The Next Hike

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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on the 2nd January, 2016
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week our hike was on Boxing Day and we had another dull day with precipitation in the form of snow showers this time. Because I knew that recent quarry work had resulted in the loss of a section of hiking trail that we had used a good number of times over the last decade or more I decided it was a good time to see if we could do this hike again one last time. It was a bit tricky at first as recent logging made tough going on a bypass route we needed to take. Eventually we got back onto the original trail and reached the area where we had lunched often in the past. For the return to the vehicles we chose the main road as our way back, and this was fine except that the ferry traffic came along shortly before we got back to the parking place just off the road.
JD.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week I was out and about on the north end of the island counting birds for the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count so I was not able to hike with the Trekkers this time.  It was another mostly dull day with rain showers from time to time that made it difficult to find active birds.  I met up with the hikers at Blubber Bay as they finished in the afternoon and I was not too surprised to hear that they had seen a record number of Rough-skinned Newt along the way.  It was much more of an amphibian day than a song bird day!   
I took today's photo while I was doing the bird count.  At this time of year the two species of Kinglet that spend the winter months with us are often seen in small flocks on the ground or in low shrubs in search of small bugs and they are remarkably tame.  However, they are constantly on the move and that makes it hard to get clear sharp photos of them.
JD.

             
           A tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet foraging with a few friends on the forest floor.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Next Hike will start from Van Anda.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 19th December.
We meet in the parking area at the Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.

Last week we again found ourselves hiking in rainy weather and while the wind was not too bad in the morning when we were walking with the wind at our backs along the High Road, in the afternoon on the way back it became much stronger with some quite strong gusts that broke off tree branches at times and even blew down a sapling alder near our parked venicles.  For lunch we were in a dry spot under trees at the edge of Cap Sheaf Lake.

My photo was taken on a hike last month and is of a roadside area with the lovely Giant Chain Fern that is quite common all over Texada, but absent from most of the rest of Canada.  It was nice to see the plants doing so well with quite a number of very young specimens that are only a few years old. This is a fern that can grow very large in suitable conditions with good soil and lots of summer moisture at the roots.
JD.
   

A cluster of healthy young Giant Chain Fern, Woodwardia fimbriata near Cook Bay

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Next Hike

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

Last week we had yet another poor weather day with more or less continuous light rain and very strong winds.  We had had some very heavy rains in the days before the hike and it was a good time to check once again on the Stromberg Falls.  These are located on a creek that flows into the sea just south of the Hydro West Station where the power cables enter the sea and cross to Vancouver Island.  This time our visit to the falls was well timed and there were two wide streams of water roaring down into the rocky pool at the base of the cliff. Some of the Trekkers were happy to find quite few edible hedgehog mushrooms so late in the season, but that is not too unusual for this species which is quite frost hardy.  

My photo this week is another one that was taken on the hike before last when we found ourselves hiking in a glorious sparkling wonderland of snow and ice.  This came as something of a surprise as all the northern and lower parts of the island had no trace of snow to be seen anywhere.  This is Gentian Lake in an area where beaver are active and most of the wetlands have been enlarged and deepened by the beaver.  Thanks Brian for taking this photo for me. 
JD.

 
A wonderful snowscape scene at the ice covered Gentian Lake not far from Bobs Lake.   

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we had some low cloud in Gillies Bay which was a little unexpected as the weather forecast had predicted clear sky and sunshine all day.  It seemed like a good idea to drive towards the high ground and see if we could locate a sunny area for hiking.  As we climbed the hill on Bell R.d we ran into some high elevation fog and there was a skim of fresh snow on the road. However driving conditions were good and tire tracks on the road showed other vehicles had gone before us.  By the time we reached Bobs Lake we found we had entered a winter wonderland with snow everywhere even decorating the tree branches. The sky was now a brilliant blue, the air quite still  and the sparkle from the tiny ice crystals in every sunny area was quite fascinating.  We parked at the gravel pit just before the Bobs Lake Campground junction.

The hike was a circular one that included the upper part of the long Gentian Lake Trail and a quick visit to the north end of the lake which was covered in a sheet of white ice that broke the stillness with those sudden loud sounds that you hear when someone throws a rock on it.  Only there were no one to be seen — quite spooky!  For lunch we sat beside a large ice covered beaver pond in very warm sunshine before returning to the gravel pit along grassy winding forest trails.  It was felt odd to drive back towards Gillies Bay with no trace of snow or ice to be seen even on the top of Mt. Pocahontas. 
JD.
     
The Gentian Lake Trail in winter.   Much of the trail is in forest and was clear of snow this day.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 28th November.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we drove towards Shingle Beach turning off on the left after Eagle Creek to a parking place about half way up to Thompson Road.  This is a circular hike so we don't have to back-track except on the very steep side road that takes us up to the top of the rounded landmark of Eagle Mountain. There are small grassy bluffs on the west side at the top and the view on a good day is quite spectacular.  
As you can see from my photo this week we were lucky this time and had a very good day.
JD.

Lunching on the top of Eagle Mountain with a view looking north-west. The forested island is Dick Island at Shelter Point and Surprise Mt. is just behind Texada Quarry.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Texada Trekkers Next Hike

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

Last week we had a good number of hikers and a dry day for a change, but there was some fog about at higher elevations than usual. Being optimistic by nature we decided to go for a hike with viewpoints and drove off towards Bobs Lake.  The Mt. Grant Trail starts in thick forest and taking the usual clockwise route from the first junction in the old logging roads it was a while before we reached the first viewpoint where we should have had a view to the north towards Jervis Inlet.  There was just too much fog however and this proved to be the case at almost every other viewpoint on this long winding trail.  When we stopped for lunch we were already past the summit and that viewpoint was relatively clear of fog and all but the very top of Mt. Davies was visible not too far away. 

My photo was taken on a recent hike when we crossed several small creeks which had been swelled by recent rains.  
JD.

