The Next Hike

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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 31st December.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we hiked up from the Pocahontas Bay bypass logging road through the forest to the edge of a large clear cut quite high up on the side of the mountain.  However, it rained continuously and we never had much of a view except of the forest along the winding logging road.  It was a pleasant enough kind of hike, and no one complained too much about the showers of water that fell on us each time a gust of wind shook the tree branches above our heads while we ate lunch. 

It was too wet for photos that day so I've used instead one I took a week earlier during the annual Christmas bird count.  There is an old barge loading dock in Van Anda that makes a perfect area for our resident cormorants to rest between fishing trips in the nearby waters.
JD.

      
     A group of Double Crested Cormorant on an old barge loading dock at the now closed Lafarge Cement quarry in Van Anda.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 24th December.  
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

The hike last week was to the Favada Point area.  I had to miss it, but I know the quite new trail is one of the best in the area and I'm sure John Wood enjoyed showing the hikers his route to the high viewpoint and the open bluffs high above Big Beach.   

The photo this week was taken on a recent hike by Tom Scott who definitely has a good eye for an unusual view of a common enough subject.  His title for the shot is "Mother Nature's Christmas Decorations".  I find it curious that the bright colour and odd shape of the unopened buds makes them look like those coloured man-made ornaments so popular for Christmas tree decoration.
JD.

"Mother Nature's Christmas Decorations" Tom Scott photo.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Next Hike from Van Anda

The next hike will be on Saturday, 17th December.
We meet at the Royal Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.

The plan for the hike is to drive over to James Mack's place where the sealions are again back in great numbers and they should offer some good photo opportunities. Usually there are a mix of both our species, the smaller and usually darker California's and the very much larger and often quite light tan coloured Steller's. 

Last week we drove up towards Thompson Road and parked at the top of the steepest hill.  From there the hike took us higher and we eventually found ourselves getting into a high elevation fog. We could have remained just below the fog and continued along Thompson Road, but I was keen to show some of our newer hikers the secluded Mystery Lake and that  meant going somewhat higher, and into the fog. When we reached the shores of the lake it was not unexpected to find it frozen and shrouded in mist. We chose for lunch the steep wooded bank between the lake shore and the old logging road.  About ten minutes later, and much to my surprise and delight the fog lifted just enough and suddenly we could see right across the lake to the far shore. 
JD.

Lunch beside a lightly frozen Mystery Lake after the fog had lifted.








Friday, December 9, 2011

Next Hike

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

Here is a very late notice of the Potluck Dinner on Sunday.

 The holiday season is fast approaching and so is the TICS-sponsored potluck dinner. The information is much the same as before:
·         December 11th this year
·         Doors at 5:30ish, dinner to start about 6 (hopefully)
·         TICS will supply turkey, ham, gravy and stuffing. Everyone else is asked to bring a side dish or a dessert (we do this as a true potluck – I don't need to know what is being brought)
·         We will be applying for a licence so everyone can bring wine or beer, but it must be store-bought…no homemade spirits, please.
·         There is no cost involved, but we ask people to bring a donation to the food bank.

Please forward to me by Friday if you wish to attend the Holiday Volunteer Potluck Dec 11th and have not already been counted under another group.

- Timothy Atwood
Coordinator, Texada Stickleback Group
604-483-8008

Last week the weather was not all that great, but it remained more or less dry with low cloud and quite poor visibility.  We did a circular hike starting from the roadside gravel pit near Second Lake, then along the gasline going south and over the ridges to Thompson Road.  Turning north and then east we reached the lunch spot on a small bluff at the edge of the forest.  From there the trail twists and turns, rising and falling and eventually, after taking a quick look at Third Lake, taking us back to the gasline and our starting point.
JD.

Lunch on a small bluff above Thompson Road.



 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 3rd December.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we faced quite poor weather conditions for hiking. There had been a fair amount of rain for a few days and it seemed likely there would be a lot of water coming down over the Stromberg Falls, but this turned out to not be the case.  The falls were more gentle than I expected with none of the roar and spray we sometimes see.  Never mind, they were a nice treat for the hikers who had not visted the falls before.  After that we drove quite some way up the road to a suitable place to park and hiked on from there.  It was windy, cool and drizzly as we climbed higher and we had almost reached the Hydro Reactor Station by lunch time.  A few patches of snow here and there gave the rocky landscape a wintery look and we sheltered from the gusty wind in the lee of a small cliff.

My photo this week is a very close shot of a very rare plant that is related to ferns, but not a true fern.  Called Adder's Tongue Fern or Ophioglossum pusillum to the botanists, it's found here and there over quite a large area from Bell Farm south to Twin Peaks  with quite a few colonies around Bobs Lake and Angel Lake.  In this particular photo I was able to capture the brief time when the spores are released from the vertical reproductive part of this diminutive plant.  The horizontal brown bars are the ripe spores.  This is a red listed plant in BC meaning that it has a high high degree of legal protection. 
JD.

   
   A very close shot of an Adder's Tongue Fern showing the rows of ripe brown spores.





