The Next Hike

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

Next Hike.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 21st October.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we decided on doing a hike we had not done for a year or more and headed for the start of the Mt. Manzanita Trail.  I had trouble finding it and thought we needed to walk north from where we had parked, but it turned out to be a true stone's throw from where we had parked.  Nonetheless we had all got nicely warmed up with the brisk walking on the road and started along the well marked trail through the forest. Once we had reached the edge of the recent regrowth area of forest things got more difficult and there was lots of bushy branches to cut off as the young saplings still had vigorous branches right down to the ground. Once we got onto the open logging road we made good progress up the long but steady climb to the start of the final very steep 'goat trail' to the open bluff at the very top. It was disappointing at first  to find we had climbed into thick fog with nothing to be seen in any direction but the tops of nearby trees. It was windy and very damp in the fog and we searched for a spot with protection from the strong southeast wind.  Then to everyones great surprise big gaps opened up in the fog and suddenly we started to pick out some houses far below us, then Dick Island and Gillies Bay and as we started to eat lunch the whole ocean cleared and we were looking at the full extent of the Vancouver Island Mountains.   What a delight!
JD. 

Lunching on a cool, windy and for a very short while, very foggy day on Mt. Manzanita.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 14th October.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we had a cool, but dry day for the hike and drove up onto the high ground, along Bell Road and then on the side road to park not far past the Masck Farm road junction. Our destination was the north end of Dragonfly Lake where a small rocky bluff offers a very pleasant lunch spot. Some hikers looked in vain for edible mushrooms as the very long spell of dry weather probably left the undergound parts of the fungus, the mycelium as its called, almost bone dry.

Our native Rough-skinned Newt does prefer to have some moisture in it's habitat and the recent showers seem to have encouraged it to start travelling about in the forest. We came across one very tiny specimen that had ventured onto a dry gravel road on Saturday and I photographed it with human finger-tips to show just how small it was. I was surprised to learn that they can live for more than ten years, and the fact that they have a very toxic poison in their skin no doubt helps them to avoid being eaten by predators.
JD.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 7th October.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we were quite lucky with the weather as the rain held off all through the hike even though it had been raining very hard as we drove up from Gillies Bay.  We again used the new trail around the north end of Third Lake and took the newly cleaned up trail to Mystery Lake.  From there we used a long circular route to get back to Third Lake in the afternoon and it was very nice to be walking along the meandering trails in the forest with the sun rays reaching the ground through  random gaps in the tree canopy.

My photo is of the native Maidenhair Fern that is more often seen in damp places on limestone around Van Anda, but also close to creeks and waterfalls in other parts of the island.
JD.

The delicate and unmistakable frond of the native Western Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum aleuticum.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday 30th September.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we drove towards Bobs Lake and parked at the gravel pit not far from the entrance to the campsite.  Taking a circuitous route through the forest and along part of the gas pipeline right of way we eventually reached Angel Lake, our lunch spot for the day. It was a lovely fall day for a hike and there was no sign yet of hunting activity, but that is bound to change all too soon. 
JD.

Lovely Angel Lake on a perfect day in September. Twin Peaks is the high point in the distance.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 23rd September.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we drove south past Bobs Lake and Angel Lake and parked where the  Anderson Bay Road runs next to the natural gas pipeline for a short distance.  Parking there we then followed the pipeline right of way uphill to the point where the start of the Twin Peaks trail is marked by a couple of cairns. We did the usual thing and visited the side trail to the north viewpoint before taking the steeper trail to the south peak where we ate lunch.  The weather was near perfect with great views in all directions and the sun still strong enough we made use of the shade under the branches of the small trees.

For a few weeks in summer you can often see a fairly large swallow-like bird darting about high in the sky as they "hawk" after high flying insects.  If they happen to be lower down you may be able to see the white bars on the wings, but few people ever get a chance to see one on the ground although I have seen them resting in the middle of our quieter roads after dark.  We have Candi to thank for her excellent photo of a Common Nighthawk resting on the ground. 
JD.

 
The Common Nighthawk is a summer visitor to Texada that we see in flight quite often, but rarely when it's on the ground.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 16th September.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we drove not far south on the road to Davies Bay and parked at the first red gate on the right.  From there the old logging road has some places where the TIFR logging company has replanted the forest with a variety of tree species that are not common on Texada.  Of special interest are a cluster of the giant Sequoia redwoods that are native to the mountains of eastern California, the Sierra Nevada.  To see some of the worlds largest and oldest giant specimens of this species try to visit the Sequoia National Park sometime.
I also noticed they had planted a few deciduous trees that I did not recognize at first, but could see that they looked very similar to the Silver Birch I know from the British Isles. When I checked out the  photos later at home I figured they were actually a native BC birch called Paper Birch, Betula papyrifera.  This species has male and female catkins that are open before the leaves come out and the female ones develop into these green cones you can see in my photo.  Eventually the cones ripen and break up to shed many small seeds with thin paper like wings attached and these get dispersed by the wind.
JD. 
Betula papyrifera - the paper or canoe birch tree leaves with immature green cones. The trunk of this young tree is already quite white.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 9th September.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we decided to start our hike right at the Sunday Marketplace next to the Ballpark, with no driving and a longer time for walking.  Actually we spent so much time looking at things in the forest that the distance we covered was much the same as usual.  Very quickly we were in the area of old growth forest that runs parallel to and on the north side of the large swamp that extends west almost to the Community Hall. The largest trees here are real old timers with several firs and cedars that are many hundreds of years old.  One common understorey shrub in this patch of forest is Devils Club and we were slowed down when we found it had spread over the trail we were trying to follow.  This plant is so totally covered with spines that one has to take great care to avoid getting a sudden and painful experience should you accidentally come into close contact with any part of the plant.   It very seldom flowers, but I have noticed that sometimes when it gets a bit more sunlight exposure after living in deep shade, which it prefers to do, and only then the odd flower spike appears.  The scientific name, Oplopanax horridus, is a good one and you can see in my photo for this week just how nasty it really is.

Our lunch spot was a bluff high above Gillies Bay and it was a memorable day being able to watch for a few minutes some humpback whales actually in the bay not far from shore behaving in quite a frisky fashion for such large creatures.
JD.

Oplopanax horridus or Devil's Club with the seldom seen bright red berries.