The Next Hike

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

Next Hike.

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

Last week we decided on doing a hike we had not done for a year or more and headed for the start of the Mt. Manzanita Trail.  I had trouble finding it and thought we needed to walk north from where we had parked, but it turned out to be a true stone's throw from where we had parked.  Nonetheless we had all got nicely warmed up with the brisk walking on the road and started along the well marked trail through the forest. Once we had reached the edge of the recent regrowth area of forest things got more difficult and there was lots of bushy branches to cut off as the young saplings still had vigorous branches right down to the ground. Once we got onto the open logging road we made good progress up the long but steady climb to the start of the final very steep 'goat trail' to the open bluff at the very top. It was disappointing at first  to find we had climbed into thick fog with nothing to be seen in any direction but the tops of nearby trees. It was windy and very damp in the fog and we searched for a spot with protection from the strong southeast wind.  Then to everyones great surprise big gaps opened up in the fog and suddenly we started to pick out some houses far below us, then Dick Island and Gillies Bay and as we started to eat lunch the whole ocean cleared and we were looking at the full extent of the Vancouver Island Mountains.   What a delight!
JD. 

Lunching on a cool, windy and for a very short while, very foggy day on Mt. Manzanita.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we had a cool, but dry day for the hike and drove up onto the high ground, along Bell Road and then on the side road to park not far past the Masck Farm road junction. Our destination was the north end of Dragonfly Lake where a small rocky bluff offers a very pleasant lunch spot. Some hikers looked in vain for edible mushrooms as the very long spell of dry weather probably left the undergound parts of the fungus, the mycelium as its called, almost bone dry.

Our native Rough-skinned Newt does prefer to have some moisture in it's habitat and the recent showers seem to have encouraged it to start travelling about in the forest. We came across one very tiny specimen that had ventured onto a dry gravel road on Saturday and I photographed it with human finger-tips to show just how small it was. I was surprised to learn that they can live for more than ten years, and the fact that they have a very toxic poison in their skin no doubt helps them to avoid being eaten by predators.
JD.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we were quite lucky with the weather as the rain held off all through the hike even though it had been raining very hard as we drove up from Gillies Bay.  We again used the new trail around the north end of Third Lake and took the newly cleaned up trail to Mystery Lake.  From there we used a long circular route to get back to Third Lake in the afternoon and it was very nice to be walking along the meandering trails in the forest with the sun rays reaching the ground through  random gaps in the tree canopy.

My photo is of the native Maidenhair Fern that is more often seen in damp places on limestone around Van Anda, but also close to creeks and waterfalls in other parts of the island.
JD.

The delicate and unmistakable frond of the native Western Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum aleuticum.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove towards Bobs Lake and parked at the gravel pit not far from the entrance to the campsite.  Taking a circuitous route through the forest and along part of the gas pipeline right of way we eventually reached Angel Lake, our lunch spot for the day. It was a lovely fall day for a hike and there was no sign yet of hunting activity, but that is bound to change all too soon. 
JD.

Lovely Angel Lake on a perfect day in September. Twin Peaks is the high point in the distance.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove south past Bobs Lake and Angel Lake and parked where the  Anderson Bay Road runs next to the natural gas pipeline for a short distance.  Parking there we then followed the pipeline right of way uphill to the point where the start of the Twin Peaks trail is marked by a couple of cairns. We did the usual thing and visited the side trail to the north viewpoint before taking the steeper trail to the south peak where we ate lunch.  The weather was near perfect with great views in all directions and the sun still strong enough we made use of the shade under the branches of the small trees.

For a few weeks in summer you can often see a fairly large swallow-like bird darting about high in the sky as they "hawk" after high flying insects.  If they happen to be lower down you may be able to see the white bars on the wings, but few people ever get a chance to see one on the ground although I have seen them resting in the middle of our quieter roads after dark.  We have Candi to thank for her excellent photo of a Common Nighthawk resting on the ground. 
JD.

 
The Common Nighthawk is a summer visitor to Texada that we see in flight quite often, but rarely when it's on the ground.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove not far south on the road to Davies Bay and parked at the first red gate on the right.  From there the old logging road has some places where the TIFR logging company has replanted the forest with a variety of tree species that are not common on Texada.  Of special interest are a cluster of the giant Sequoia redwoods that are native to the mountains of eastern California, the Sierra Nevada.  To see some of the worlds largest and oldest giant specimens of this species try to visit the Sequoia National Park sometime.
I also noticed they had planted a few deciduous trees that I did not recognize at first, but could see that they looked very similar to the Silver Birch I know from the British Isles. When I checked out the  photos later at home I figured they were actually a native BC birch called Paper Birch, Betula papyrifera.  This species has male and female catkins that are open before the leaves come out and the female ones develop into these green cones you can see in my photo.  Eventually the cones ripen and break up to shed many small seeds with thin paper like wings attached and these get dispersed by the wind.
JD. 
Betula papyrifera - the paper or canoe birch tree leaves with immature green cones. The trunk of this young tree is already quite white.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we decided to start our hike right at the Sunday Marketplace next to the Ballpark, with no driving and a longer time for walking.  Actually we spent so much time looking at things in the forest that the distance we covered was much the same as usual.  Very quickly we were in the area of old growth forest that runs parallel to and on the north side of the large swamp that extends west almost to the Community Hall. The largest trees here are real old timers with several firs and cedars that are many hundreds of years old.  One common understorey shrub in this patch of forest is Devils Club and we were slowed down when we found it had spread over the trail we were trying to follow.  This plant is so totally covered with spines that one has to take great care to avoid getting a sudden and painful experience should you accidentally come into close contact with any part of the plant.   It very seldom flowers, but I have noticed that sometimes when it gets a bit more sunlight exposure after living in deep shade, which it prefers to do, and only then the odd flower spike appears.  The scientific name, Oplopanax horridus, is a good one and you can see in my photo for this week just how nasty it really is.