Thursday, November 24, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 26th November.
We meet at the Ballpark at Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week the island was almost entirely snow covered, but there was still a narrow strip along the shoreline north and south of Gillies Bay that had little or none on the ground the morning of the hike.  To avoid getting into conditions of wet and slippery snow underfoot and heavy snow on tree branches we decided to do a low elevation hike this time.  Driving just the short distance to the Mouat Creek Bridge on Davie Bay Road we hiked south taking the old logging road that runs less far inland than the main road to Shingle Beach.  The destination for lunch was a secluded "pocket beach", one of several tiny beaches on this otherwise rocky stretch of coastline.  In the open the recent snow gave the driftwood logs a wintery cap of white as we sat in quite comfortable, bright and windless weather beside a calm sea.
JD.

  
Lunch on a pocket beach near the mouth of Eagle Creek. 

  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 19th November.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week the weather was not too bad but raingear was certainly needed.  We drove south past Davie Bay and parked just before reaching the power line to Vancouver Island.  The hike was to Shingle Beach campground where we sat to eat lunch in the dry under the rustic roof of a small bandstand which was built as one of the facilities for the annual Diversity Music Festival.  
My photo this week was taken on the gas pipeline near Twin Peaks close to a small forest lake.  It's shows a cluster of yellow flowering plants that are classed as noxious and invasive weeds.  This one is called Tansy Ragwort or Jacobaea vulgaris, and is native to Northern Europe including the British Isles. There is a problem with when it gets established in pasture land as it's poisonous to some domestic animals included horses.  Most farm animals don't eat the growing plants because they have a bitter taste, but if dry after cutting as part of a hay crop they are eaten and cause liver damage over a period of time.  The plant has become quite widespread over the southern part of Texada and seems to be increasing along roadsides, old logging roads and along the gas pipeline right of way. 
JD.

 
Tansy Ragwort, Jacobaea vulgaris [or Senecio jacobaea] a noxious weed on the gasline near Twin Peaks.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Next hike.

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

My photo this week is one I took on a recent hike. I am often able to put names to the fungi I see on Texada, and I am certainly able to identify some of the more popular edible ones.  However, there are many fungi that are hard to identify even though very striking in appearance and the cluster of bright orange-red ones in my photo are not ones I know by name.  They really glow with colour even on a dull day and in a shady location and it's a mystery to me why they should be this way.  I have no idea if they are poisonous or edible, but they certainly make an eye catching picture!
JD.

 A brilliant orange-red coloured mushroom, species unknown.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove up to Bell Farm and then turned north and on down past the White Pine research area to park at the old Russ Creek Bridge.  Hiking along the old logging roads heading north took us through areas of fairly mature forest with a dense enough canopy to limit the shrubby vegetation at ground level.  This gives the forest floor a mainly moss cover over the ground surface and suitable conditions for many different kinds of fungi.  While we continue to get some rain from time to time the mushrooms have been slow to appear so far and not all that many edible ones were collected again this week.  Lunch was on Taylor Bluffs with its view over Malaspina Strait to the mainland mountains, north to Powell River and south to Nelson Island and Pender Harbour. Close to the lunch spot I photographed an odd species of fungus that looks like worms rising up from the ground. Clavaria purpurea, or Purple Fairy Club belongs to a group that includes the coral and club fungi. 
JD.

   
   Purple Fairy Club, Clavaria purpurea in a bed of mosses.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 29th October.
We meet at the Ballpark at Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

A lichen is not just one organism, but a fungus and algae living together to form a new organism. Each of the two kinds of plants do best if they are living together, but each can often survive separately. My photo, which I took on the last midweek hike, is of Cladonia coccifera one species of a group of lichens that are found worldwide in the northern arctic and tundra regions.  A common name for some species of Cladonia is reindeer or caribou moss although they are of course lichens and not mosses.  An interesting feature of these two similar mammal species is that they have microorganisms in their digestive systems that help them digest the lichens that form such an important part of their diet. While lichens tend to be very slow growing, often just a millimetre or two a year, they readily absorb and concentrate atomic radiation which can be harmful to the animals which feed on it.
JD.

Sometimes called British Soldiers this lichen, Cladonia coccifera, is quite common on Texada.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 22nd October.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we headed up to the high ground again to get away from the fog and parked in the old gravel pit near Bobs Lake.  Hiking down the old logging spur through the forest to the south of the pit we found ourselves getting into fog once more as the road dropped in elevation.  But then our trail started to climb and we were soon walking in and out of patches of brilliant sunshine.  After a while our route took us along quite a long open stretch of the Anderson Bay road with interesting wetland and beaver ponds on our left, turning off eventually and along the short side road to our lunch spot beside Angel Lake. This is quite a popular fishing spot for trout and someone had left their fishing boat upturned at the boat launching spot. 
JD.

Angel Lake a popular trout fishing spot.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Next Hike.

