The Next Hike

Check here every week for details on the next Trekker hike!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 18th August.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

As the chance to swim at Mystery Lake was such a popular option last week and the good weather seems likely to continue there may be another warm lake to swim in again this week. 

Last week we ran into problems before we even got close to the parking place.  We needed to reach the road junction where Thompson Rd. meets the steep road that climbs up from the Shingle Beach Rd and past the Stromberg Falls, but Forestry had been busy on it since the last time we had used it.  This road has been in very good condition for very many years with never any tendency to get washed out.  However, we found we were faced with crossing a series of "water bars", steep sided ditches cut across the road that make it very difficult for even high clearance 4 by 4's to cross them without being damaged underneath.
A happy group of hikers at the secluded Mystery Lake after a picnic lunch and for some a chance to swim in delightfully warm fresh water.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 12th August.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Special Feature:  There may be a chance hikers will be able, if they wish, to go for a lake swim at lunchtime on the upcoming hike on Saturday.  To get to the lake I have in mind we need to have vehicles that can handle a fairly steep section of road — so 4x4 with decent road clearance.  A shuttle arrangement is a possible alternative solution.

Last week we hiked along the beach from Sandbanks to Cox Lagoon and the Airport.  At lunchtime on the beach we were lucky enough to have a pod of Orcas coming past heading south some way offshore.  The smoke from the forest fires was quite bad so without binoculars it was difficult to see the whales properly.  I had hoped to see some Harbour Porpoise so that I could report on them to the Vancouver Aquarium who were conducting a "Cetacean Census"  during the long weekend in our northern part of the Salish Sea. However, porpoises are sometimes killed and eaten by transient Orcas so that may the reason we did not get to see any.  I did return on Monday to see if any cetaceans were around, but saw no marine mammals apart from a single seal.

The tide was very low so a very good time to introduce a young visitor to some interesting sea life.  There were crabs, and sea anemones, a few starfish, and even a rarely seen ghost shrimp someone had found.  The grey area on the right In my photo is part of a waste dump at the Lafarge quarry. 

Hiking over the rocks on the beach at Sandbanks. At low tide much of the beach is sand rather than rocks and a great area to wander around in.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 5th August.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week it was nice to have a much larger hiking group than usual as we welcomed many visitors to the island from Victoria and Alberta.  As usual we try to impress visiting hikers by taking them on one or other of our very best hiking routes and this time we picked the Bloody Mountain and Mt. Davies summit one.  Sure enough that panoramic view from the lunch spot was greeted with some quite enthusiastic comments.  On the way up we stopped to view the larger of the beaver ponds on the south slope of the mountain.  It was remarkable just how high the water level was for this time of year — and the big water lily leaves were still so green and fresh looking. Before heading down after lunch someone noticed they could see Mt. Baker looking fairly clear in the far distance.  That's a bit unusual as it happens most often in clear weather in springtime rather than in midsummer.  A few days later the grey smoke from the massive interior forest fires arrived on the coast and very long distance visibility took a dive. 
I must thank the photographer for the photo for this week and I thought it nice to be able to include one of me for a change.  Usually I'm the one taking photos of the hikers as a group, but this time the roles are reversed.  

The Trekker Master on the summit of Mount Davies on a day with very pleasant hiking conditions a couple of days before the arrival
of smoke from the interior forest fires. July 2017.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Next Hike from Gillies Bay - meet at the Community Hall.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 29th July.
We meet at the Community Hall in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week it was Sandcastle Weekend so the group of hikers was very small. We drove part way to Van Anda and parked close to the old farmhouse with the covered verandah all round it. Walking north along the main road a short distance brought us to an overgrown logging road that heads north for about a kilometre. This is an old Trekkers trail that we used to use quite often before the forest had managed to reclaim much of it and some logging had destroyed a good deal of the flagged trail closer to Van Anda.  We had some problems, but eventuially reached the lunch spot with it's view north from the gasline towards Harwood Island. 

My photo is one I took last week on a plant hunting trip to the Bobs Lake area. It shows a part of the beaver pond near Bloody Mt. viewpoint that we pass close to on the south trail to the top of Mt. Davies. I had not realized just how large the pond actually was, and just how lovely it can look when the rains have kept the water level higher than usual quite late into the summer.  The strip of white along the edge of the water in the distance is from the fluffy seed heads of cotton grass, not flowers.

A large beaver pond on the south side of Mt. Davies.  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Next Hike - from the Community Hall.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 22nd July.
Because of the Sandcastle events at the Ballpark we will meet at the Community Hall in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we headed off on the long dusty drive to the start of the Cook Bay Rd. at the foot of Mt. Davies.  Hiking first on the road that leads to Bobs Lake we branched off down the Gentian Lake Trail and had a pleasant lunch under the trees at the beaver dam on the west side of the lake.

When we hiked in the Blubber Bay area a couple of weeks ago we visited two active eagles nests and my photo this time is of one of those nests with two youngsters quietly wating for the parents to return with food.  In the photo the nest is the mass of twigs at the bottom and one of the young is facing the camera standing on a branch on the left side while the other one is facing away from the camera on the right side.  Only wing feathers and part of it's tail is visible as some leafy branches are in the way.

Eagle Nest at Blubber Bay with two juveniles waiting for the next food delivery

Friday, July 14, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 15th July.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we drove to Blubber Bay and parked on the left of the main road at the gate for the gasline pumping station road. We walked north to see the pipeline facilities where the company inserts and retrieves the pipeline inspection pigs, and then on to visit Glass Beach and a nearby eagle nest.  From there we took the short trail through the woods to the cottages at Clam Bay and then back to the main road again.  We headed through the quarry and down to the beach access where the BC Cemnet Rd ends at the gate where the road to Grilse Pt. starts. As a brief side visit to a local point of interest that some of us had never seen before we were guided through some trees behind an old house foundation to find the massive concrete structure in my photo.  This was a concrete water tower built by BC Cement Co. to serve the houses of it's employees who worked in the limstone quarries along the shoreline as well as at the crushing plant and loading dock close by.   BC Cement was the company that operated the big Bamberton Quarry and cement manufacturing plant near Victoria for many years and the Texada operation was set up to supply extra crushed limestone from Texada.

In the afternoon we walked out to Grilse Pt. and visited with the seals that always seem to hang out in the same place at the end of a short trail that passes the site of the local radio transmitter in the last quarry on the right.  

Concrete water tower at BC Cement townsite, Blubber Bay.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Next hike from Van Anda, again!

The next hike will be on Saturday, 8th July.
We meet at the Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.

Last week we drove from Van Anda towards Blubber Bay and parked on the curve of the road at the top of the last hill before the road reaches the ferry dock. A gravel road there crosses the gas line and soon reaches a locked steel gate. Just past the gate an old trail heads down to the beach at the south end of Linekiln Bay.  We could have followed the trail along the top of the low cliff, but the tide was low enough to walk on the rocks instead. After crossing a small beach the trail continues around the hammer shaped headland of Marshall Point.  This is an especially attractive stretch of coastline with seals on the rocks and interesting wild flowers and rare species of Juniper trees along the shore. We lunched on the beach facing Crescent Bay and returned to Van Anda with plenty of time to visit the Texada Museum where a new mine exhibit had just been opened to the public in the morning.

A curious rotten tree stump near Russ Creek.