A noisy little waterfall close by the route of our recent hike above Cook Bay.   
 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last weekend seemed to be an extra busy time for the many hunters who come to Texada to hunt deer as they are allowed, I believe, to shoot more then than at other times during the open season.  As hikers find it somewhat disconcerting to hear gunshots in the forest while trying to enjoy a few hours of quiet relaxation in the great outdoors we decided to do our hike as far away from the hunters as possible.  We had to drive south quite a long way until we came to the gate marking the start of the Cook Bay community property. We did pass some hunters camps along the way, but the private property beyond the gate is closed to hunters.  We parked just outside the gate and started hike which soon runs onto Crown land along an old logging road that climbs quite steeply away from the coast. 
The lunch spot was on a pleasant grassy bluff almost surrounded by forest, but with so much fog around the distance views  of Lasqueti Island and the sea were quite fleeting as the fog thinned and thicken with the light wind.  The hike was indeed very peaceful with just the sounds of the birds in the trees and one or two tree frogs to break the silence of the forest and we neither heard nor saw any hunters. 
JD.


Hiking along a misty forest trail high above Cook Bay.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we were expecting to be hiking in the rain again, at least that was in the forecast and we were well prepared, but it turned out to be dry and sunny instead.  We drove to the parking place near Second Lake we had used the week before and started off walking south along the gas line.  However, by taking the first turning on the right we were on a different trail system for the rest of the hike.  A short side trail gave newcomers a quick look at Third Lake and then back onto the old logging road again and heading south west past a wetland area.  This is a pleasant winding route through the forest that does eventually reach Thompson Road just below the high viewpoint of Thompson Bluffs, but for us it was far enough to stop for lunch on top of a forested ridge with a view to the north with Black Mountain in the far distance.

There seemed to be hardly any edible mushrooms left this time and my photo is of a cluster of mature Pufball fungus that were full of powdery dark brown spores that drifted away from the jagged gaps in the outer skin at the gentle tap of a boot.  These ones are much too old for eating, but when very fresh and still firm and pure white inside they can be safely gathered and cooked.  
JD.

A cluster of a type of Puffball, probably a species of the genus Lycoperdon.  Edible, but only when they are young.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we had quite a nice day for hiking although the sea and part of the island were covered in a thick blanket of fog.  As we usually do on days when there is fog about we simply started driving towards the high ground hoping to eventually get above the fog.  This day it worked out very nicely and we were clear of the fog when we passed Second Lake and decided to park on the gasline where the road swings away from the line. Walking uphill on the line right of way took us to the Hydro Reactor road, then past the chainlink fences and then west under the cables along the winding towers access road.  A small bluff close by the Rogers Cell Tower was a pleasant spot to rest and eat lunch and look out to the mountain tops of Vancouver Island in far distance.  Between us and them all the lower slopes of Texada and the miles of sea were hidden beneath the billowy top of the white fog.  

My photo was taken on the hike earlier in October when we hiked on the grassy bluffs to the north of Cook Bay.  On that beautiful day the views were spectacular and there was no trace of fog anywhere at all.
JD.

The view looking towards Hornby Island and Vancouver Island from near Cook Bay.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 24th October.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10.00am

Last week we again had a cloudy damp day for our hike and drove over to the east of island going part way down the Hydro East road to a gravel pit, the starting place for a several different hiking routes.  This time we headed uphill on the access road to the Vancouver Hydro line right of way and climbed to a spot for lunch that had a view towards Nelson Island which was partly visible through patches of low cloud and fog. On the return to the vehicles we took a side road which we knew would be overgrown in places and decided to clean it up where it needed attention and made good progress in a short time.  When I checked out the old road on Google Earth later I found we had actually gone about half way to a nice view point so we may try to reach that another day.

My photo is of an unusual brown foliose lichen that I think may be a species of Peltigera or Frog Pelt lichen. Lichens are a group of plants that always consist of a fungus and an algae living together as if they were a single organism.  It was growing that day on a steep mossy slope beside the logging road we hiked up from the parking place and it seemed to be the only specimen of that kind anywhere around.
JD. 
A curious kind of lichen growing on moss beside a logging road.  It looks like a type called Frog Pelt, a species of Peltigera perhaps.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 17th October.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we had yet another rainy day for our hike and it was quite windy as well.  We drove up Shelter Point Road to the High Road and parked in a recent clearcut  just after the last house on the right.  Walking north along the road for a while then turned off and  started down the road to Pocahontas Bay. Taking the old logging road that goes to the Fire Lookout we turned off as soon as we got to the top of the first hill and this grassy and overgrown side road climbs steadily to a spot where you can just see an open ridge on the right that has views of Vancouver Island, but only on dry clear days of course, not in the rain the way it was this time.

On the Sunday of last week I was boating on the north west coast of Texada in perfect weather.  I was surprised at how many seals there were as I have not been seeing so many in and around Gillies Bay for the last couple of years.  Because the transient Orcas, also called Biggs Orcas, have been seen much more frequently all around our area I had assumed they had reduced the seal population quite a bit as they feed mainly on marine mammals.  I did notice that the seals tended to be quite spread out with just two or three here and there out of the water basking in the sun.  My photo is of a cute pair on smooth dark basalt at the waters edge.
JD.
     

A pair of dark brown Harbour Seals basking on the rocks near Favada Point.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The next hike.

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

Last week we had a long drive to the starting point of the hike.  The weather was great for hiking and we headed south along the road to Bobs Lake turning off to the right before the lake and then heading over on to the long Cook Bay Rd that runs downhill through the forest towards the coast.  Parking outside the gate that marks the boundary of the private property surrounding the bay we started off down the old logging road that eventually reaches the sea at the very southern end of Shingle Beach.  Usually we go down to the beach and lunch on some low cliffs there, but this time the plan was to revisit a trail that was flagged a few years ago, but never actually used again for a regular hike.  The first part needed some clearing and hand tools made short work of the evergreen huckleberry so we were soon on the open bluffs and working our way uphill towards the higher ground and the best viewpoints.  
JD.