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

Last week we hiked on the high ground in the Bobs Lake area to please the hikers who were keen on gathering some early edible mushrooms. There were very few fungi of any kind to be seen anywhere, but a few small fresh boletes were spotted and picked. The weather was dull and overcast and a strong south-east wind was noticeable in open areas.  For lunch we just sat beside a small creek and then afterwards visited an attractive but tiny lake on a side road. 

This is the time of year when the geese are heading south in high-flying flocks that are often heard from quite a long distance away.  Some people are not aware that the flocks we see and hear are not all just Canada Geese.  There are in fact two other species coming over on fall migration and I managed to photograph a flock of about one hundred Snow Geese when we stopped for lunch on a beach on the midweek hike.  You usually need binoculars to see their distinctive black wingtips and white bodies, but listen carefully and you can tell them from the Canadas by their higher pitched calls.  The third and much less common species are the White-fronted Geese.  From time to time there are a few individuals of these two species that choose to stop and rest and feed in open areas in Gillies Bay and I've attached photos of them to earlier hike emails.  The one species of geese that don't usually migrate along the coast in the fall are the Black Brant.  Most of them take a shortcut from Alaska to Mexico by flying south on a route far out over the Pacific Ocean. 
JD.

PS You can view many of my older hike emails by going to this website:—


You can pass this web address to friends who are not on the mailing list.

Snow Geese crossing Mouat Bay and heading south to the Lower Mainland for the winter.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 8th October.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we drove part way along the High Road and parked near the turnoff to Pocahontas Bay. The weather was not very nice, foggy and light rain at first, but drying out later on. As there seemed to be little chance of a view at any time during the hike I decided to check on an old logging road I had known about for many years, but had never bothered to explore. It starts from the well used route to the old fire lookout on Pocahontas and runs south towards the part of the mountain with the towers. It proved to be quite easy walking, except for some young wet and leafy branches, but still fairly open. We eventually stopped for lunch when, much to everyone's surprise, the fog began to clear, the rain stopped and the sun came out. Our old road was just a few steps from the edge of a steep ridge and we ate lunch in comfort with a fine view towards the airport and the Vancouver Island mountains.

My photo this week was taken on the midweek hike last week when we hiked from near the Bell Farm along older forest logging roads, past a quiet beaver pond, to as viewpoint high above Malaspina Strait. Just before we sat down for lunch I was able to get some good closeup shots of a sleeping Garter Snake on a bed of moss. Snakes don't have eyelids so you have to watch them to see if they move, which they almost certainly will do if awake. This one is probably a Striped Garter Snake, one of our three species, which has extra large eyes and usually three stripes yellow or greenish-yellow in colour. When it did finally wake up, it flicked its tongue a few times and moved slowly away.
JD.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 1st October.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week the hike started from Gillies Bay in thick fog, but quite soon and as we gained elevation we left the fog behind.  The drive was longer than usual as we had to get south of both Bobs Lake and Angel Lake to reach the parking place on the road to Anderson Bay where the old road down to Cook Bay branches off on the left.  The weather proved to be quite warm, dry and bright as we walked north along the grassy gas pipeline right of way where it crosses the lower slopes of Twin Peaks.  Reaching the trail marker rock cairn at the high point we headed into the forest and began the steepest section of the trall and soon reached the south peak of the mountain.  This open area has spectacular views of both the coast mountains on one side and the Vancouver Island Mountains on the other.  The wind was quite strong making this our usual spot for lunch a tad uncomfortable, so headed back down the main trail and then took the other trail at the col that heads up again and north to the other peak.  On the way the trail crosses a mossy bluff that was out of the wind, warm and ideal for lunch.  My photo today was one I took at the North Peak last Saturday looking down on part of Lasqueti and to the Vancouver Island Mountains beyond.
JD.
 

A mountain top view from Twin Peaks looking down on Lasqueti and to the Vancouver Island Mountains beyond. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Next Hike,

The next hike will be on Saturday 24th September.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we met in Van Anda and hiked south from James Mack's cottage near Maple Bay.  For most of the small group of hikers this was their first visit to this wonderful stretch of coastline, the weather was way better than the forecasters had figured it would be and the day was just perfect in every way. On the way to Favada point we got close to some basking seals and peeped through the trees to watch them wriggle and growl until we disturbed them and all madly dashed into the water.  Taking the winding trail south we soon reached Cabin Cove and searched without success for signs of blue camas which I had seen there a couple of years ago.  Lunch was on the steep grassy bluff overlooking the cove and dessert was the dark and juicy berries of the Evergreen Huckleberry shrubs [Vaccineum ovatum] that line the old logging road trail back to our starting place.

My photo this week is from the last midweek hike which took us a little way up Gillies Bay Creek.  An old tree that had dropped across the creek may years ago is now covered in moss with bracket fungus and ferns growing out to make a most attractive composition. 
JD.  

Bracket fungus and licorice fern on a mossy log spanning Gillies Bay Creek.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Next Hike from Van Anda

The next hike will be on Saturday, 17th September.

We meet at the Legion parking at 10:00am.

