Snow in the trees, again! My sixth excursion in the last two months, and each time has been beautiful, and always in different ways. This one, we had clear skies with snow decorating the trees, and glorious vistas, not only from the summit, but from the viewpoints along the way.
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.
We met at the Arbot Rd parking area at the leisurely time of 9:30 and got back almost exactly 5 hrs later, with no rest breaks.
We followed the mix of trails and roads from the northwest end of the lake. Weather was just wet enough to justify rain clothes, and stayed pretty much the same on the way up. No distant views, but a couple of nice foggy scenes over the valley. There isn’t much snow on the ground right now. The same as it was a month or so ago; just starting at the junction before Te’tuxw’tun Trail.
Right at the summit a stiff cold wind limited time to a couple of quick cell pics and chased us back into the trees. Coming down was wetter and cooler than going up, so our total of rest breaks for the day was about 3 or 4 minutes standing for lunch.
A better day than staying home! And a good day for gear testing. 1) I need new rain clothes 2) the rest of my clothing worked well, not excessively cold when damp. Thanks for the pleasant company, Goody!
The Mount Benson Project continues to roll along. During the summer, we spent our time diverting water and shoring up the eroding bank. Since then, we have been reluctant to do any work that relies on the integrity of the work previously done. When the fall rains arrived, we examined the results of the work, and it appears that most of the water is being diverted off the trail. Though there is still more work to be done in this area, we are ready to move into some other areas of work.
On Wednesday, October 30, Dustin and Matthew loaded their backpacks and set out with adhesive, rebar, and hammer drill do work that added steps in a few key places within our section.
Our first work party for the Mount Benson project was a huge success! Six people made the hour-long hike up to the project site. As a large group we cleared the old logs out of the normally boggy section and dug a few holes for the concrete footings used for the walkway.
We started off just after 9 a.m. under clear skies, with just a couple other vehicles in the parking lot. After crossing Witchcraft Lake, we headed up the far right trail to the waterfall, or what would be a waterfall in warmer temps. We crossed McGarrigle Creek and as there’d been more snow since I’d been up this way the previous Wednesday, we broke trail for the next 2 hours. With the fresh snow blanketing the ground and the trees, it was truly a winter wonderland! After we reached the old road, we made new tracks as far as Gordie’s Trail, and even then, no one had recently been that way. It wasn’t until we came to the junction with the other trails, Fossil and Rafe’s Way, that the snow was tracked. I had thought, that with the new snow, the way to the top wouldn’t be as slippery as it could be, but I was wrong! It was treacherous, and once we reached the summit we put on our traction devices, and for the descent we were glad we did! Three other people (and their dog) were on the summit when we arrived, and others soon joined us, and we saw several more as we went down. It took us just over 3 hours to ascend; 2 hours down. A wonderful outing with a great group!
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
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.
Five intrepid Ramblers and one guest (Karen’s son Nick) met early on Mother’s Day at a popular [redacted by request of Department of National Defence ] before heading to [redacted by request of Department of National Defence ] 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 [redacted by request of Department of National Defence ] 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.
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.
Sunday June 11, 7 hikers signed up for Mt. Benson car shuttle doing the Outer route. After many emails making sure the car shuttle would work and we have enough cars, so no one had to wait, it worked out 100%.