Our lunch spot was a bluff high above Gillies Bay and it was a memorable day being able to watch for a few minutes some humpback whales actually in the bay not far from shore behaving in quite a frisky fashion for such large creatures.
JD.

Oplopanax horridus or Devil's Club with the seldom seen bright red berries.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 1st September.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we had another very pleasant day and did the very popular Mt. Grant circular trail route.   There are several viewpoints on this hike and more than one spot where we can sit and enjoy  interesting views in different directions — to the west towards Mt. Davies and Vancouver Island, to the north and to the east looking towards Powell River and the distant Coast Mountains. Now that the prevailing winds have kept the forest fire smoke away from the coast for a while it's well worth climbing again to some of our higher viewpoints.

My photo this week is of a very fresh specimen of a butterfly that is fairly common in the summer on the higher parts of the island. The Pine White lays it's eggs on the needles of conifers and the adults are especially attracted to flowers with some yellow colour in them.  
JD.

Pine White butterfly, [Neophasia menapia] feeding from a roadside daisy near Mt. Davies. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Next Hike.

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

Last week we drove south along Bell Rd. and parked at the junction soon after crossing under the Vancouver Island Hydro lines.  The hike starts by taking the right fork and after a short distance  branching off onto the gas pipeline right of way heading south,  This is quite a pleasant section of the pipeline as the route twists and turns and undulates through a forested area.  We usually leave the pipeline just before it runs up a short but very steep hill.  An old overgrown logging road soon takes us to the Bobs Lake Rd. and we follow that just for the short distance to the picnic tables at the north end of the lake. There a newer flagged hiking trail runs along the east side of the lake and eventually reaches a perfect spot for swimming and lunching in the sun or shade close to the very southern tip of the lake.

Not far from our lunch spot we passed by a dead Douglas Fir tree with a most unusual large fungus growing from the thick bark.  It looked familiar, but it's not at all common on Texada.  It has several names, but the one I like best is Chicken of the Woods.  I don't remember eating it, but I understand it must be soft and still young and has to be cooked well to be entirely safe to eat. 

I don't have any plans to offer a swim on this week's hike.
JD.
     

Chicken of the Woods, Laetiporus sulphureus, is edible when young and cooked well.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Next Hike

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

As the chance to swim at Mystery Lake was such a popular option last week and the good weather seems likely to continue there may be another warm lake to swim in again this week. 

Last week we ran into problems before we even got close to the parking place.  We needed to reach the road junction where Thompson Rd. meets the steep road that climbs up from the Shingle Beach Rd and past the Stromberg Falls, but Forestry had been busy on it since the last time we had used it.  This road has been in very good condition for very many years with never any tendency to get washed out.  However, we found we were faced with crossing a series of "water bars", steep sided ditches cut across the road that make it very difficult for even high clearance 4 by 4's to cross them without being damaged underneath.
JD.
   
A happy group of hikers at the secluded Mystery Lake after a picnic lunch and for some a chance to swim in delightfully warm fresh water.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Next Hike

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

Special Feature:  There may be a chance hikers will be able, if they wish, to go for a lake swim at lunchtime on the upcoming hike on Saturday.  To get to the lake I have in mind we need to have vehicles that can handle a fairly steep section of road — so 4x4 with decent road clearance.  A shuttle arrangement is a possible alternative solution.

Last week we hiked along the beach from Sandbanks to Cox Lagoon and the Airport.  At lunchtime on the beach we were lucky enough to have a pod of Orcas coming past heading south some way offshore.  The smoke from the forest fires was quite bad so without binoculars it was difficult to see the whales properly.  I had hoped to see some Harbour Porpoise so that I could report on them to the Vancouver Aquarium who were conducting a "Cetacean Census"  during the long weekend in our northern part of the Salish Sea. However, porpoises are sometimes killed and eaten by transient Orcas so that may the reason we did not get to see any.  I did return on Monday to see if any cetaceans were around, but saw no marine mammals apart from a single seal.

The tide was very low so a very good time to introduce a young visitor to some interesting sea life.  There were crabs, and sea anemones, a few starfish, and even a rarely seen ghost shrimp someone had found.  The grey area on the right In my photo is part of a waste dump at the Lafarge quarry. 
JD.