Last week we drove down the long winding hill to our parking place at Hydro East. Hiking north this time we enjoyed the gentle gradients of the shady old logging road through the forest that eventually took us to a turnoff to a secluded beach. This was a new discovery last year when the weather had been cool and damp — so much nicer this time on a lovely warm and sunny late summer day. My photo shows the view as we hiked north with the steep southern slope of Black Mountain high above us in the distance.

JD.
Hiking north from Hydro East on a warm late summer day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 10th September.


We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we parked at the start of the Cook Bay Road at the foot of Mt. Davies and hiked to Bobs Lake campsite to see how busy it was on a perfect late summer day. It was no surprise to find it as quiet as usual with no campers there to disturb the tranquility of the lake. From there it was on along the road around the east side of the lake and then up the steep winding trail through the woods to the top of Mt. Flicker for lunch. The spectacular panoramic view extends to the Vancouver Island Mountains with a glimpse of Twin Peaks and Mt. Shepherd through trees on our left. The route back swung around the north side of the lake, through the forest for a while and along the gas line right of way, then west on old logging roads and back to the vehicles. On this last part of the hike I spotted and managed to photograph a checkered brown butterfly that I felt must be one of the fritillaries. It took a fair amount of study to put a name to it when I got back home as there are so many different species and subspecies in this group of butterflies. I'm pretty sure it's a Hydaspe Fritillary a species found quite widely in the Pacific Northwest.

JD.
A Hydaspe Fritillary butterfly feeding on a thistle near Bobs Lake. Speyeria hydaspe.



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 3rd September.


We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.


Last week we hiked uphill from the Davie Bay road, along Thompson Road and then up again through the forest to our lunch spot on the bluff above Balanced Rock Lake. It was a lovely day and on the way back downhill along the logging roads there were quite a few butterflies to be seen darting from flower to flower in search of nectar. My photo taken that afternoon is of a clean looking male Pine White feeding on the tiny rosette flowers of a roadside daisy. The females are quite similar to the males, but they lack the neat network of fine black lines on the underside of the rear wings. This species is most abundant in August and is widespread in the Pacific Northwest. The eggs are laid on the needles of pines and firs and are unusual in not hatching until the following spring. The caterpillars feed on the soft young needles and the third stage of the lifecycle is a short one with the adults emerging while there are still plenty of flowers around.

JD.


A male Pine White butterfly feeding on a roadside daisy flower.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Next Hike.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 27th August.


We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we drove south past Bobs Lake and Angel Lake and parked on the sharp bend where the road passes the southern tip of Angel Lake. From here we walked a short distance along an old logging road that used to provide access down to the Cook Bay road. However, about a decade or so ago some diligent beavers raised the height of their dam and flooded a fairly long section of the road. Normally this would not have been too much of a problem in this area as the forest is fairly open, but this stretch of road had a very steep hillside on one side of it and much too steep for a bypass trail. Some years ago I started but did not finish a bypass so I decided to ask my hiking companions if they would like to help me finish the trail, which they did. We sat down for lunch beside the offending beaver dam and then headed back to our vehicle feeling very satisfied with our achievement.


This beaver pond seems to be especially suitable for treefrog reproduction as we found quite a number of them during our hike, some of the usual bright green variety, but others with darker colouring. My photo is of one of the darker individuals that allowed me to get close enough for a nice shot. Note the distinctive pads on it's fingertips.

JD.

A darker variety of the common Treefrog not far from Angel Lake.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 20th August.


We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

At the south end of Texada there are two Provincial Parks, a very large one called South Texada Provincial Park and a much smaller one the Anderson Bay Park. The latter is relatively easy to reach by road although there is a long steep section with rough gravel that requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle. The lower elevation of the larger park can also be reached on old logging roads, but the really impressive and rugged upper section that includes the summit of Mt. Shepherd is trail access only. Recently I took a work party up there to clean up the access route which had become blocked by windfall trees and vigorous branch growth. My photo this week was one I took that day as we prepared to tackle the last and steepest section of trail to the summit. The wetlands in the park are filled with water this summer because of the abundance of rain that was falling so frequently until the end of July. Consequently the vegetation everywhere is more lush and green than usual in late summer as you can see in my picture. The large leaves in the foreground belong to the native yellow flowered Water Lily.


JD.


A shallow lake at the foot of Mt. Shepherd, South Texada Provincial Park.








Friday, August 12, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 13th August.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we hiked from our parking place on the gasline right of way not far south of the Vancouver Island Hydro line up to the top of Mt. Davies. It was a lovely day and the parts of the hike through the open forest on the slopes of the mountain were very pleasant indeed. My photo shows the slightly hazy view across to Vancouver Island in the far distance.
JD.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 4th August.

We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.


Last week we hiked past the Hydro Reactor Station [non-nuclear, just electrical] and found a new spot for lunch that has quite a panoramic view to the west. On an earlier hike near First Lake we saw a couple of the common Banana Slug that had unusual markings and one provided my photo of the week. For a long time I wondered why they have the common name they have and have just found out that in some parts of their range the usual colour is quite a bright yellow. In our area they tend to be greyish green with variable darker markings. This one was different in having quite a contrast between the light and dark areas of the body.

