Three of the five people on this hike had never participated in a club trip before. Kerry drove from Nanaimo, Dave (Mitch) and I from Qualicum Beach, Sarah drove from Tahsis via Campbell River to pick up Elliott.
We started trudging up the unpleasant remnants of the ski resort around 10:30 and after a few brief pauses arrived at the top at 12:30 where we had lunch.
It grew more overcast during the ascent and clouds obscured the views at the top. We were surprised by the number of folks on the trip, particularly those families with small children. Many dogs also.
Descending the resort caused a few butts to unexpectedly kiss the earth. Would I do the hike again? No, except possibly in winter on snowshoes– should we have a good snow year.
Sept 7 – Phil picked up 3 of us in Parksville Saturday morning at 7:15 – we jumped in with him and headed off to Sutton Pass and the logging road up to the trailhead. The logging road up was quite a trip in itself – apparently the logging company deactivating the road had gone relatively crazy with the waterbars in the last 2 years since Phil and Debbie had been up there. I got a lesson on what my Jeep may be capable of with a competent driver
The Forbidden Plateau Traverse hike was an all women’s hike, with the Alpine Club of Vancouver Island and the Island Mountain Ramblers. We had a lot of interest and a number of cancellations at the last minute so there were only 8 people on the hike.
Once you’ve done enough hiking on Vancouver Island, you will realize that most of the great hiking requires that you drive down a section of industrial gravel road. And that’s if you’re lucky; a good number of these places require walking stretches of road as well. Mount Mitchell is one of those.
Located along the Strathcona Provincial Park boundary, between the Norm Creek Valley and the south arm of the Oyster River Valley, this rocky feature creates a jagged protrusion of that boundary to include the area above 1200 metres into the Park. Below that, the terrain is stripped bare, and roads are visible throughout the surrounding valleys.
Aside from the tragedy of the lost forest, the roads give fast access to the start of our route. In previous years when the gates were open, Mount Mitchell was considered a daytrip. In those days you could access the route either via the Oyster River gates off Highway 19, or from the Boliden-Westmin Road along the Buttle and Park mainlines. However, times change, and so do permissions and road conditions.
Total Distance: 44.9 km
Starting Elevation: 232 m
Maximum Elevation: 1842 m
Total Elevation gain: 2548 m
I set out with the best intentions, leading a trip up Heather Mountain. But after our rendezvous near the highway, the two drivers lost track of each other on the dusty logging road. Though each driver insists they didn’t turn off the logging road, and each drove the length of the road multiple times, we didn’t make it to the trailhead. We must have passed each other three times.
On Saturday, July 20th five hikers set off on their first trip to Cape Scott. After meeting up at the North Coast Trail Backpackers Hostel in Port Hardy, we went for dinner and checked out the local Filomi Festival.
Sunday morning, we arrived at the trailhead, eager to get started after 1 hr 45 min on the logging road. We followed the well used trail past the Eric Lake campsite, over the new bridge at Fisherman River, and past the junction to Nels Bight before arriving at Nissen Bight 5 hours later, our home for the next two nights. After setting up camp, we headed to the water source at the opposite end of the beach. No whales were spotted, but we did see a large black bear happily grazing on the grasses above the beach. We arrived back at camp ready to relax and enjoy dinner, and were treated to a beautiful sunset that evening.
July 6th was going to be a busy day for our work party. There were 8 volunteers signed up but as the forecast worsened the cancellations started arriving. By the time we hit the trail, there were three souls that braved the misty conditions to do a day’s work on the trail.
For the day we focussed on installing an extra step in the eroding bank, stabilizing the bank by installing extra width on one of the steps, hauling more debris into the off route sections, and trimming wood obstacles that could hook a hiker’s foot. A big part of the project is doing sustainable work that withstand the test of time, and that means controling the flow of water. Much of the trail erosion has been made worse by the waterfall that forms on the trail and flows down a large portion of our section.
I’m not a fair-weather hiker; in fact, I’m pretty stubborn. There are countless times when we’ve hiked despite a crappy forecast. Often, the poor weather never manifests, and instead we get something better; but more often, it’s worse. About the only time the weather stops us is when we are sitting high and dry in the vehicle at a trail head while a storm rages on outside. Then there are those unique hikes, the ones done on sunny days after an overnight downpour, when you end up with soaking clothing in hot weather. You chafe, your boots get waterlogged, and you feel wet, yet hot and uncomfortable at the same time.
Our trip to Hidden Peak (July 11th) was an example of uncooperative weather – that which changes for the worse when you need it most. Although we started our journey with the promise of good weather, it became much worse before we got to the good stuff.
Total Distance: 14.6 km
Starting Elevation: 276 m
Maximum Elevation: 1455 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1492 m
Total Time: 14 hours