Twelve of us started up Benson on our annual new year’s day hike. We took the new trail from the parking lot. The weather forecast was not favourable, but it was dry if a bit windy.
Half way up another member met us and we continued through the area the club worked on last year. At the summit the sky was relatively clear and the wind died so we had some lunch and enjoyed the views. I remember well standing there in the wind and snow with Mike Hordelski only long enough to take a photograph. As the weather was good, the summit was quite busy with hikers, runners, and quadders.
We made our way down without incident along the increasingly busy trail. Another successful summit, a tip of the hat to Mike, and a good start to 2020. All the best for this year to all club members.
After a comfortable night camping at the Sayward municipal campground, seven of us gathered at Bill’s Trail head at the base of mount H’kusam.
The weather was overcast with the cloud rising up to give us occasional views then dropping into the tree tops. The ascent was unremarkable except for the unrelenting climb. Trail conditions were very good.
We made it to the col in just under four hours and four of us dropped down to look for the route to the summit. Despite the best effort of eight eyes we could neither find the upper route nor the lower route. We returned to the col and clambered around the rocks for some nice views.
We returned the way we came, which made for a difficult descent. When I do this hike again I will do a car shuttle so we can descend the same way as the racers do. It was a very good day with excellent company. Thanks.
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
It was a grand day and Mike would have enjoyed it. Thanks to all for the pleasure of your company.
Four club members and two guests set out from China Creek in bright sun to hike stage 2 of the Alberni Inlet trail. Trail conditions were excellent with no mud and few obstructions. There are viewpoints and beach access all along the trail. We spent a bit of time on and in the 1913 concrete culvert that is one of the many artifacts of the early 20th century CNPR rail project found along the trail. We snacked at Nina’s Cove and were warned by boaters of a large cougar that had left the beach several hundred meters from us heading towards the trail, but we saw no sign of it. The last 1.5km of the trail is closed due to logging, so we had lunch and naps in the sun at the southernmost viewpoint. There was no excitement but a few laughs on the way back. Ice cream at Whisky Creek made a superb end to a perfect day. Thanks to all for the pleasure of your company.
We weren’t the first to set out to hike Benson from Witchcraft Lake, but close to it. Eight of us went on tthis new year’s expedition for various reasons, but in part it was to remember our friend and club member Mike Hordelski who died hiking Benson in 2017. Mike loved Mt Benson and hiked it many times by many routes.
Twelve of us set off for Crest Mountain from the trailhead on the Gold River Highway. The forecast was for good weather and the sky was promising. The trail is well-designed and built, but gains 1100 meters in the first 5km. We didn’t hit snow until the 1400m elevation shortly before coming onto the plateau by the first tarn. The tarns are still 3/4 frozen with blue water pooling among the snow and ice. A forty minute hike in the snow from the tarn saw us gain another 100m and the cairn marked summit.
–trip report submitted by Ken Warren
–Photos submitted by Kerry Hart
Although the weather forecast was not encouraging, we had a dry day on the Alberni Inlet Trail. Our start time was delayed by bridge inspections on the China Creek Road, but we set out from Ship Creek around 11 o’clock. The first stretch is impressive old growth fir and cedar opening up into views of the valley with Arrowsmith Massif obscured by clouds. Frogs to the left and right cheered us along the trail.
New Years morning was cold, breezy and clearing when four Ramblers set out in the snow from Witchcraft Lake to Mt Benson. There was one truck in the parking lot before us and a single hiker ahead of us. Trail conditions were fair with around 6cm of fresh snow softening up the ice slick of the well used track. We made good time to the halfway point with a short off trail ramble to mix things up.
Eight of us set out on a Maple Mountain loop from Chilco Road on Saturday. Maple Mountain is the best marked and mapped trail system I’ve found on the Island, in that trail marking is frequently updated and the actual trails correspond exactly with the mapped trails. We set out along the blue trail and switched to the yellow, walking parallel to the water to our first break at Grave Point and the opening of Sansum narrows.