Hiking over the rocks on the beach at Sandbanks. At low tide much of the beach is sand rather than rocks and a great area to wander around in.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week it was nice to have a much larger hiking group than usual as we welcomed many visitors to the island from Victoria and Alberta.  As usual we try to impress visiting hikers by taking them on one or other of our very best hiking routes and this time we picked the Bloody Mountain and Mt. Davies summit one.  Sure enough that panoramic view from the lunch spot was greeted with some quite enthusiastic comments.  On the way up we stopped to view the larger of the beaver ponds on the south slope of the mountain.  It was remarkable just how high the water level was for this time of year — and the big water lily leaves were still so green and fresh looking. Before heading down after lunch someone noticed they could see Mt. Baker looking fairly clear in the far distance.  That's a bit unusual as it happens most often in clear weather in springtime rather than in midsummer.  A few days later the grey smoke from the massive interior forest fires arrived on the coast and very long distance visibility took a dive. 
I must thank the photographer for the photo for this week and I thought it nice to be able to include one of me for a change.  Usually I'm the one taking photos of the hikers as a group, but this time the roles are reversed.  
JD.

The Trekker Master on the summit of Mount Davies on a day with very pleasant hiking conditions a couple of days before the arrival
of smoke from the interior forest fires. July 2017.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Next Hike from Gillies Bay - meet at the Community Hall.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 29th July.
We meet at the Community Hall in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week it was Sandcastle Weekend so the group of hikers was very small. We drove part way to Van Anda and parked close to the old farmhouse with the covered verandah all round it. Walking north along the main road a short distance brought us to an overgrown logging road that heads north for about a kilometre. This is an old Trekkers trail that we used to use quite often before the forest had managed to reclaim much of it and some logging had destroyed a good deal of the flagged trail closer to Van Anda.  We had some problems, but eventuially reached the lunch spot with it's view north from the gasline towards Harwood Island. 

My photo is one I took last week on a plant hunting trip to the Bobs Lake area. It shows a part of the beaver pond near Bloody Mt. viewpoint that we pass close to on the south trail to the top of Mt. Davies. I had not realized just how large the pond actually was, and just how lovely it can look when the rains have kept the water level higher than usual quite late into the summer.  The strip of white along the edge of the water in the distance is from the fluffy seed heads of cotton grass, not flowers.
JD.  

A large beaver pond on the south side of Mt. Davies.  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Next Hike - from the Community Hall.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 22nd July.
Because of the Sandcastle events at the Ballpark we will meet at the Community Hall in Gillies Bay at 10:00am

Last week we headed off on the long dusty drive to the start of the Cook Bay Rd. at the foot of Mt. Davies.  Hiking first on the road that leads to Bobs Lake we branched off down the Gentian Lake Trail and had a pleasant lunch under the trees at the beaver dam on the west side of the lake.

When we hiked in the Blubber Bay area a couple of weeks ago we visited two active eagles nests and my photo this time is of one of those nests with two youngsters quietly wating for the parents to return with food.  In the photo the nest is the mass of twigs at the bottom and one of the young is facing the camera standing on a branch on the left side while the other one is facing away from the camera on the right side.  Only wing feathers and part of it's tail is visible as some leafy branches are in the way.
JD.
 

Eagle Nest at Blubber Bay with two juveniles waiting for the next food delivery

Friday, July 14, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove to Blubber Bay and parked on the left of the main road at the gate for the gasline pumping station road. We walked north to see the pipeline facilities where the company inserts and retrieves the pipeline inspection pigs, and then on to visit Glass Beach and a nearby eagle nest.  From there we took the short trail through the woods to the cottages at Clam Bay and then back to the main road again.  We headed through the quarry and down to the beach access where the BC Cemnet Rd ends at the gate where the road to Grilse Pt. starts. As a brief side visit to a local point of interest that some of us had never seen before we were guided through some trees behind an old house foundation to find the massive concrete structure in my photo.  This was a concrete water tower built by BC Cement Co. to serve the houses of it's employees who worked in the limstone quarries along the shoreline as well as at the crushing plant and loading dock close by.   BC Cement was the company that operated the big Bamberton Quarry and cement manufacturing plant near Victoria for many years and the Texada operation was set up to supply extra crushed limestone from Texada.

In the afternoon we walked out to Grilse Pt. and visited with the seals that always seem to hang out in the same place at the end of a short trail that passes the site of the local radio transmitter in the last quarry on the right.  
JD. 

Concrete water tower at BC Cement townsite, Blubber Bay.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Next hike from Van Anda, again!

The next hike will be on Saturday, 8th July.
We meet at the Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.

Last week we drove from Van Anda towards Blubber Bay and parked on the curve of the road at the top of the last hill before the road reaches the ferry dock. A gravel road there crosses the gas line and soon reaches a locked steel gate. Just past the gate an old trail heads down to the beach at the south end of Linekiln Bay.  We could have followed the trail along the top of the low cliff, but the tide was low enough to walk on the rocks instead. After crossing a small beach the trail continues around the hammer shaped headland of Marshall Point.  This is an especially attractive stretch of coastline with seals on the rocks and interesting wild flowers and rare species of Juniper trees along the shore. We lunched on the beach facing Crescent Bay and returned to Van Anda with plenty of time to visit the Texada Museum where a new mine exhibit had just been opened to the public in the morning.
JD.