JD.



A Banana Slug with unusual markings.




Friday, July 29, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 30th July.

We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.


Last week we hiked to the top of Black Mountain. Now that the weather has become quite a bit warmer if was very pleasant to be walking in the shade of the forest for much of the time. There are plans to log some of the forest at the foot of the mountain, but hopefully the forest on the steep slopes where our trail zig-zags towards the summit will remain untouched.

My photo for this week was taken the mid week hike on an old logging road not far from First Lake. I think the extra rains in spring and early summer contributed to the outstanding natural floral displays this year.

JD.
Foxgloves and daisies on an old logging road near First Lake. Neither of these two species is native to Texada.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The next hike.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 23rd July.


We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we hiked in steady rain from Spragge Road down to Raven Bay where we ate lunch, in the rain, and hiked back by a different route, also in steady rain. What a curious summer we are having — so much rainy weather and not much sunshine.

My photo this time is one I took on a recent midweek hike when it was actually dry and quite sunny. Our native Garter Snake is quite often seen in pools, creeks and swamps where they hunt for small fish, tadpoles and small frogs. This one was in a small roadside pool not far from the airport.

JD.



A garter snake swimming in a small pool of water where it was probably searching for tadpoles.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Next Hike — meet at Community Hall

The next hike will be on 16th July, 2011.


We meet this week at the Community Hall in Gillies Bay at 10:00am to avoid the Sandcastle crowds.

Last week we hiked from Hydro East Road up through the forest and under the wires to the small lake near the top of the right of way.

My photo today is of a neat little plant that grows on the forest floor and flowers at this time of year. A couple of common names for it are Little Prince's Pride and Menzies Pipsissiwa and the scientific name Chimaphila menziesii. The distribution in BC is more or less restricted to Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland, but there are a few records of it being found north towards Prince Rupert.

JD.

Little Prince's Pine flowering in July on the forest floor near Surprise Mountain.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday 9th July.


We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we ran into some problems on the old trails we were hiking and a lot of time and effort was spent clearing along the way. Quite unexpected was a stretch of old logging road that was flooded over such a long distance we had to cut long bypass trails to avoid the mud and water. Eventually we reached the lunch spot on the west side of Third Lake about an hour later than my plan, but everyone agreed the effort was well worth it in the end.

JD.

PS. This Saturday is the day of the beach-side pot luck at Sandy's.

Lunch beside quiet and secluded Third Lake.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Next Hike & invitations.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 1st July.


We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

There are two invitations, one for this Saturday, one for next Saturday.

Brian & Rosemary are inviting hikers back to their house in Gillies Bay on this Saturday for drinks and little bites right after the hike.

Then for next week the invitation is to a fabulous.........

MOUAT BAY BEACH PARTY & POT LUCK - Sat., July 9, 4 pm


Please join us for our second Mouat Bay beach party and pot luck!


Try our crazy 20-hoop obstacle croquet or horseshoe pitch and join the fun.

Bring your favorite squeeze, something for the pot luck table and BYOB.
Hope to see you there!

Sandy & Lee
(604) 223-0171

My photo this week was taken a few days ago on the north side of Surprise Mountain. These vivid spikes of flowers are the only part of this plant that rises above the ground, the rest being stems with roots that make use of the mycelium of a mushroom species that itself takes food from organic material in the soil. There are several different common names for this plant, Candystick, Sugarstick, Candystripe and Barber's Pole are some, but all reflect the brilliant colour pattern of this perennial plant. In BC this species seems to be pretty well limited to Vancouver Island and in just a few places on the mainland near the coast.


JD.
The vivid spikes of the Candystick plant, Allotropa virgata.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 25th June.


We meet at the Ballpark at Gillies Bay a 10:00am.


My photo was one I took earlier this month while hiking along Mouat Creek. Dragonflies are starting to become more abundant in early summer and I think this one was quite recently hatched from the aquatic nymph stage. It's not often we get to have such a closeup look at these highly active insects, but I think the photo shows rather well just how intricate are the colour patterns on the long abdomen. I'm fairly certain this is a female of the Darner group of dragonflies, but the actual species is harder to determine. My tentative ID is the very common California Darner.


JD.



A Darner Dragonfly, probably the quite common California Darner, Rhionaeschna californica

Friday, June 17, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 18th June.


We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am


On the Saturday hike last week we drove up over the top of the island, where we found ourselves in steady rain and with poor visibility, and continued down the Cook Bay Road in search of drier conditions. As we approached the gate that marks the start of the private land we were well below the cloud and beyond the rain shower so decided to hike from there. Taking the side road that ends at the cottage at the far south end of Shingle Beach and after chatting to the owner who was busy with repairs to his gate we eventually reached the pleasant grassy bluffs close to the water and had lunch there.


The abundant foxgloves that cover many recent logging areas and roadsides all over the island are well into their flowering season. They seem to have benefited from the extra rainfall this year and I was surprised to find one patch this week that had quite a number with the curious 'terminal flower' mutation. My photo is a closeup of one of these quite striking oddities.