A curious tree on a hiking trail near Cook Bay.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Next Hike.

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

Last week I was busy with an internet service project so could not go on the hike as usual.  I do know it was great weather to be out and about with a cool gusty wind blowing from the north and sunny all day long.  I was stuck on Mt. Pocahontas doing tower work and I believe the hikers were roaming around in the forest not so very far away.

My photo is from a hike we did early in September when we drove south on Bell Road and parked near First Lake.  From there we hiked on the very pleasant old now grassy logging road that heads southwest at first and then swings around to end on the west side of Plateau Mountain.  A steep trail climbs to a high viewpoint with views towards Denman and Hornby Islands with the Vancouver Island mountains beyond.
JD.

Texada Trekkers is our website.  

If you also Google "Texada Trekkers" and then click on  'Images'  you will find most of the pictures that come up in the results as thumbnails to be ones I have featured in the weekly Hike Notice email.  Click them to view the original full size photos.


        The view fom high up on the west side of Plateau Mountain near Third Lake. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we had another rainy day again, it was quite a windy day as well and we did not hike quite as far as we usually do.  At the lunch stop we were out of the wind with a view out over Mouat Bay where the regular Alaska barge was fully loaded and heading north quite fast with the strong south-easterly pushing it from behind. 

My photo is of a common grasshopper, an insect that we don't often get to see in closeup.  This is not a cricket, they are normally black in colour and quite fat.  Some of our  grasshoppers snap their hindwings rapidly as they fly, and make that distinct crackling sound when they are disturbed.  Other kinds of grasshoppers have a row of pegs along the inside of the hind leg that acts as a file, or rasp. The grasshopper rubs this leg surface against the thickened forewing, causing a vibration and thus a sound. 

On a recent hike I was asked what a geocache is.  I tried to explain a bit about it and I do know where a few are hidden on Texada.  However, I do think it's an outdoor activity that needs to have a bit more publicity if only to encourage more visitors to rural areas such as Texada Island.  It's something that young people are more likely to enjoy and if that means getting more adults outdoors so much the better.  Here is a link to a video that young Alec Fischer produced that will explain everthing you wanted to know, and more, about this high-tech hobby. 


Alec is, I think, the most enthusiastic promoter of hiking I have ever come across!  Enjoy!
JD.

A closeup view of a brown grasshopper at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay.  The hind leg is much larger than the other legs and has V-shaped rows of dots.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove to the Macyk Farm turnoff and parked at the gravel pit there.  It was a pleasant hike through the forest and we were expecting to find at least a few mushrooms as we had found quite a few the week before when we hiked the nearby Plateau Mt. trail.  There was a strong north wind blowing and the tree tops were moving to and fro as we climbed the steep trail up to the top of Black Mountain.  The lunch spot and view point is on the south side and sheltered from the wind and it was a perfect chance to really admire the view which was made all the more interesting by the sail boats and speed boats taking advantage of the wonderful weather.  My photo tells it all.
JD.
 
What a perfect day it was for a hike to the top of Black Mountain! The view is across Malaspina Strait to Nelson Island and the mainland.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Next Hike

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

Last week we drove south along Bell Road and parked at the pipeline cathodic protection station near First Lake.  This time we finally had dry sunny weather instead of the windy rainy weather that dogged us earlier in the summer. The old logging road we took to take us up onto Plateau Mountain was looking really quite verdant thanks to the recent modest rains mainly during the night. With the moisture on leaves and grass it was no surprise to find frogs here and there not far from the lake and creek .  All were bullfrogs, an unwelcome immigrant from the eastern side of the continent.  They were probably introduced to Texada to provide a source of edible frogs legs for restaurants in the towns on the coast. In my photo you can see the meaty part of this frog's leg, but none of the hikers seemed interested in taking it home for supper.
JD.
 

Our youngest hiker caught a Bullfrog and so we had a chance to look at it's muscular hind leg.   It didn't seem too bothered by all the handling!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Next Hike

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

This year we had one of the driest and warmest summers I can remember, but even so we still had several Saturdays when the drought was broken by periods of rain.  Last week we started hiking with some gusty winds, but it was clear and dry for a while.  We unwisely chose to climb a steep mountain and at lunch time the weather had changed, the wind became even stronger and then  the rain began.  We found a fairly dry place under trees to eat lunch, but afterwards as we began the walk down the slippery hillside the rain increased and we began to feel quite cool.  It was hard now to avoid falling and we moved slowly. Crossing an area of grassy bluff the view of Gillies Bay we had had on the way up in the morning was replaced by a thick grey fog!  Soon we were walking more comfortably on an old logging road through the forest and before we had reached the road again the weather changed once more. Suddenly the sun came out as the wind moved the clouds rapidly away and we were happy to shed our rain gear.
JD.  

After a dry start to the hike the wind increased and the deluge began. Hiking in the rain on Mount Pocahontas.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Next Hike

The next Saturday Hike will be on 29th August.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we had a great day for visiting high viewpoints and decided to head south to Twin Peaks which has a couple of the highest viewpoints on the Trekkers hiking trails.  We found the trail to be in fairly good shape with no more of the tremendous wind damage the trees had suffered not too long ago.  

My photo this time is of a shrub I found growing at the high tide line during our hike along Crescent Bay beach earlier this month. I was surprised to see it in this location as it's very often found forming dense thickets in some of our wetlands.  You may have noticed when driving the main road between Van Anda and Gillies Bay lots of multi-stemed bushes with red stems and not realised this is a relative of the BC flower the native white dogwood.  Also native the Red-osier Dogwood does also have white flowers, but in this species they form tight heads with a large number of quite small white flowers very different in shape to those of its much larger relative. The word osier comes from the name given to kinds of willow in Europe that can be used for basket making.
JD.