A curious rotten tree stump near Russ Creek.      

Friday, June 30, 2017

Next Hike will be from Van Anda again.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 1st July.
We meet at the parking at the Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.

Last week we drove Crescent Bay Rd to Woodwardia and hiked on trails to the south of Favada Point, had lunch on a bluff above Davis Bay and visited a beautiful beaver pond near the old Fox Farm.  We saw the flowers of our native cactus and Harvest Brodeia on a dry bluff and on the warmest day of the year so far we appreciated the shade of the forest for much of the hike.

My photo is another picture from the Northeast Bay area where the new trails along Russ Creek give us a chance to experience the varied features of a creek dropping several hundred feet down a hillside covered in dense forest.
JD.

The Russ Creek trails are steep in some places, but the waterfalls and rapids are impressive.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Next Hike from Van Anda.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 24th June.
We meet in the parking lot at the Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.

Last week when I was walking to the Ballpark I seem to remember seeing there was some low cloud on the high ground so it was best to hike on a low elevation trail. As some of the newer hikers had not had a chance to hike along the shoreline north from Shingle Beach that was what we decided to do. We started from Yew Tree Bay with it's fine Arbutus and Yews and headed north towards Secret Beach. The trail was in good condition having dried out well after so many recent rainy days and we made good progress before stopping for lunch on a clifftop bluff close to where some Pigeon Guillemot sea birds were nesting. After lunch and as we approached Secret Beach and the mouth of Stromberg Creek we were very surprised to hear very loud music up ahead and found ourselves walking among tents and then past the audio system which was part of a small scale music festival.

My photo shows a cluster of flowers of a fairly uncommon wild flower that seems to prefer dry seaside bluffs. Hooker's Onion has a few short thin leaves very early in the spring and then only produces flowers in the summer when the leaves have dried up. In BC it's pretty much limited to the south east side of Vancouver Island and a few locations in the Coast Mountains inland from Vancouver.

JD.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Next Hike.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 17th June.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am
Last week we had some recently cut trails to experience not far from Northeast Point on the eastern coastline of the island. To reach the area we drove down to Pocahontas Bay and then south along  the old Pocahontas Main and off on the new road into the very large clearcut we have visited a couple of times earlier in the year.  Russ Creek is a fair sized stream for Texada that flows north into Northeast Bay.  The lower part of the creek runs down quite steeply in places and is shaded on both sides by forest that has hardly been touched by logging in recent years.In the morning we hiked uphill along the wet bank trail and then after lunch we had another new trail to take us back to the strating point, this time on the east bank. 
 
It's hard to get good photos that capture the great beauty of this part of Texada because the forest is dark and the tree trunks and undergrowth often hide the creek from view. You really have to be there to appreciate the natural beauty of the place.  In one section a very narrow and steep-sided ravine cuts down through bedrock and in other sections there are rapids and waterfalls and the noise the water is making carries for quite a distance. Where the slope becomes much less steep the creek is broad and shallow and the forest peaceful.  My photo is in a brighter spot where fallen trees allow more sun to reach the forest floor and where the creek plunges over a low cliff and enters a section where the water moves much more slowly.
JD.     

Russ Creek - a natural water slide and waterfall with Maidenhair Ferns.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The next hike

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

Last week we once again headed south along the coast and parked at the Cook Bay gate with the weather sunny and dry and certainly very pleasant for hiking.  This time our plan was to explore some of the bluffs nearer to Cook Bay community that we had not visited on earlier hikes in this area.  This time we had a new approach route down an old logging road we had not used before and this took us quite quickly to a spot where it was easy to access a bluff with quite a good view not all that high above the shoreline.  We decided to climb higher exploring the new territory in search of a good view point and suitable spot for lunch.  We found a good one and then after lunch continued towards the west until we reached our main trail that was well flagged and the best way to reach the main trail to the beach and complete a circular route.  

My photo was taken on our recent hike to the pocket beach near Eagle Creek.  June is the month when the rocky cliffs along our shoreline have lovely masses of the bright yellow monkey flowers growing usually in damp spots with a little decent soil and full sun exposure.
JD.

A colourful mass of Monkey Flower or Mimulus near Eagle Beach. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Next Hike

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

Last week we drove just a very short distance and parked a little way up the hill after the bridge over Mouat Creek on the road to Davie Bay.  An old logging road took us south through replanted clearcut and forest and it was interesting to see how well some Giant Sequoia trees were doing in one area that had been planted with mixed conifers including Red Cedar, Sitka Spruce and and Douglas Fir.  Our chosen lunch spot was a small pocket beach where we sat on low rocks beside a very calm sea.  The tide was exceptionally low that day and we found some especially interesting tidepools that would normally be under the sea.

The low tide allowed us to walk past steep cliffs and along the beach to where Eagle Creek emerges from the forest and splashes down onto brilliant green seaweed.  Warm smooth rocks beside the falls made it a perfect spot to just linger for a while.

JD.
  
      
    The lovely little waterfall at the mouth of Eagle Creek.  At high tide the sea refreshes small tide pools just out of the picture on the right.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Next Hike.

