The Golden Hinde(less) Traverse – July 18-24, 2020

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Hansen Lagoon Bust

–submitted by John Young; originally published on his blog

Four years ago, I went on an Island Mountain Ramblers’ trip to Lowrie Bay, and caught the bug–the bug of venturing (at low tide) along the shore and over headlands to the end of Hansen Bay. So when our trip to Nootka Island was cancelled due to COVID restrictions, I decided to return to Cape Scott, with the hope of forging our way along the lagoon to Nels Bight.

  • June 7 – camped at San Josef Bay (#3 on the map)
  • June 8 – over Mt. St. Patick to Lowrie Bay (10k; 6 hours 20 minutes)
  • June 9 – attempted to get to Rasmus Creek, but fallen trees forced us back and we camped just south of the point leading into Hansen Bay (a 10-hour day!)
  • June 10 – back to Lowrie Bay
  • June 11 – home sweet home

June 7 – a short 2.5k walk to our campsite

San Jo–arguably the nicest beach on Vancouver Island!

We managed to squeeze all 6 of our tents into this spot in the trees


Our beach-side kitchen, dining and living room


June 8 – up and over Mt. St. Patrick (416 m.) to Lowrie Bay

A rough trail, but oh! the view from the summit!

Bill with some fancy footwork crossing Russell Creek

Lowrie Bay


June 9—some beautiful and challenging seaside hiking


And the bushiest whacking I’ve ever experienced, especially with an overnight pack!


But fabulous flora along the way

Our camp in a small cove on June 9

Michael caching food for the night

June 10 – return to Lowrie Bay

Eli with a sea lion skull

Thankfully, the bear appears to be well fed!


Luckily, the weather cleared up and we relaxed back at Lowrie Bay

I had fun with this Japanese light bulb that I found, intact!


June 11 – back up Mt. St. Pat


And along San Jo Bay and back to the trailhead


Yes, my hands took a beating, but it was worth it!

Mount Becher Snowshoe

March 8th, 2020

~ submitted by John Young

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.

Ascending Wood Mountain:

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Mt. Elma Snowshoe

March 1st, 2020

~ submitted by John Young

A Ramble up Mt. Elma – March 1, 2020

Ah, lucked out with another beautiful day snowshoeing up Mt. Elma with a wonderful group of nine members of the Island Mountain Ramblers.

We started out from Raven Lodge at 9:45 and meandered through Paradise Meadows, then up to Battleship Lake. The snow in the trees! The view of Strathcona’s peaks from the summit–oh! 

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Katzenjammer 2020 (Mount Arrowsmith)

January 1st, 2020

~ submitted by John Young

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve summited Mt. Arrowsmith for the annual New Year’s Day expedition, but it must be at least 10. The first year I participated was in 2001, and I climbed it in my backcountry touring skiboots. They provided great support, but were heavy and of course cumbersome. But there was a lot of snow that year, right from the parking lot off Pass Main, and they were great for kicking steps.

Before leading this year’s climb I was apprenhensive:

  • after a 6-week trip to Mexico I wasn’t in the best of shape. Could I handle it?
  • of the 7 others in our group, I didn’t know 3. Would they all be okay?
  • there have been three accidents in recent years on this climb, and I fretted about the conditions. Would it be icy and treacherous?

Thankfully, though, my fears were unfounded. Everyone did just fine, and it was probably the easiest winter climb I’ve had up Arrowsmith with good snow conditions, for the most part.

The trail was bare of snow until we’d hiked up for about 1/2 hour.

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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

Nootka Island

~ submitted by John Young

June 30 – July 4, 2018

My fifth trip on the Nootka Island Trail off the west coast of Vancouver Island  didn’t disappoint. In fact, I might have enjoyed it more than ever. It was more crowded than before–we saw several other groups of hikers, one even bigger than our group of nine. But, still not nearly as busy as other coastal hikes such as Cape Scott or the West Coast Trail, due in large part to the remoteness, accessible only by water taxi or float plane.

As the organizer of our trip, I opted for the water taxi transport return from Tahsis. It’s a lot cheaper than flying (especially when we had nine people in our group), and scenic, although on the day we set out, it was drizzling and rough, so not as enjoyable as when I last did it two years ago. With the boat ride option we had an extra three km to walk, too, at low tide across picturesque mudflats, making the trail about 40 km long altogether.

The trail is not on protected land, and is only sporadically maintained by volunteers, although in places you’d never know it, with huge fallen  trees to clamber over and salal to stagger through. For me, though, this is part of the attraction–the ruggedness of it. And the variety of the trail is  arguably unsurpassed — from lush old growth rainforest to swampy headlands, sandy beaches to boulder fields, the wonders never cease.

Thanks to my fellow hikers for making this a most enjoyable excursion!

 

 

Mt Curran – Squarehead Mtn – Mt Joan Traverse

~submitted by John Young

July 28, 2018

On Saturday, July 28 a group of 6 Ramblers headed up to do the Mt. Curran-Squarehead-Joan traverse, just north of Horne Lake. We drove up the Cook Creek Service Road for almost 15 km, and then up the rough logging road. It was a hot day, a scorcher, so the six of us were grateful to be able to drive up the jarring road, even if it was snail paced. We started hiking at nine a.m., and didn’t finish until 6:30; a long day in the hot sun. But the vistas and the profusion of blooms made up for it, as well as the good-spirited hikers.