Red-osier Dogwood - Cornus stolonifera at Crescent Bay beach.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week week we once again had a rainy morning for the start of our hike.  There was not much point in going up to a lunch spot with a great view as visibility was obviously quite poor.  The forecast was good for the afternoon so we hoped for the best and just started off from the meeting place on foot.  The route was mostly in the forest and we made good use of the fine cycle trails that now criss-cross the bluffs overlooking Gillies Bay.  Lunch spot for this hike was the bluff where for the first and only time the hikers were able to watch a very young baby Turkey Vulture wandering around on the grassy knoll above us.

My photo is another one I took on our recent hike along the beach at Crecent Bay when the tide was extra low.  In one of the larger tidepools we saw nine Great Blue Heron that were probably a group of adults and young from some nearby nests. 

JD. 

Three Great Blue Heron in a big tidepool at Crescent Bay beach.  The one on the right has just caught a fish.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we were unlucky enough to have a rainy day for the hike, although it was a welcome break in the ongoing near drought weather of the past several weeks.  We first drove the short distance to the Gravel Pit located on the side road just up the hill going north from the Community Hall in Gillies Bay.  Walking from there we took the old logging road that goes past the former horse and pony competition ground and then on through the forest on a round-about route that eventually reaches the large and deep mine shaft at the Cap Sheaf claim. We had lunch there and then decided to return by a shorter route that partly followed the creek that flows from the north end of Cap Sheaf Lake. 

My photo this week is of a Treefrog I found in a small roadside pond on the High Road.  I think most of the Treefrogs on Texada are green, but a small percentage have a quite different skin colour.  This what I call the brown skin colour variation,  a brown base with rounded patches of darker brown or black.   The tiny pads on the toes show that it is indeed a true Treefrog.  Such cute little creatures!
JD.


  
  Pacific Treefrog - an individual with the light brown skin colour variation. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Next Hike - from the Community Hall in Gillies Bay

The next hike will be on Saturday, 8th August.
As the Blues Music Festival is being held at the Gillies Bay Ball Park this weekend we will meet at the Community Hall this time.  

Last week we met in Van Anda and drove to the south end of Crescent Bay.  This is reached by turning off the Cresent Bay Road onto Woodhead Rd which is on the right not very far past the Golf Course.  At the end of Woodhead a narrow and uneven gravel road heads downhill to a flat grassy area and a short trail to the beach starts at a gap in the bushes.  This beach access is fully legal and is the only usable public beach access I know of on the Texada coastline between Blubber Bay and Gillies Bay.This long curved beach is quite narrow most of the time, but at this time of the year when the annual Texada Sandcastle competion takes place the low tides are very low indeed and happen at a convenient time for hiking. My photo shows just how extensive the beach becomes and how varied and interesting it is for anyone interested in a variety of things that can be found on beaches like this.  It has lots of tidepools, some small areas with just sand and lots of rocks of all shapes and sizes. It's not the easiest beach to walk on and care has to be taken not to fall as some rocks are slick with algae and wet seaweed.  Look carefully and you will see traces of ancient native fish weirs mainly in the more northern section of the beach. 
JD.
 

The wide expanse of Crescent Bay Beach when the tide is especially low.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Next Hike from Van Anda.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 1st August.
We meet in the parking area at the Royal Canadian Legion in Van Anda.

Last week we drove south and parked at the spot where the Cook Bay Rd starts its long descent to the sea. The hike destination was the top of nearby Mount Davies, but along the way we branched off on the side trail to Bloody Mt. viewpoint.  Returning then to the main south trail it was interesting to see as we headed higher that the water in the beaver ponds the trail skirts was drying up.  I've never before seen the big green leaves of the yellow flowered water lily quite so brown and withered as they are this year.   The view from the summit was as great as usual and the very slight cooling breeze made eating lunch in the sun very pleasant.

My photo this time was taken on a recent hike to a bluff high above Cook Bay and it was the curious shape of the moss hugging the tops of some rocky outcrops that caught my eye.  The bright green low growing Juniper is a mature shrub with quite a good number of the distinctive grey berries typical of this genus of shrubs and trees. 

JD.

It was something that really caught the eye — grey-green moss so oddly shaped growing on rocks in a 'sea' of bright green Juniper.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 25th July.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

My photo this week was taken on our recent hike into Dragonfly Lake.  The beaver dam is at the south end of the lake and I have never had a good look at it so I don't know if there is anything special about it. However, the beaver must be doing a good job of maintaining it as I noticed the water level had dropped very little after a long spell of quite dry weather. As we walked towards our lunch spot at the north end we passed betwen several fair sized trees that had been largely stripped of their bark as high as the beaver could reach.  They had not attempted to fall any of the trees but they may well do so if they want to feed on the needles and bark of the smaller branches higher up.
JD.

The work of a hungry beaver close to the edge of Dragonfly Lake.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Next Hike,

The next hike will be on Saturday, 18th July.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay.

Last week the weather was overcast when we met at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay and it was raining to some extent for most of the time we were driving and hiking.  We parked on the road that heads down towards Russ creek and the White Pine rust disease study area walking part way before turning off on the side road to Dragonfly Lake.  Although it was damp hiking through the narrow trail alongside the lake and it rained a little more than earlier as we ate lunch on the bluff at the north end everyone seemed quite happy.  The fact that we were having some rain at last after quite a long hot dry spell was enough reason to be cheerfull. 

My photo was one I took a few days later when the air was dry again and I was doing a botanical excursion to the Eagle Creek and Mouat Bluffs area with a visitor form the Lower Mainland. She had never been on Texada before and was especially interested in some of our rare ferns and related species of plants and I was able to show her some  fine specimens for her to photograph.  The butterfly is a kind of Fritilary, but as there are quite a few species that are similar I'm not sure exactly which one this might be. 
JD.
 