The curious terminal flower on the top of a Foxglove spike.

To view older hike emails and photos go to: http://www.gilliesbay.ca/ and then click on the tab "Texada Trekkers".


JD.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 11th June.



We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.


Last week we hiked to the top of Mount Manzanita. This is a peak that lies to the east of Bell Road and not very far north of the old Bell Farm site. The approach to the top is quite steep, but otherwise the route follows a pleasant forest trail and old logging roads with gentle grades. The view west from the top covers 180 degrees from Surprise Mt. in the north west right around to Mt Davies and Mt. Grant in the south east.

My photo is of a small common native plant in grassy areas, flowering in early summer and catching the eye with its bright little flowers. There are more than one species of violet on Texada, with the yellow and violet flowered species being the most common.


JD.
Violets in bloom at the top of Mount Manzanita.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Next hike.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 4th June.

We meet at the Ball Park in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Here is a request for volunteers to help with an outdoor activity event planned for late August on Texada. Monica Garvin monicagarvin@yahoo.com asked me to post this note:—


"Texada Island is holding it's very first Marathon / 1/2 Marathon on Sunday, August 28th. An event like this is a fantastic way to get people to come and visit our amazing Island! As with all amazing events it needs the help of volunteers to make it a success. Be a part of "Run the Rock Marathon and 1/2 Marathon" without even breaking a sweat!

Please email me back if you are interested. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone you think may like to help us out!"

On a recent hike we visited the beach along the section north from Sandbanks and, just as I had planned it, we were entertained by some Harbour Porpoises. Quite a few of these very small marine mammals have been spending most of the summer months along this part of our coastline for the last three years or so. There are two photos this week. The one of a tug boat with the back and dorsal fin of a porpoise in the foreground is my photo taken on that recent hike. The other was taken by someone at the Vancouver Aquarium and shows a young Harbour Porpoise that was rescued last month near Victoria. It proved to be very sick and did not survive, but the picture shows the small size of this species. I believe it's the smallest of the marine mammals and they are now listed as a "species at risk" and have been granted some degree of legal protection.


JD.

Harbour Porpoise at Cox Lagoon, Texada Island.

Rescued juvenile Harbour Popoise at Vancouver Aquarium in May, 2011.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Next hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 28th May.


We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

The last hike started just a short drive up the airport road in Gillies Bay. We headed around the north end of the runway and down to the beach at Coxs Lagoon. The sea was calm and there were a few seabirds on the water, but for those of the hikers that had not seen them before the small groups of visiting Harbour Porpoise were much more interesting. The tide line was well down the beach as we walked south towards Sandbanks and we stopped for lunch on some logs not far from a crab-apple tree in full flower. After lunch we found some fine clumps of Coralroot Orchid with bare red stems and small pink flowers beside the forest trail as we climbed back up to the road at the south end of the runway.

JD.




The cream coloured and lightly scented flowers of our native crab-apple tree.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Next hike and an invitation.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 21st April.


We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.


Last week we had a very small group of hikers and a single vehicle was sufficient to carry us to the starting point at the roadside gravel pit near Bob's Lake. From here we headed south through the forest on old logging roads and winding trails until it was time for lunch. Not a spectacular view this time, just a sunny spot beside a small beaver pond not far north of Angel Lake.


There is a general invitation from Paula and Maurice Brunelle to hikers past and present to stop by at their house on Pine Street on Saturday afternoon after the hike.



JD.



Lunch close to the dam of a quiet beaver pond not far from Angel Lake.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Next Hike

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

Last week the weather started off quite poor, dull and cloudy with the threat of rain. However, by the time we started walking the clouds had cleared and we had sunshine for the rest of the day. Our route was a circular one that included the old logging road that connects the Oasis to the High Road, a branch into Cap Sheaf mine, a new ATV trail and part of the gasline. We sat on the side of the gasline right-of-way for lunch and then later, when we located the start of an old hiking trail, we climb the short distance to a viewpoint with a view west to Vancouver Island. My photo was taken on the gasline where a colony of Coltsfoot, the north american kind in the Genus Petasites, was in full flower. The european plant that is also called coltsfoot has yellow daisy type flowers and belongs to a different genus.
JD.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 7th May.


We will meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we had a small group of hikers and a lovely dry sunny day, although still with a lower temperature than is usual at this time of the year. We hiked along the more level part of Thompson Road and then up onto Thompson Bluffs. The expansive view from the lunch spot was as impressive as ever and the Vancouver Island mountains seemed to have much more snow than is usual at this time in the spring. No wonder the Mount Washington ski area is predicting that skiing will go on for much longer this season.


My photo this week is one I took on the midweek hike last Tuesday. I have walked along lower School Road countless times since I came to live on Texada, but I don't recall ever seeing the Calypso Orchid there until this year. This dainty species of wild flower is quite common in areas of limestone and especially around Van Anda, but far less common where the rocks are more acid.

JD.



A dainty Calypso Orchid in a miniature forest of moss.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 30th April.



We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.