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

Last week we drove south past Shingle Beach to the entrance gate to the Cook Bay land. From there we walked part way down the old road that goes to the south end of the long Shingle Beach and then got off on to the long winding trail that heads up and over the series of grassy bluffs above the small twin bays.  We had lunch on one of the higher bluffs with a rocky summit and then used the route that passes by a very old pickup type camper in a small clearing in the forest to get back to the old road again.  

The photo for this week is one of the group that hiked from Van Anda to Raven Bay at the end of April.  We had made a point of diverting from the Priest Lake Trail where it crosses Van Anda Creek to check out that small area of old growth forest which includes a few of the old giants including this Douglas Fir with massive fissures in it's centuries old bark.  Thanks Terry for doing this perfect timer delay shot.
JD.
Trekkers on their way to Raven Bay rest beside a giant Douglas Fir close to Van Anda Creek.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we had a dry day that proved to be very pleasant weather for hiking.  We drove up Bell Road then down the Hydro East road to a parking spot abouttwo thirds of the way down the very long hill.  A fairly new logging road branches off at this point and heads downhill taking a winding route through mixed areas that are both untouched forest and young plantations.  Several creeks pass under the road in culverts and after so much rain in recent weeks it was no surprise to see so many miniature rapids and attractive waterfalls. For lunch we sat on logs on the beach after failing to locate a larger waterfall that we had visited some years earlier.  

My photo is one I took on the previous hike at the start of May when we explored the forested mountain side high above Cook Bay. This is a colourful lichen that has the very odd English name 'Floral Pixie',  There is a similar species that is common elsewhere that is called 'British Soldiers', but I understand it's rare here on the coast.  
JD.

Cladonia bellidiflora, Floral Pixie, a lichen similar to another kind of Cladonia lichen called British Soldiers.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Next Hike.

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

Last week we drove a long way south past Bobs Lake and parked at Five-way Junction not far from Twin Peaks.  This was the first group hike along a long new trail that winds through the forest to the west of the junction.  It passes several small wetlands and lakes and the lunch stop is on the highest of the open bluffs that extend several kilometres up the mountain side above Cook Bay.  The view is of Lasqueti Island and the mountains of Vancouver Island in the far distance.  As we hiked through the forest we could hear the voices of the tree frogs at the ponds and lakes and they would always go silent when they felt we were getting too close to them. 

My photo is of one of the treefrogs in a dry area.  This species is also called "Chorus Frog" by some people.
JD.

Treefrogs tend to have a wide range of body colour variations. This one has quite distinctive black markings. 


Friday, May 5, 2017

The next hike.

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

Last week we had a rainy day for our hike and annual Raven Bay beach oyster roast and BBQ.  For the hike we started at the Legion parking in Van Anda as usual, but could not use the usual route through the two quarries as Imperial, the active one, was operating so too dangerous to walk through.  Instead we hiked the trails south of Van Anda and visited the wonderful section of old growth forest that straddles Van Anda Creek just a short distance downstream from the Priest Lake dam.  The food was all good and the conversation pleasant, but it was defintely a bit chilly so the warm fire was very welcome. 

My photo this time is of the waterfalls on Maple Bay Creek when we were on a hike back in February.  The frequent rains we have been having this year have maintained high water flows on all the islands creeks and have helped to produce more impressive falls and rapids than usual.  We had had a chance to see some of the sealions out on the islands that are also a part of the Woodwardia Conservation Lands and also visited Favada Point with it's interesting Prickly Pear Cactus clusters. 
JD. 

Waterfalls on Maple Bay Creek, February 2017.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Next Hike starts from Van Anda - for the Annual Beach BBQ.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 29th April.
We meet at the Royal Canadian Legion parking at 10:00am

Last week we hiked close to Gillies Bay and just drove a short distance to park near the airport.  From there we hiked down to the beach at Cox Lagoon and then south to have lunch not far from the Sandbanks cliffs.  The return was through the forest on the old logging roads and trails to the sandpit beside the airport road.

If you are unable to hike right now, you used to hike or are spouses/partners/visitors of Trekkers, you are welcome to come to Raven Bay!  Raven Bay Road is only suitable for 4 wheel drive vehicles. but if you come by car you can park on the High Rd. at the junction to the Raven Bay turnoff which is at Slow Farm.  The walk down to the beach takes ten to fifteen minutes.  There will be a fire and the opportunity to roast oysters, clams and hot dogs and please 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 those who drove down to the bay will transport the other drivers and those who need a ride back to their vehicles parked on the High Road or in Van Anda at the Legion.
   
For more details please get in touch with David Taylor or Russ Sparks. I'm not chasing wild geese on Vancouver Island this year and will be the guide for the one way hike which will take a couple of hours or so.

My photo is one from a few years ago that shows what one of our native mosses looks like.  I've been asked about this type because there is interest in finding on Texada a very rare moss that is a close relative of the one in my photo.  The Rigid Apple Moss has been found on Lasquiti, but not so far on Texada.  It will probably take a good closeup shot like mine to get a positive ID, and an expert eye to confirm it's identity.
JD. 
 

