February 27th Beginner Snowshoe Trip to Lake Helen Mackenzie

February 27th, 8 Island Mountain Ramblers gathered at Ravel Lodge to head out for an easy snowshoe to Lake Helen Mackenzie. We were expecting poor conditions; overcast, and possibly some rain. We got lucky! We found sun, even if it the sky was dotted with racing windblown clouds the view was spectacular.

Photograph by James Latham

image by Michael Paskevicius
It hasn’t snowed in quite a while in Paradise Meadows, probably it is more likely that it has rained. The snow was icy with a thick crust. Even as we made our way up to the lake, and at the lake, the snow was dense and supported our weight. Our biggest biggest issue was the icy trails, and disappearing snow. The snow covering the bridge before Helen Mackenzie is eroding, only a narrow fin remains. Mo unloaded Hemingway from the sled and carried him across in her arms. I hauled the empty sled across without incident. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

image by Michael Paskevicius

They icy trails offered a minor challenge. The pulk sled rode high on its vinyl runners. On traverses the sled slid sideways. At one point right off the trail, rolling, and ejecting Hemingway onto the snow!  He cried but he settled quickly after the jolt! The crusty snow transferred nothing onto him, so he was happy again shortly after loading him back into the sled. I think Hemingway’s main complaint is when the snow gets on his face and down his neck.

image by Michael Paskevicius

We made the lake in just over an hour, I was surprised at our speed. The hard packed conditions of the trail encouraged as speedy arrival. Because, we arrived so quickly we took our time to enjoy the wonderful sun, and eat our lunch. After feeding the birds and petting some dogs, we left walking across the lake on our way to Battleship Lake.

image by Michael Paskevicius

We arrived back at the parking lot shortly after 1 pm. Again I was surprised by our speed, but the conditions were idea for snowshoeing and the time/distance calculation fit with summer times. We hiked 8 kilometres, and hiked an accumulated elevation of just under 200 metres. Next time we will stop and smell the flowers, or take some pictures to really enjoy the sun! It was a short day but a gooder.

View full album, more than two dozen images!

Puntledge River

— Submitted by John Young
had been scheduled as a snowshoe, ended up being a most enjoyable hike along
the Puntledge River, starting at Stotan Falls and up to the damn at Comos Lake
and back the other side, and in temperatures that seemed almost summer like! We
ambled along, stopping occasionally for Ken Rodonets to inform us of the
industrial history of the area. We rambled for about 5 1/2 hours, and it was
great to get acquainted with a few prospective members. Thanks, Ken, for a most
enjoyable hike. 

Island Mountain Ramblers hiking the Puntledge River in Courtenay

Island Mountain Ramblers hiking the Puntledge River in Courtenay

Island Mountain Ramblers hiking the Puntledge River in Courtenay

Island Mountain Ramblers hiking the Puntledge River in Courtenay

Minnas Ridge

Saturday, 13th of September turned out to be an amazing day!

The Ramblers and several guest hikers comprised a group of thirteen for the hike along Minnas Ridge. We ventured out on this sunny day to visit Minnas Ridge, located south of Mt Cokely, Mt Arrowsmith and west of Mt. Moriarty. From the ridge it is easy to see man’s impact on the back country, including roads cutting through the mountainside

GPS Route with Photographic Annotation


Total Horizontal Distance: 10.4 km
 Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Total Elevation Gain: 844 m
Max Elevation: 1431 m
Starting Elevation: 879m

Many of the hikers rendezvoused at Chapters at 730 am with a secondary stop off point at the Whisky Creek Co-op to pick up Dean and Christine. We were on our way to the Cameron Main turnoff, found near the top of the hump on the Alberni Highway (HWY 4)

Read the Full Report on his blog