A Fritillary butterfly feeding on a roadside daisy flower near Eagle Creek.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 11th July.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we drove a long way sout, right down past Angel Lake and the Twin Peaks Trail and parked at the Fiveway Junction.  Taking the old Cook Bay cut-off road we walked down hill and took the second logging road on the left, south side, of the road.  This climbs fairly steeply uphill in nice forest shade for some distance and then drops a little before levelling off.  There used to be a good viewpoint on the right on this section of the road, but the trees are growing so rapidly here that the view is spoilt now.  After a short seach we found a new spot with an even better view with shade trees as a bonus.  The smoke that has bothered the entire coast for the last few days had not arrived last Saturday and we had clear views to the south west of the Sabine Channel, Lasqueti Island and the mountains on Vacouver Island.
JD.


        
        The view of the Sabine Channel, part of Lasqueti Island with Mt. Arrowsmith in the far distance.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 4th July.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we drove down the Davie Bay Rd as far as Eagle Creek, then turned left and parked just after the old sand pit.  From there we had welcome shade right from the start and it was pleasant and rather surprising after a long spell of hot dry weather to be walking on short green grass. The old logging road climbs quite steeply for a while and only eases off after it passes a small swamp on the right. Reaching Thompson Road at a T junction we turned right and headed south, still in the forest shade, but now on a quite level stretch of road.  Our lunch spot destination was to be Balanced Rock Lake and this is at the end of narrow winding rather overgrown trail that climbs steadily from the end of a short spur road on the left of the main road. 

It was great to find an adult Nighthawk on the ground in the very same area where we have seen this species nesting in the past. We were careful about not stepping on the eggs which are laid on the bare ground where there are small patches of open forest, but saw no eggs or young this year. 
JD.


Hiking in the cool dappled shade along the northern part of Thompson Road.       Stu Broderick photo.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hike Notice — extra.

I forgot to include in my last email hike notice an invitation to hikers from Diana Vaughn.

You are invited back to Diana's house on Blair Rd. after the hike tomorrow where I have no doubt the very best English tea will be served in great style, together with some appropriate goodies of the edible kind.
JD.

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 27th June.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we had a day that started off quite cloudy but it soon became hot and sunny and we were glad to be hiking much of the time in forest shade.  We parked on the gasline at Second Lake and followed a circular route that took us on old logging roads and forest trails over a ridge to Thompson Road and back again.  The lunch spot was on a bluff with quite an extensive view across the straits to Vancouver Island. The hike included natural history features of interest that included a handsome black and white garter snake, some rare and some common wintergreen flowers and a clear pool of water not far from Third Lake with lots of active trout fry.
JD.

Hiking near Thompson Road on an old logging road covered in masses of white daisies. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 20th June.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we drove south on Bell Road just to the Hydro East Junction and parked there in the shade. We started by walking south towards Hydro East and then turned off on the very first old road on the left. This part of the hike is very pleasant in summer time as there is lots of shade on most of the route all the way to the viewpoint lunch spot which has a choice of sun or shade and a great view to the Coast Mountains and nearby Sunshine Coast.  Not long before reaching the lunch spot a crossroad offers a short optional side trip to a lovely beaver pond and close to the water a not so lovely blown-up camping trailer.  Some years ago a propane leak inside must have ignited and the result is a field of debris that is quite extensive.  We were surprised to find the dam and lodge were in excellent condition with evidence of recent beaver maintenance activity. 

My photo this week is from two weeks ago when we hiked to the top of Mount Flicker which lies close to Bobs Lake on it's east side.
JD.

On top of Mt. Flicker near Bobs Lake with the Vancouver Island mountains in the far distance.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove south on Bell Road and up past the turnoff to the Hydro Reactor Station and then parked at the next road juction.  From there the hike mainly followed the gasline south towards Bobs Lake but we took the winding trail on the left just before that really steep hill.  This leads east and back to the main Bobs Lake Road and then it was just a short distance until turning off on the left and quickly after that headed uphill through the forest to the viewpoint at the top of Flicker Mountain. After lunch and a group photo with a young German visitor who seemed to be on  a slow tour of Canada before heading off to explore Japan and China. 

My photo was taken on a recent hike when we were climbing towards the high point of Thompson Bluffs.  It's a closeup of an almost upside down Swallowtail butterfly holding onto and sipping nectar from the tiny pink flower of a Dogbane plant.  In my experience this species of insect is more often seen in populated areas than in the countryside, but this one was far away from the nearest garden.
JD.  

A Swallowtail Butterfly feeding from the tiny pink flower of a Dogbane plant.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Next hike — resent message.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 6th June.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we again had quite a small group of hikers and a perfect day for walking and certainly a good time to visit one of our many lunchspots with a view. Driving south towards Davie Bay and then at Eagle Creek taking the road on the left we parked part way up to Thompson Road. Thompson Bluffs was the destination and it truly was a great day to be at that viewpoint with the wide sweep of the Vancouver Island Mountains in front of us.

Usually we have to wait till the fall to start gathering bags full of mushrooms so it was quite a surprise to come upon a great mass of the edible Oyster Mushroom on a hike in May! They were in good condition for eating and every hiker who wanted some was able to go home with any amount they felt they could use. I cooked some each day for three days and used some of them even in an omelette.
JD.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we had a cloudy start to the day and decided there was not much point in hiking up to some interesting viewpoint that had low cloud preventing us from enjoying the view.  Instead we started walking from the Ballpark and took the usual route uphill to the lunchspot at Cap Sheaf Lake.  It turned out to be quite a memorable and funny time for a rather odd reason.  As we settled to eat several bullfrogs began a curious sequence of booming croaks from different locations in the swamp that surrounds the lake.  It was odd the way they would take it in turns to impress the females, and each seemed to have something distinctive about its voice, some with very low notes, some not so low and none in clear view.  

A few days ago I hiked north from Van Anda to Eagle Cove and beyond in search of a rare plant that had been seen close to that trail.  I was able to photograph the flowers, but along the way I also came across a Barred Owl that was upsetting some robins that probably had nests not far away.  The robins were taking turns diving down to try to get rid of the owl and my photo shows it a moment after one of the smaller birds had managed to hit it on the head!  
JD.


