Thursday, December 31, 2015
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.
Posted by Gillies Bay at 4:31 PM
Friday, December 25, 2015
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.
A tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet foraging with a few friends on the forest floor.
Posted by Gillies Bay at 12:33 AM
Friday, December 18, 2015
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.
A cluster of healthy young Giant Chain Fern, Woodwardia fimbriata near Cook Bay
Posted by Gillies Bay at 1:04 AM
Thursday, December 10, 2015
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.
A wonderful snowscape scene at the ice covered Gentian Lake not far from Bobs Lake.
Posted by Gillies Bay at 10:29 PM
Thursday, December 3, 2015
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.
The Gentian Lake Trail in winter. Much of the trail is in forest and was clear of snow this day.
Posted by Gillies Bay at 11:57 PM