Common Apple Moss, Bartramia pomiformis, growing close to some fallen branches with grey lichens.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Next Hike

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

Just a reminder that the last Saturday in April, the 29th, will be the annual Texada Trekkers beach oyster roast and pot-luck at Raven Bay.  All hikers past and present are welcome as are spouses and significant others.  There will be a one way hike to Raven Bay that starts at the Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am for those who are able, and for those not hiking they can drive and park at the Raven Bay turnoff on the High Road [the road down to the bay is too rough for cars, OK for pickups and some sturdy SUV's] and walk or get a ride down to the bay.  

For more information contact David Taylor or Russ Sparks. 

Last week we had a great day for hiking and drove up to the gasline road crossing not far south of the Hydro Reactor Station. For some of the hikers this was their first visit to Mt. Davies and the trails through the forest and past the beaver ponds and the panoramic views at the top were all greatly appreciated.  It's a pretty good work-out too as the elevation change from parking place to the summit is about 1,000ft, 300 metres.
JD. 
What a lovely bright and sunny day — lunchtime on the summit of Mt. Davies.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove to the parking place near the top of Pocaahontas Bay Rd. and headed up the steady climb that passes close to te side trail to the site of the old Pocahontas Fire Lookout post.  We then took the next turn on the left that continuous mostly uphill to one of our newest viewpoints an open area with a mircrowave reflector as big as a city billboard.  This day the weather was dry and fairly clear, but the odd shower cloud was drifting around in the distance.  The previous time when we made the effort to reach this high point of land we were deep in fog that only cleared just enough to see a bit of sea and distant mountain.

My photo was taken on a recent drive to a hike that started on the Cook Bay Rd.  It shows some of the big piles of cut trees we saw in an area of extensive logging to the south of Shingle Beach.  We wondered how many of these logs would be shipped offshore instead of contributing to the BC forest products industry and the additional jobs that would generate.
JD.

Logs awaiting transport to the booming ground at Mouat Bay.   This is in an area of recent forest clear-cutting to the south of Shingle Beach. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 8th April.

We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we had an unusual hike that started off in very foggy conditions near Mascyk Farm and ended up in beautiful sunshine which had replaced the fog as we ate lunch.   

I'm giving advance notice of the Texada Trekker's 23rd annual beach Oyster Roast.  This will take place on the beach at Raven Bay on Saturday, 29th April.
My photo is one I took on a recent hike to the beach at North-east Point.  We had seen a really old giant Douglas Fir tree a little earlier in the day and I included a photo of that tree in the following hike email.  This time the tree I photographed was not so large at the base and not a fir.  This one is a White Pine, Pinus monticola, and the unusual thing about the tree is that it is both very old and also seems to be very healthy. On Texada the species is not usually very long lived as they are prone to suffer from a rust disease that weakens them to such an extent they frequently die well before reaching maturity.  
JD.

The base of a very old White Pine tree not far from North-east Point.  We do not often see such large specimens of this species. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 1st April.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we had an especially interesting hike that took us along new hiking trails and down onto a small beach not far from North-east Point on the east side of the island.  To reach this area we again drove along the High Road and then down the Pocahontas Bay Road to park a short distance to the south on the old Pocahontas Bay Main logging road.  As we had done a few weeks ago we hiked towards the new clear cut area where we had found a very old giant Douglas Fir tree, but this time used an old overgrown logging road that took us on a more direct route to the shoreline. This led to a winding trail that dropped steeply down through the forest and past the base of an astonishing vertical rock face covered in ferns and mosses. We had lunch at a small shingle beach then scrambled along some low bluffs to avoid a section of shoreline with no beach at all! Beyond that section and close to where a small creek reaches the sea we were able to return to the clearcut through a area of open forest with some very large old growth trees. One of these was a healthy White Pine that I think must be one of the oldest on the island.
JD.

     
An unusual vertical rock face in the middle of the forest near North-east Point.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The next hike.

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

Last week we needed to be back at the Ballpark about 2:00pm to allow hikers time to take in a presentation on the Texada Island Official Community Plan.  The hike started from the usual meeting place at the Ballpark and we made good use of some of the well maintained biking trails that climb through the forest to reach the Gillies Bay Bluffs one of which has the name Turkey Vulture Bluff.  It was quite a cool day again so the steady uphill climbing helped us to warm up. We have had so many hikes in snowy conditions this winter I was hoping the previous hike which climbed to above 1,000ft elevation would be the last.  Our lunch spot this time was much lower down, but I guess there is still a good deal of cold air passing over us and we should not have been surprised when snowflakes started falling from the sky.
JD.
 

On Turkey Vulture Bluff where we stopped for lunch there were snow flakes falling from the sky for a while.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Next Hike

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

The hike will end back at Gillies Bay a little earlier than usual to give hikers a chance to take in a presentation at the Community Hall at 2:15pm. Details of the meeting are in the attached poster. 

Last week we drove south towards Shingle Beach then turned off at the top of the last hill to get onto the new logging road system0 that eventually joins the lower part of the Cook Bay Rd.  We parked not far from the junction and headed up the road going north towards Mt. Davies.  The plan was to explore for a new viewpoint that is situated very close to a side road at a point very much higher than our parking place.  We did reach the spot we had hoped to reach, but there was cloud cover at that elevation so it will be another day on another visit before we can fully enjoy the new viewpoint.  For most of the hike we were walking on bare roads, but much of the side road still had a fair bit of snow on it as you can see from my photo which was taken at the highest point.
JD. 