         
A Barred Owl that was being mobbed by several very upset robins.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 13th May, 2015
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we decided to check on the cactus that grow on the seaside bluffs south of Mouat Point.  We parked this time just past the Eagle Creek culvert and took the gravel side road that heads towards Mouat Point.  At the third fork in the road we swung left and then used the first winding trail that heads out to the bluffs.  It's always nice to sit on the rocks close to the water for our lunch break, but I was careful to not scare the twenty or so seals that I felt sure would be basking down close to the water.  After a short time they decided the neighbourhood was getting a bit too crowded and swam away to find a quieter spot. After lunch we checked on the cactus clumps, but it turned out we were too early and none had any open flowers. 
JD. 

Harbour Seals basking at low tide on seaweed covered rocks south of Mouat point. The white one is a bit unusual.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we hiked up through the forest to a viewpoint near the top of Black Mountain.  This mountain has steep sides, is rounded at the top and almost entirely covered by mature forest.  However, on the south side there are some small open spots which offer great views over Malaspina Strait to the Sunshine Coast and beyond.  While it was a nice sunny day on Texada there was too much cloud over the Lower Mainland area to allow us to see the more distant Mt. Baker in Washington State.

On the way back to the vehicles we spotted an early butterfly species that I have never seen before and while it was very skittish it did pause long enough on the road gravel to allow me to get a good shot of it.  The zig-zag pattern on the underside of the hind wings is so distinctive I was able to track it down quickly and identify it as a Western Pine Elfin.  This is a common species in most parts of North America, but fairly rare west of the Cascades which explains why I probably did not see one before.  They lay eggs on pine trees for the young to feed on the needles and the adults visit a variety of wild flowers for nectar.
JD. 

A very frisky butterfly called the Western Pine Elfin on a logging road near Black Mountain.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Next Hike.

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

Last week we drove north from Van Anda and parked where people park for swimming at the quarry.  We started by walking north up the hill and then turned off onto the right of way leading to the Rogers cell phone tower.  Just as you reach the tower there is an old partly overgrown logging road that leads down through the forest and joins with a network of mixed good and poor logging roads that extend north and south in this part of the island.  It was a lovely day and we wandered around, visiting a clump of the uncommon Douglas Maple and viewing many clusters of the rare in Canada Giant Chain Fern.  They always look very shabby this early in the summer so I didn't bother to photogarph them for this email. 

The week before last on our visit to the area south of Favada Point where we were lucky enough to see a pod of Orcas close to the shore I photographed an adult Bald Eagle that seemed very much more tame then is usual with this species.  It didn't bother to look at us at first even though we were making quite a lot of noise not far away.  When it did turn to look our way I got this nice shot, but then it turned back again to concentrate on what was happening out to sea.  I'm not sure there were any Orcas around at that time, but we did see a pod just after we finished lunch and that turned out to be quite a memorable experience.

At the time we were walking along grassy bluffs above some high cliffs and the Orca were close to the shore, heading south in clear view.  I made videos of the activity going on below us and an edited version is online at this website:—

Scroll down to 25 April to read my report on the sighting, and click on the image above that note to view an edited version of my video. Without realising it at the time I had filmed the killing of a California Sea Lion.

Mich also has some of her photos on the same website at this archive location:—


Scroll down to "TRANSIENT BIGGS ORCA"  and her photos of the same Orcas are below her report dated  25 April, 1.30 to 2.00pm

JD.

        A relatively tame adult Bald Eagle on a cliff top tree not far south of Cabin Cove, north-west coast of Texada Island.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Next Hike from Van Anda - again!

The next hike will be on Saturday, 2nd May.
We meet at the Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.
Last week we hiked south near Favada Point on the north-west coast of Texada Island and had lunch on a high cliff at Arbutus Arch.  As we walked back along the shoreline bluffs a group of five or six Biggs Transient Orcas were headed south quite close inshore.  Soon after passing us they started to mill around and began to rush about quickly diving and surfacing and for a few minutes it was not clear what was happening.  However, I shot some video and it was only much later on at home when viewing it on the computer that I realised I had recorded a sequence that included an attack on a lone California Sealion. At the end of the hike we visited the beach south of Maple Bay and enjoyed watching the antics of a large number of Steller and California Sealions, some in the water and some on the rocks basking in the sun.  Both species are pretty noisy with the massive Steller males being the loudest by far I would say.
JD.
    

   
    Four adult Orcas in a row near Favada Point. This is a frame from a video I took of their unusual behaviour.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Next Hike from Van Anda

The next hike will be on Saturday, 25th April.
We meet at the Legion parking in Van Anda at 10:00am.

Last week we climbed to the top of the Texada Matterhorn, just 150 years since the first climbers reached the top of the other Matterhorn, the one in Switzerland that is.  Ours is just an odd little lump of rock that jutts up through the trees on the north slope of Mount Grant.  We only discoved it when we were building the steep winding trail to the top of Grant a few years ago, and it makes a neat sideshow from the main trail.  The sides are quite steep, but no rope work is needed and the view from the top is quite good especially when the weather is clear as it was last Saturday.  We had lunch on the summit of Mt. Grant and then completed the circular hike route that follows the long ridge on the south side before joining an old logging road back to the vehicles. A thankyou to Mich for this week's great photo.

This Saturday we will be hiking to Favada Point on the north-west coast of Texada and there will be a good chance of seeing some sealions if they have not gone out fishing. 

JD.  

Some hikers on the top of the 'Matterhorn'  — a curious pyramid of rock on the north slope of Mt. Grant.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 18th April.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

I am now home again on Texada after spending two weeks doing some birdwatching on Vancouver Island.  I do this every spring and concentrate on helping out with a natural history project that was started over twenty-five years ago by the US and Canadian governments.  It deals with the life history of the Black Brant Goose and studies their movements, feeding habits, population numbers and threats to their survival.  In recent years there have been cutbacks in funding for the project, but a key part of the study, the attaching of ID leg bands to some of the Brant geese every summer has been continued.  This year while out on the beaches on the east side of Vancouver Island I was able to read leg bands, some new but many older ones, on over one hundred different geese.  

