvoused in Ladysmith outside Coronation Mall. After fueling up on coffee and meeting with each other we listened to the hiking plan and objectives before  then head toward Youbou. Our first destination was the trailhead located at Cotton Wood Creak East Logging Road.

The day was beautiful, full sun, with only a few white puffy clouds to keep the sun company. The hiking temperature was wonderful, though it was full sun much of the hike was in heavily treed area or in the shadow of the surrounding mountains. Even though the ascent was relatively strenuous the hikers were able to keep their temperatures down.