Hiking in the snow to a new viewpoint high above Cook Bay Road.  



Friday, March 10, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we were fortunate to have a day for hiking with no precipitation of any kind and quite mild temperatures. We decided to do some exploration of an area which has always been quite difficult to access until quite recently when some logging was done. The area lies to the north west of the lower part of Russ Creek, a fair sized year round creek that drains down from high on Mount Pocahontas down to the sea close to Northeast Point on the east ccoast of Texada. We drove down the Pocahontas Bay Rd then south a short distance on the old Pocahontas Main logging road. Hiking south and taking the new logging road we were soon in a logged area that proved to be much larger than expected. From just beyond the far end of the clearcut where we could clearly hear Russ Creek in the forest ahead of us we strated to flag a new trail route that we hoped would reach the beach in Northeast Bay. We did eventually reach the beach but the brush was more of a problem than we thought it was going to be and the distance much greater! However, it does give us future access to a section of the creek with much natural beauty, water rapids and pools and even a couple of very attractive waterfalls.

My photo is of a fine example of an old growth Douglas Fir that has been spared the chain saw and a cluster of younger trees have been left around it to give it some protection.
JD.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The next hike.

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

Last week we decided to stay low again to avoid the snow and ice that still covered most of the island. Around Gillies Bay the recent rainfall had cleared away most of the snow, but as we drove south towards Shingle Beach we found snow still covering the higher sections of road even on the approaches to the campground. The tide was low enough so we headed south along the beach until we were just south of the old cabins, Then we turned away from the sea and eventually found a pleasant sunny spot for lunch on the edge of a clearcut.

Next Tuesday there will be a talk at 6:30pm at the Senior's Centre that may interest some of the hiking group members. The subject is the conservation of a particular area of forest in our part of BC that is rapidly being lost to all kinds of human activity. Some of the conservation biologists will describe the work they are doing in the Powell River Regional District.
JD.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we met in Van Anda then drove to the far end of Crescent Bay Road through the entrance into Woodwardia and down to the coastline at the cottages just north of Favada Point.  After taking a little time to view the noisy Sea Lions both on the rocks and here and there in the water we headed north on foot along the rugged coastline to the rapids and waterfalls at the head of Maple Bay.  Most of the snow had gone by then, but there had been so much rain not many days earlier that the creek was filled to overflowing.  Taking a different winding trail running through the forest we soon found ourselves back at the starting point at a good time to have lunch.  In the afternoon we headed south the short distance through the forest to Favada Point and encountered some patches of those prickly Opuntia cactus.
JD. 

        
        A group of sealions on rocks near Favada Point, a mix of California Sea Lions and Steller Sea Lions. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Next hike is from Vam Anda

The next hike is on Saturday, 18th February.
We meet at the Royal Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.  

We will car-pool from the Legion parking over to the north-west coast of Texada to "Woodwardia"  just north of Favada Point.  My photo this week was one I took on a recent hike when we visited one of the neat little pocket beaches on the west side of Texada close to the mouth of Eagle Creek.  On one side of the narrow trail we were hiking along we passed close by the base of an old sawn-off cedar tree.  Not only was it quite an attractive sight I was struck by the great variety of plant species that were taking advantage of the vertical side of the rotting stump. There are clusters of a small white bracket fungus and at least two different kind of mosses more too the right side of the picture.  On the left side the grey-green plants you can see are probably lichens and there are some thin brown trailing stems of a native blackberry vine.
JD.  

A cedar stump with mosses, lichens and fungi all growing on an old cedar stump.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Next Hike — update.

In my last hike notice I wondered what the conditions would be like this Saturday and made this statement:—

" It has been raining quite a bit today and it should be somewhat milder as we get into the weekend. "

Well the rain did not last very long and the evening temperature is down around zero degrees again, so no milder than before. As I walked home late this evening it was difficult to walk on the areas of deep snow and the roads had patches of black ice that formed where snow had melted in the sun.  It was OK last week when the snow was half as deep as it is now, but I've decided not to try to hike this time with conditions the way they are.

The geese in my photo are swimming around after a heavy snowfall had collected on a layer of cold fresh water from the creek that was sitting on top of the salty sea water.  
JD.

Canada Geese pushing themselves through small ice flows in Gillies Bay, 5th February, 2017.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last Saturday there was already quite a lot of snow on the ground even at sea level and the roads were still in poor condition for driving.  We figured it would be best to stay close to home so we set off along School Rd and just hiked in a circle on the old logging roads then back to the main road near the Community Hall.  The time and distance were much shorter than usual, but the depth of the snow and it's heavy consistency meant it was quite hard work even without going very much uphill.  Since then we have had more snowfall and I'm just wondering how things will be on next Saturday.  It has been raining quite a bit today and it should be somewhat milder as we get into the weekend. 
JD.