The Brant also visit Gillies Bay every spring and there are fifty or sixty here just now, but they are usually all gone by the end of April.  My photos shows a few of them feeding on a soft green seaweed called sea lettuce which grows mainly where a seepage of fresh water flows out onto the beaches below the high tide line.  One of the birds in my photo has a black plastic leg band with the code KRG and I know it's an older individual as I saw it myself once before this back in March 2009. 
JD.

  
Some small Brant geese feeding on soft green seaweed on a Vancouver Island beach.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Next hike will be from Van Anda again.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 11th April.
We meet at the Royal Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.

Last week the weather was not that great for the special annual beach clam bake, but I understand the event was well attended. I am still busy with my wild geese chasing on Vancouver Island and have had good success with leg band reading.

While I was in England last year I found time to hike a very special trail near London that had lots of useful signposts along the route and a handy leaflet with a map showing things of interest along the way. My photo this week shows how neatly hiking trails are promoted in other parts of the world -- maybe one day here too?
JD.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Next Hike from Van Anda

The next hike on Saturday, 4th April includes the annual Trekkers Beach BBQ potluck at Raven Bay.

Hikers meet at the Royal Canadian Legion parking in Van Anda at 10:00am and walk to Raven Bay (2 1/2 hours). 
If you are unable to hike right now, used to hike or are spouses/partners/visitors of Trekkers, you are welcome! 

Raven Bay road is only suitable for 4 wheel drive vehicles. but if you come by car you can park at the junction to the Raven Bay turnoff which is at Slow Farm on the High Road.  The walk down to the beach takes ten to fifteen minutes.

There will be a fire and the opportunity to roast oysters, hot dogs and bring whatever food you wish to eat or share with others.  There are logs to sit on, but no picnic tables so bring chairs if you want to sit close to the fire.  Also BYOB if you wish. 

The tide should be low enough to gather shell fish, but don't forget to have your current Saltwater Licenses. 

After the BBQ 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.   


For more details please get in touch with David Taylor or Russ Sparks. I'm still chasing wild geese on Vancouver Island so will not be on the next couple of hikes.
JD.
Sent from my iPad-mini

Friday, March 27, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 28th March.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we drove a short distance down the road to Davie Bay and parked at the first metal gate on the right. This hike takes us south not far from the coastline although the sea views are non-existant because there is still quite a lot of forest between the old logging road and the cliffs. Our destination this time was to be one of the pocket beaches although different side roads and trails go down to the seashore at different points. It was interesting to see so many flowers on the otherwise bare branches of the salmonberry so early in the year, but following the extra mild winter we have had it should not be a surprise. On the drive back from the hike we stopped at the Mouat Creek bridge to take a look at the two holding tanks for chum salmon fry. In about a week from now they will all be carefully released into the fast flowing water and within a few hours all will be swimming freely in the saltwater.
JD.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The next hike.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 21st March.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10.00am

Last week we had quite a long hike as we started off right from the ballpark for a change.  Heading up School Road and taking the left sideroad from the left fork at the Y junction we once again took advantage of the network of new bike trails that now crisscross the forested area to the north of the community.  Eventually we reached the old Cap Sheaf road again much higher up and soon after branched off on the left heading towards Turkey Vulture Bluff.  For lunch we stopped at a high spot on my trail with a view through the trees of the distant mountains on Vancouver Island.  

My photo this week was taken as we started downhill on another bike trail passing a giant boulder topped by a cluster of ferns from which arose this lovely Red Currant bush in full bloom.  These are not all that common on Texada, but the few that survive the deer are popular with the earliest male Rufous Hummingbird.  

I have to give advanced notice of the special hike on Saturday, 4th April which includes the annual Texada Trekkers beach BBQ potluck at Raven Bay.   I will include more info on this event in my next weekly email hike notice.
JD.

A flowering wild native Red Currant bush on top of a moss covered rock beside the trail. 



Friday, March 13, 2015

Next Hike,

The next hike will be on Saturday, 14th March.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10.00am.

Last week we had more hikers than usual and drove a little longer than usual going about half way down the long road to Cook Bay on the west side of Texada. Parking was at the turnoff where an old logging road starts the climb uphill towards Angel Lake on the high Central Plateau area.  We were not going quite that far our destination being a large beaver pond situated to the south-west of Angel.  The road is in quite good shape with a reasonable walking surface most of the way and we   made good time reaching the beaver dam not much past 12:00 o'clock.  It was a lovely calm sunny day and and very pleasant to sit on some extra large conifers that the beaver had cut down a while ago.

My photo was taken from the lunch spot looking east with the northern part of the rugged Twin Peaks ridge towering above the forest. We have a trail that leads to the very top of that rocky bluff on the right of my picture — it has quite the view!  The many dead trees were killed years ago when the beaver first built their dam and raised the water level higher than the roots of those trees and effectively drowned them.  This stand of dead trees along the shoreline of a pond is a clear indication that beaver are or have been active in an area.
JD.

A view of the north end of Twin Peaks from a large beaver pond not far from Angel Lake.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we had a lovely dry sunny day for our hike and picked one of the more popular hiking trails taking us to the summit of Mt.Davies for the lunch spot and the great views on a cloudless day.  It's the last week in February and yet the mountain peaks close to the coast are quite bare of snow and even in the far distance the snow line is clearly much higher than one would expect it to be in mid-winter.  We have had lots of precipitation this year, but always with unusually high air temperatures.  On some days in January and February the daily highs were all time records for those days of the month at the Powell River Airport weather station. 
JD.  

