The Next Hike

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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Next Hike will be from Van Anda

The next hike will be on Saturday, 2nd March.
We meet at the Credit Union parking in Van Anda at 10:00am.

Last Saturday we had quite nice weather for the hike and as much of the snow had been taken care of by the recent milder days and the rain we decided to head for a viewpoint on the higher ground.  I was a bit concerned that there might be snow still on the north side of the mountain, but we headed for Mt. Manzanita anyhow. We parked on Hydro East Rd. and started walking, but soon found that while snow was certainly not a problem the recent high winds had blown down so many trees in some places in the forest we had quite a number of detours to take to get past the obstacles.   It was still windy, but not noticable most of the time until we reached the open area at the top of the mountain, where a cold wind was gusting in from the north-west.  It was easy to find a sheltered spot and the view was, as usual, rather good.

When ever we do our Saturday hike within view of the sea on the west side of Texada we almost always get to see one or two of the big barges heading north to Alaska. The barges carry mainly shipping containers, but often they have trucks, cars, and sometimes even houses, items that can look odd sitting high above the water on several layers of containers.

       The regular Saturday barge to Alaska heading north near Favada Point on the west coast of Texada.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Next Hike

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

Last week we had a mild and pleasant day for our hike.  A short drive past Mouat Bay and over the creek bridge to the parking place, the first TIFR gate on the right going up the hill.  From there the logging road is fairly level going as was most of the hike through the forest and down to the small beach, a pocket beach, not far north of where Eagle Creek reaches the sea. The tide was too high to walk past the cliffs on the beach so we sat on the logs for lunch, and that view makes my photo of the week.  As usual several of the hikers took the opportunity to search the beach pebbles for unusually interesting and attractive specimens.

  Lunch on the beach not far north of where Eagle Creek reaches the sea. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Next Hike

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

Last week we went in search of the sunshine as it seemed likely that we would find some above the fog that had settled over Gillies Bay during the night.  We drove up to the end of the blacktop in the fog and carried on up Bell Road passing First Lake still in the fog.  At the Reactor Station turnoff it was still foggy so we swung to the left and continued to climb higher until our luck ran out — the road was covered by ice and snow and still no sun.  Turning back and then off to the left we parked by the gates of the Hydro compound.  There were still patches of snow in the shady parts of the trail heading west under the lines but it was fairly easy walking and we made good progress down to Thompson Rd, then south through the forest with the sound of rushing water below us.  For lunch we sat at the roadside, in the fog, but it was peaceful and pleasant enough and now below the snowline.  The winding trail through the forest took us east to the gas line and soon back to the vehicles again.  
My photo is a close shot of a harmless little amphibian, Rough-skinned Newt. But is it harmless?  I've picked them up and demonstrated their ability to right themselves when turned onto their backs in my hand. But I also warn people to be sure to not hurt them as they can exude poison through the skin.  Only Garter snakes have some degree of resiatance to the poison and can eat them safely.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the situation:—

"The mutations in the snake's genes that conferred resistance to the toxin have resulted in a selective pressure that favors newts which produce more potent levels of toxin. Increases in newt toxicity then apply a selective pressure favoring snakes with mutations conferring even greater resistance. This cycle of a predator and prey evolving to one another is sometimes termed an evolutionary arms race and has resulted in the newts producing levels of toxin far in excess of what is needed to kill any other conceivable predator."
They are harmless enough to us, sort of!  And cute too.
       A Rough-skinned newt out for a walk on a day when all the snakes are still safely hidden away until spring arrives.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Next Hike

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

Last week we had a good number of hikers and a dry mild day with very little fog for a change.  After meeting in Van Anda we car pooled over to James Mack's property south of Crescent Bay on the north-west coast of Texada.  Hiking south from the cottages we used the old logging road to Davis Bay until just before the Big Beach turnoff when we struggled up the narrow ravine side trail that offers one of the few routes up onto the high grassy bluffs that offer panoramic views of the snow-covered mountains of central Vancouver Island. After lunch we continued along the same trail and after some adventures with unmarked sections of the route eventually found our way back to the cottages without any serious problems.  The terrain in this area on the north side of the old logging road is really very rugged in places with some dangerous cliffs and tricky steep sections.
With the fog having cleared off I was able to get some better photos of the sea lions out on the rocks at the entrance to Maple Bay.  It also helped me having the tide low enough that I could get closer to them than on my visit in January. These animals seem to be mainly the less common Steller Sea Lions and the big one on the left in my photo is an older male.  

Some of the resting sea lions at Maple Bay.  They usually feed at night and have to catch up on their sleep during the day.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Next Hike from Van Anda - meeting place change.

We will  meet at the First Credit Union parking on Legion Road [across from the gas station] on Saturday.  The Legion will be too busy in the afternoon.