The Next Hike

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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Next Hike.

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

Last week we had very pleasant weather for our hike.  June this year has been cooler and has had more rainy days than usual so it's nice when a hike day turns out well. We drove towards Davie Bay and parked at Eagle Creek in a spot that is barely recognisable after so much logging has taken place in such a short time. This is crown land and it bothers me when I see old style clearcuts of public land in contrast to the more carefully logged private forest owned by Texada Forest Reserve.  The hikers included a family from the interior who were happy to visit the Mouat bluffs with views of the straits and the smaller islands followed by lunch on the rocky beach at the south end of Mouat Bay.  The youngsters especially liked the rock hunting on the beach and managed to find a few examples of our distinctive "flower rock".  My photo was taken on a hike earlier in the month when I spotted a lone rose bush with a pair of almost perfect blooms.  

A pair of wild rose flowers beside the beach near the Sandbanks not far from Gillies Bay.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Next Hike

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

On a recent hike I photographed a very distinctive type of fungus that is quite unmistakable in appearance.  It's really quite common, but being so small it probably gets overllooked by many people.  The very odd shape is rather like a very tiny china teacup of the type that have no handle, and the contents of the cup look like miniature flying saucers which, in a way, they really do become. The brownish "eggs" in these tiny nests are actually the spore cases which are dispersed when rain drops land on them and flip them out to some distance away from the cup where they were produced.  In my photo you can see a couple of empty grey spore cases resting on the bark.  There are several species of Birds Nest Fungus in our area and I don't know whether or not this one might be the more common Nidula candida.

Birds Nest Fungus with and without spore case "eggs".

Friday, June 15, 2012

Next Hike

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

Last week we hiked in excellent weather up to the viewpoint to the east of the Pocahontas fire lookout peak.  Actually the small white wood building is long gone and all that is left of it now is some rusty metal and the concrete foundations. But the name has remained and the trail to the top is in good shape.  We were headed a little further to the east this time so we gave the lookout side trail a miss.
The previous week we had hiked along the beach from Sandbanks to Cox Lagoon and my photo shows the wide expanse of sand and rocks that is exposed below the sand cliffs at our lowest low tides.

The beach at the Sandbanks near Gillies Bay on a day with a very low tide.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Next Hike

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

Last Saturday we started our hike from quite close to our meeting place only driving up the Airport Road as far as Cranby Lake.  From there we followed very pleasant grassy logging roads and eventully took the steep trail down to the beach at Sandbanks. The tide was extremely low and it was a good opportunity to wander around checking the tidepools and seeing what the falling tide had left behind. Walking north along the rocky beach as far as Cox Lagoon we found increasing numbers of tent caterpillars and under the alder trees on the trail up to the airport there were even more.  

My photo this week was taken on the hike we did a couple of weeks ago that took us up onto bluffs high above Cook Bay.  Our lunch spot was on a steep slope above the Sabine Channel with good views towards Vancouver Island. We don't often get this far south on Texada on our weekly hikes and it gave us quite a close view of Jedediah Island which became a Provincial Park in 1994 after a small group of Lasqueti Island residents had raised more than four million dollars towards it's purchase by theProvincial Government.

The view south from a bluff above Cook Bay. Jedediah is the closest of the large islands and Vancouver Island is in the far distance.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 2nd June.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last Saturday we had a long drive to reach our starting point near the bottom of the long hill down to the gate at the entrance to the Cook Bay private property.  The road here has recently been upgraded, widened and with new ditches dug along both sides.  For a short distance along one ditch the bank was damp, but had very little vegetation cover and for some reason was very attractive to a species of small blue butterflies.  I don't think I have ever seen so many of them gathered in one place before.  It reminded me of sunny clearings in the rain forest in Africa where puddles of water would sometimes attract masses of butterflies of many species.  I managed to get photos of these hyperactive blues at rest, but when in the air they moved so fast I found it impossible to get shots of the bright blue dorsal surface of the wings.  Later I identified them from the photos as the common Spring Azure, Celastrina argeolus.  This species is also found in Europe and was given it's latin name by Linnaeus way back in 1780 so it's certainly not rare or unusual.
The females lay their eggs on the flowers of shrubs, often Arbutus, ocean spray and elderberry in our area.  When the eggs hatch into caterpillars they are often looked after by ants which are rewarded when the larvae release drops of tasty fluid from their body.  What a curious symbiotic relationship!

Three Spring Azure blues attracted to a seepage area along a roadside ditch near Cook Bay.