Thursday, July 31, 2014
We meet in the Royal Canadian Legion parking at 10:00am.
Last week we drove south past Davie Bay and turned up the hill to the parking spot for Stromberg Falls. This gave some young visitors a chance to see the sink hole and caves, but as usual at this time of year there was no water coming over the falls. Then back to the vehicles for a short drive back down the hill and part way along the Shingle Beach road. The walk through the forest offered some welcome shade on another very warm day and at the campground it was pleasant to sit on the beach logs for lunch.
A couple of weeks ago we hiked up on to a bluff behind Gillies Bay and I explained to the hikers that quite a few years earlier we had done the same hike and found a young Turkey Vulture on the ground right where we had planned to eat. Not wishing to bother it we sat lower down instead. Before we left I walked carefully up towards the young bird with my camera and was surprised and pleased when it actually came walking down towards me, stopped and promptly closed its eyes. The result was a couple of photos one of which I've attached below.
Posted by Gillies Bay at 10:42 PM
Friday, July 25, 2014
The next hike will be on Saturday, 26th July.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.
Last week we started the hike from the Ballpark in Gillies Bay and headed up the old logging roads towards Cap Sheaf Lake. Our destination was to be the bluff overlooking the airport and Cranby Lake so we turned off on the narrow winding trail on the left that climbs up over a wooded ridge and undulates through open forest before reaching the lunch spot. In some places the fallen Arbutus leaves were dry and very slippery so care was taken but part of the trail had been recently improved by local mountain bikers and was much more comfortable walking. After lunch we decided to take advantage of the new trails which were very well constructed and especially interesting as they follow a different route most of the way back to the Ballpark where we had started.
Turkey Vulture Bluff near Gillies Bay. Some years ago we found a baby vulture here that was still too young to fly.
Posted by Gillies Bay at 12:20 AM
Friday, July 18, 2014
The next hike will be on Saturday, 19th July.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am
Last week the hike day was also the first day of the annual Texada Sandcastle weekend and I found myself to be the lone hiker for a change. I decided to visit the nearest creek to the meeting place and ended up spending an hour or so checking a section of the stream with many pools suitable for small fish. I found good numbers of trout and salmon and was able to photograph them closeup, although it is important to be careful not to spook them too often. Cranby Creek enters a swampy area south of the section I was visiting and a major obstacle for the adult fish when they try to swim upstream in the fall are the beaver dams which can stop their progress.
Juvenile Coho salmon in Cranby Creek. These fry are about three months old and still very small, but doing well in clean flowing water.
Posted by Gillies Bay at 11:56 AM
Friday, July 11, 2014
The next hike will be on Saturday, 12 July.
We meet at the Community Hall in Gillies Bay at 10:00am. This weekend it's Sandcastle Days in Gillies Bay so we need to meet away from the crowds.
Last week we started from Van Anda and still had some light rain at first. We drove to Blubber Bay and hiked out to Grilse Point on the east side of the bay along the shoreline road which used to be the quarry access road for BC Cement Co. The limestone crushing plant and shipping dock are in a sad state now, but the the old road is a pleasant place to walk. There is a word of warning though, as there is at least one plant, a small shrub in fact, of the very nasty Western Poison Oak. You can find it on the lefthand side of the road in a small wooded area close to the shoreline. You recognise it by the oak leaf shaped leaflets on the trifoliate leaves. Be very careful not to touch these leaves which can produce an allergic reaction that can I believe, with some people, last days or weeks.
Western Poison Oak leaves on a single plant located beside a gravel road on the east side of Blubber Bay.
Posted by Gillies Bay at 5:34 PM
Friday, July 4, 2014
We meet this time at the Legion parking area in Van Anda at 10:00am
This hike will be somewhat shorter than usual as the new Clarence Wood room is being opened to visitors for the first time at the Van Anda Heritage Society Museum in the afternoon. This will also be a chance for hikers to view the changes to the Van Anda museum now that the original Texada Museum in Blubber Bay has closed. There will be refreshments for visitors.
I remember when I was a boy I visited museums all over the British Isles and it was always an exciting time for me when I could search out any museums in the areas we visited on summer vacations. My interests changed over the years and the history of the Roman colony of Britannia attracted me early on, all those military forts and the imperial roads were fun. Then I got interested in fossils and geology and museums were great places to go to see examples of rocks, minerals and ancient forms of life. We lived close enough to London and I do believe the city in those days had some of the finest museums in the world and I was able to visit some of them over and over again.
Last week we hiked to Mouat Point and sat overlooking the sea for lunch. No marine mammals around this time, but the marine traffic was quite interesting. My photo is of one of the big freight barges heading for Alaska and you can see the great variety of items that show up in a telephoto shot.
Posted by Gillies Bay at 12:34 AM