Last week we drove some distance down Cook Bay Road and parked where an older logging road branches off on the east side. The road is a pleasant one for walking as it undulates rather than having a continuous uphill trend. Originally it was possible to hike this road all the way to the Anderson Bay Road which it joins near Angel Lake, but a short section is now flooded by the beaver and there is no easy way to get around this obstruction. Our lunch spot was on a small rise in the middle of a recent clearcut in the forest and the distant views of mountains and sea made it a very pleasant place to eat on a clear sunny day.


The treefrogs are very loud just now and the croaking chorus comes from ditches and swamps all over the island.

The sound is out of all proportion to the tiny size of the adults. My photo this time was taken on the midweek hike just a few days ago and shows a bright green one warming up in the sun beside a narrow ditch near Gillies Bay.

JD.



A tiny adult Treefrog warming up in the sun beside a narrow ditch near Gillies Bay.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Next Hike

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


Last Saturday the weather was cool and windy, but sunny and dry once the snow and rain had stopped! That happened as we started the hike from Van Anda to Raven Bay along the usual route through the limestone quarries. At Raven Bay there was a breeze from the sea so the hot shellfish BBQ fire was a welcome feature.


JD.

Trekkers' clambake BBQ at Raven Bay. Jim Mason photo




Thursday, April 14, 2011

Next hike from Van Anda

The next hike will be on Saturday, 16th April.
We meet in Van Anda at the Canadian Legion at 10:00am and this is the day of the Spring Raven Bay BBQ and Oyster Bake so the hike is essentially one way only.


Here are details about what happens and what you may wish to do.


Bring: Chairs (There are some logs to sit on) and BYOB



Food: There will be oysters or clams. If you don't like oysters or clams, bring hot dogs or veggie dogs to roast over the fire or whatever you wish to eat or share with friends. How we get there: Hikers meet at the Legion in Van Anda and walk to Raven Bay (2 1/2 hours). There are several shortcuts, if you don't want to do the full hike

If you are unable to hike right now, used to hike or are spouses/partners/visitors of Trekkers, you are welcomel You can park at the junction to the Raven Bay turnoff on the High Road. If you need a lift, please contact David Taylor. Hikers are expected at Raven Bay between 12:00 noon and 12:30 pm. Raven Bay road is only suitable for 4 wheel drive vehicles.



If you want to go early and collect oysters, bring rubber boots and your current Saltwater Licenses.


After the BBQ/Oyster Bake, those who drove down to the Bay will take the drivers and those who are unable to walk back to their vehicles in Van Anda or on the High Road.


Please contact: David Taylor, (604) 413-1669, if you require more information.


My photo this week is one I took on my visit to Vancouver Island earlier this month. Ants are usually not very active above ground until we get warm weather and I was surprised to see a swarm of ants around the entrance ot their underground nest. I don't know why they were behaving this way but it did make for an interesting photo.



An early swarm of ants on a grassy roadside bank in Parksville, Vancouver Island.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 9th April.

The meeting place is the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am


i will still be roaming the beaches on Vancouver Island in search of Black Brant Geese on Saturday and for this hike only I have no substitute guide.  I suggest the choice of hike and the guiding could be a group effort this time with lots of easy and familiar hike routes to choose from.


Today I'm giving advanced notice that the annual Trekkers Spring Raven Bay BBQ and Oyster Bake is coming up on Saturday, 16th April.  The meeting place will be Van Anda.  More information will be available next week.


A couple of weeks ago I guided a group  of the members of the Powell River Malaspina Naturalists Club to visit some areas of Texada with interesting features of limestone geology.  My photo this week shows Stromberg Falls as it looked the day of their visit with very little water in Stromberg Creek. I don't think any of the members had visited the falls before and they were clearly quite impressed with the beauty of this part of the island.  

JD.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 2nd April.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay.

Last week we hiked from the Cook Bay Road uphill past Gentian Lake and beyond to the beaver pond on the Anderson Bay Road.  It was a lovely sunny day, quite mild and with just the odd patch of snow on the ground here and there at the highest elevations.  On the return after lunch we twice saw Cutthroat Trout actively spawning in ting creeks feeding small lakes and ponds.

My photo today is from a recent midweek hike to Limekiln Bay. It shows a curious circular native fish trap which seems to be rare on Texada as I have only seen them on this particular beach.

I am birdwatching on Vancouver Island for a couple of weeks.  Russ will be the guide this Saturday.

JD.

  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 26th March.
We meet at the Ballpark at Gillies Bay at 10:00am

The weather is beginning to warm up a bit now and some of our native reptiles are starting to come out of hibernation to take advantage of the warm sun when it shines. I have a report of a Western Painted Turtle being spotted on a log in Priest Lake and I've seen my first Garter Snake already. Our one native species of lizard is usually quite late to appear, but they do show on sunny days at the end of March. My photo is of an adult Northern Alligator Lizard on a pile of fine gravel at Blubber Bay. Please handle with care as their tails are quite fragile and will break off if you try to pick up this agile lizard.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Next Hike,

The next hike will be on Saturday, 19th March.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.