Hiking in the snow along an old logging road not far from Gillies Bay.  4th February, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Next Hike

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

It's difficult to know quite what weather to expect this Saturday as the predicted temperatures are so close to the freezing point.  Some moisture is likely to arrive during the day, but in what form is hard to say, and it could be either rain or snow or even some of both perhaps!  

Last week we knew there would still be snow and even ice on the higher level roads towards the south, but we guessed we would be fine if we picked a hike in the First Lake area.  We parked on the gasline at the cathodic protection site on Bell Road and headed uphill through the forest.  All the snow had been melted by the milder weather or washed away by recent rains and the only evidence of the heavy snowfalls of mid-winter was the layer of white ice on Horseshoe Lake where we had our lunch break.  For a while the sun warmed us up nicely there, but it was still on the cool side in the shade.  
JD.

The hikers at another frozen lake, Horeshoe Lake, not far from the Hydro East Road.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week we parked again on the Hydro East Rd. as we had done a couple of weeks ago, but this time the snow had all gone. Hiking on a side road through the forest was very pleasant as the snow had all gone except that we were surprised to find lots of snow on the ground just in the places where the tree cover was missing. Before getting to our lunch spot we stopped by the beaver dam at Blown Up Triler Lake and found it still frozen with the beaver no doubt keeping warm inside their snow covered lodge. I think that must be it on the left side of my photo on the edge of the pond. The beaver are certainly still in residence as close to the dam some young fir had recently been cut and peeled twigs were luing here and there nearby.

As we ate lunch under the trees and overlooking Nelson Island and the Coast Mountains we heard the distant roaring of some sea lions far below us.
JD.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Next Hike

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

Last week we drove a short distance south towards Davie Bay and parked at the first iron gate on the right. From there the hike follows an old logging road that runs through some recently logged areas that slope gently down to the coastline of Mouat Bay. A narrow grassy trail branches off soon after passing the road junction where the drivable road starts and we took this side trail being careful to avoid making any noise that might disturb the current resident of the rustic squatters cabin between the trail and the cliff top.  This beach is so pleasant at any time of the year and it made a perfect spot for lunch on a warm sunny day in January.  While eating lunch someone spotted splashing far offshore that turned out to be a very large number of Pacific White-sided Dolphins heading north up the strait madly jumping out of the water as they went.  Nearer to shore a few sealions calmly swam past us very close to shore and even stopped briefly to see what we were up to!
JD. 

At one of the small pocket beaches just north of the mouth of Eagle Creek on a calm and mild sunny day in the middle of winter.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Next Hike

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

Last week the day started bright and sunny, but pretty cool.  We did consider going up as high as Mt. Davies if we could drive that far without gettting into too much snow.  There is snow on the ground now, but that Saturday morning there was no snow at all on the ground at Gillies Bay, so we did not realize how much there was higher up.  Anyhow, we decided to start driving and play it by ear, adjusing our hike plan accordingly. By the time we reached the Bell Farm road junction we could see we would not be able to drive much further. We parked at the first wide spot on Hydro East Rd. and continued south on foot.  The snow plough had smoothed off the surface and while we could tell there was ice on the road itself the skim of snow was near perfect for walking without falling.  Just after the summit where the road starts the long descent to the sea we turned off onto an old logging road to head to a lunch spot with a good view and found walking very much more difficult.  The snow surface was a tough crust which sometimes supported our weight and sometimes not.  We reached a viewpoint with some sun but no wind with that fantastic view of the snow covered peaks on the mainland on the far side of the sea far below.
 
After lunch we had time to do some more exploring and reached the top of a rocky ridge after taking an hilarious route in deep snow between some nice looking Christmas trees.  My photo is a shutter delay shot that had me dashing across the road to be included in the picture.  A great hike for the personal memory bank I would say! 
JD.


All happy in the snow!  A mid-winter hike along Hydro East road that had been very nicely ploughed for us to enjoy.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The next hike.

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

Last week we were faced with the prospect of snow arriving later in the day and the mountain tops shrouded in cloud.  A low level hike made sense under the circumstances so we headed across the island to Pocahontas Bay and parked a little south of the bay on the old logging road called Pocahontas Main. From here the walk took us through forest and recent clearcuts then down into a small belt of lovely old growth giants of Douglas fir and red cedar to the shoreline we call Tower Beach.  The view from there across Malaspina Strait takes in the tall metal surge tower just above the very old hydro power station built a long time ago to serve the pulp and paper mill in Powell River.  As we returned to our vehicles the snow flakes started to fall and by the time we had driven back up to the High Road the ground had turned white.

My photo this week was taken on a very special hike that took a large group of hikers up to the top of Mt. Dick near Anderson Bay.  None of us, including me, had ever done that hike before and the views from the summit were very well worth the effort. I posted one photo from the top in a Trekkers email in August and this is anothe view in a different direction.  The nearest headland is, I think, Partington Point and the next headland beyond that is probably the Twin Beach Point that we visited on a hike also last summer. The top of Mt. Shepherd is out of view and much higher up the very steep slope on the right of my photo.
JD.

http://texadatrekkers.blogspot.ca/        26th August 2016 hike email.

The view north up the west side of Texada from Mt. Dick near Anderson Bay. Mt. Davies is the high peak in the distance.