At the summit of Mt. Davies looking north-east towards the mainland mountains.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 28th February.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we had perfect weather for a visit to the high ground and headed up to Bobs Lake, parking on the south side where the gasline crosses the logging road. Following the pipeline right of way south, crossing the Anderson Bay Rd and then swinging off at the next junction headed downhill into an area we have never explored before.  These days, with Google Earth maps for free, it's so easy to view and print off a map with roads and logged areas clearly depicted we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Even so it was a bit of a surprise to find the clearcut we picked for lunch so very steep.  After lunch we split into two groups with half going for the scramble up to the upper road and the other group playing it safe and taking the longer less steep route back.

My photo is from an earlier hike this year when we passed a beaver dam close to the road and this alder with fresh beaver teeth marks.  It will be interesting to see if the job has been finished next time we drive that way. 
JD. 
  
Caution: Beavers at Work!   The teeth marks of a beaver close to a new beaver dam on Pocahontas Rd.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we had a good day for hiking and decided to head up onto the high ground not knowing for sure if there was fog at higher elevations.  It was difficult to know if some of our hiking trails would be passable at this time, not because of possible snow patches which are often on the high ground in February, but because the recent rains meant some smaller creeks might be to deep and wide to cross.  We managed to cross several on the first trail, but then were almost forced to turn back by one creek that was both deep and a bit too wide.  No one was keen to do that and so rocks and a big chunk of tree trunk were gathered up and a causeway quickly created.  Lunch was in a sunny spot on Thompson Rd. and we returned to the vehicles by a different, and drier, route past the Hydro Reactor station.
My photo is one I took when on a hike last month.  I don't ever remember seeing such an odd natural mass of the foam that is often seen on our fast flowing creeks.  I believe there are organic oils in the water derived from rotting vegetation and these produce a white foam when mixed in fast flowing water in rocky creeks.  This circular mass was floating, rotating and trapped in a small pool. 
JD.
  

     
A curious natural donut floating and rotating in a pool in Mouat Creek. The foam is a natural feature of fast flowing creeks.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we were faced with yet another dull and rather overcast day and started walking from the Ballpark through the forest and swampy area directly north of Gillies Bay.  We did run into much more water on the ground than expected, but managed to avoid the deeper spots and more or less followed the overgrown route of the old nature trail that was cut many years ago. Leaving the trail after it crosses Cranby Creek on a very large fallen tree we came out on the logging road that links to School Rd, and walked west and then started on a new long bike trail winding through some very mature forest.  This took us to a grassy bluff to the east of the highway Gravel Pit where we stopped for lunch at a high spot with just a glimpse of the sea through some trees.
JD.
   

An extra large bracket fungus on the trunk of a dead but still upright tree on Gillies Bay Nature Trail.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Next Hike

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

Last week we had perfect weather for a hike once we had driven nearly to Bobs Lake and got above the thick blanket of fog that covered the lower terrain.  We took a route that avoided the main logging roads and enjoyed the grassy lanes through the forest. Heading south towards Angel Lake, but then turning west along a road that we used once or twice until the beaver added to the height of their dam on Gentian Lake and flooded a short section of the road.  We could not cross without wading, but it was a pleasant spot to have lunch.  The dogs thought it great fun when work started on a rock and logs causeway for the next time we head down this old road.  It is quite a long one and eventually joins the Cook Bay Road, but I believe it may be badly overgrown in some sections. 
JD. 

Gentian Lake has a ford towards the south end and a log causeway will be needed to cross dry-shod.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove a short distance along the road to Davie Bay and parked on the left at the top of the first hill.  This was a hike along old logging roads that followed the south bank of Mouat Creek for about half the hike.  Before lunch we had a chance to walk a short spur road from the north end of Thompson Road that ends at a curious rustic cabin built many years ago by some hunting folks from Powell River.   After that we back-tracked a little way and sat beside the creek on the site of a loggers road bridge that is long gone, washed out over the years by winter floods.  
My photo this week is of a brand new beaver dam on Pocahontas Bay road that has flooded a wetland area to create quite a large beaver pond.  These wonderful bodies of open water are excellent new habitat for both birds and amphibians, and I would not be surprised if the rare Red-legged Frog started spawning here quite soon.
JD.

 
A new beaver dam on Pocahontas Bay Road that already has quite a large pond backed up behind it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove up to the High Road and then north to the Pocahontas turnoff and down to a parking spot on the old main haul road from the south just where the road up the mountain branches off.  Walking back towards Pocahontas Bay our plan was to do a circular hike visiting two small bays and returning to the vehicles from the second one.  We had time to do this, but we found out we needed a very low tide to avoid the rocky shoreline so we ate lunch in the first bay and returned the way we had come.  It was a very pleasant day for hiking and we found things of interest including some edible mushrooms, an attractive waterfall on a creek that is usually a quiet trickle and some impressive mature cedars.   The circular hike will keep for a low tide day in the summer perhaps.
JD.
  

A small waterfall on the creek that flows into the sandy bay east of Pocahontas Bay. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 17th January.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we had a day when it was not raining in the morning,  but the clouds were covering the top of Mt. Pocahontas and a hike in the forest seemed a good choice. We drove up to the lower section of Bell Road and headed into the forest at the far end of Staaf Rd. The walking started with an easy section of old logging road, but once we had reached the edge of the very steep-sided Mouat Creek valley things got a bit tricky.  The trail is well flagged and in the summer is fine enough although the stinging nettles have to be beaten aside in places.  That was not a problem in early January, what did make the going tricky was the wet clayish surface of the ground that made it difficult to avoid sliding down the steep slope.  Once down on the bank of the creek it was very much more comfortable to walk the winding route heading down stream.  

My photo shows some of the hikers on the bank of Texada's largest creek enjoying a very beautiful section of the valley not often visited although a very attractive place to be in both winter and summer.  A different route was used on the return, climbing almost straight up the steep valley side under some more mature conifers to avoid the slippery trail down.  
JD.   

Mouat Creek rushes past towards the sea beside our pleasant lunch spot.