My photo this week was taken when we recently visited Stromberg Falls near Davie Bay.
This photo shows the strong flow of water as it emerges from the underground cave system very close to the large plunge pool at the base of the falls.


Underground stream as it emerges from the dark cave mouth close to Stromberg Falls.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Next Hike

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

Last week we again felt we needed to avoid the higher ground on the island as the weather had not warmed up all that much, certainly not enough to melt the good amount of snow that has fallen on high ground in the last few weeks. We paid a quick visit to Stromberg Falls to see if any water was coming and were pleased to see enough to make for some good photos especially as rays of sunshine were making the watre sparkle as it tumbled down the rock face. After that we hiked up towards Thompson Road and shortly before it was time to stop for lunch we ran into a stretch of road with plenty of snow. For lunch we sat in warm sun in the middle of the Vancouver Island Hydro line right of way and enjoyed the view out over the water to the snow covered mountains.

JD.

Stromberg Falls in early March before the ferns and columbines leaf out on the cliff face.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Next Hike

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

Last Saturday was cool and cloudy and I decided to take the small group of hikers along a trail I had cleaned up and reflagged just a few days earlier. Starting out from the ballpark on foot we headed up School Road and climbed the steep hill on the old logging road that leads to Cap Sheaf Lake. Not far past the third fork in the road fresh pink flagging marks the start of an old trail that runs north along the mostly forest covered bluffs. The trail is uneven in places where the sheet of moss covering the ground is hiding some loose angular boulders. The trail ends where it comes out of the forest onto a fairly open grassy bluff overlooking Gillies Bay.
Near the start of the trail we crossed a tiny stream running from pool to pool with attractive miniature waterfalls and lined with small moss covered boulders. At one of these the splashing water had frozen onto some twigs and gave me a rather attractive picture.

JD.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 26th February.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last Saturday we had a lovely day for hiking and kept to the low ground of Texada as snow had been falling on the higher parts of the island a few days earlier. We drove towards Davie Bay and parked just past Eagle Creek. Following the usual route we headed over towards the part of Mouat Bluffs where the cactus grow. For lunch we sat on the warm black rocks that slope quite steeply down to the sea. When we arrived a small group of seals, surprised by our unexpected arrival, reluctantly slid quietly from their secluded sunning place and down into the cool water.

JD.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 19th February.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we were unlucky with the weather which was not really the best for hiking. With low cloud, steady rain and quite a strong blustery wind in more open areas we decided a walk in the forest might offer the least discomfort. The hike was quite long and followed a well maintained logging road that climbs from the high point of Davie Bay Road east through the forest to the start of Thompson Road.

On our hikes its not unusual for someone to spot some oddity of nature, and ask questions about it. Recently a hiker noticed an Arbutus leaf with curious markings and wondered what might have happened to the leaf to produce the odd pattern. I knew the answer and was pleased to see the culprit clearly visible and still alive. There are many hundreds of different leaf miner species, and a member of one these was the flattened caterpillar that was feeding inside the leaf. This one has a black head and yellow body and will probably mature into a tiny moth.

JD.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 12th February.

We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last Saturday we drove to Bob's Lake along roads quite clear of snow and parked at the gas pipeline crossing. We hiked south on the right of way and eventually arrived at the usual lunch spot on the lake shore. The lake was certainly still frozen, but the ice was thin and had melted completely around the edges.

I've been asked by Paula and Maurice Brunelle to mention that they are inviting the hikers to drop by their house in Gillies Bay after the hike for a chat and refreshments. You can find them at the far end of Pine Street on the right.

JD.

A cool lunch spot — a frozen Angel Lake in mid February.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 5th February.

We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last Saturday there was very low cloud cover and a threat of rain when we met at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay. We thought we would just do a hike along the road that ends at Shingle Beach to avoid wet vegetation and the foggy high ground. On the way to the campground where we planned to have lunch a side visit to Yew Tree Bay seemed a nice thing to do and the empty cabin there had odd and interesting things to check out. I mentioned the big Arbutus and a large new Yew tree we had found a few weeks earlier and we wandered down to the tiny beach to the north of the cabin. By then it was time for lunch and when a group of passing sealions noticed us they decided to hang around and watch us eat lunch. They were quite a boisterous bunch of the light tan coloured Stellers with a very different head profile to the darker California species, and put on quite a noisy display an unexpected treat on a dull winter day.

JD.

A small group of tan coloured Steller Sealions watched us all the time we were eating lunch.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Next Hike

The next hike will be Saturday, 29th January.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.


Last week it was quite foggy at Gillies Bay so we headed for the high ground in search of some sunshine. We thought Pocahontas would be low enough to have little or no snow on the ground, but high enough to give us some clear views. The first guess proved correct, but there was still some fog about when we reached the lunch spot at the high poin of the hike.


My photo today is another shot from a recent midweek hike to Marshall Point. The headland has many rocks and a rocky island that are popular with the local harbour seals. This one did not see us at first as we were still on the trail behind some trees.

JD.

Harbour seal on rocks at Marshall Point.