The Next Hike

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

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove south along Davie Bay road and past Shingle Beach through the areas of recent forest cut-blocks to the parking place at the Cook Bay entrance gate.  This time we started down the trail that goes to a beach cabin and then took the first trail on the left that provides the quickest access to the very extensive area of bluffs to the west of Cook Bay.   Reaching the usual side trail up onto the open areas we quickly ran into problems with missing flagging and unpleasantly slippery slopes and so we concentrated on rerouting and reflagging two of the trails in the area.  My plan was to design a new shortcut trail that would be quicker and easier way to reach the coastline on future hike days. I also wanted to avoid straying onto private roads and property. We made some progress with that and also found a nice new spot for lunch and viewing the nearby Lasquiti Islands and the distant mountains.

My photo today was taken from the lunch spot and gives just a glimpse of the headland called Partington Point. In my photo you can just make out the red and white navigation marker that sits part way along the narrow Sabine Channel, a popular route for some of the largest cruise ships in the world.
JD.   

A glimpse of Partington Point south of Cook Bay from high on the Cook Bay Bluffs. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we figured the clouds were high enough that it would be safe to pick one of our higher mountains and have clear views of distant mountains.  The choice of Twin Peaks does mean a long drive before actually starting off on foot, but while the climb to the peaks is extra steep the distances are quite short.  As usual we turned north at the col between the peaks where the trail divides and we headed to the North Viewpoint before backtracking and climbing a bit higher to the South Viewpoint for lunch.  Some of the hikers were doing this particular hike for the very first time  For hikers who have never done this one before the views in both directions, towards Vancouver Island in one direction and the great sweep of the Coast Mountains in the other, are especially impressive.  There was still snow on the highest peaks on the mainland and with fewer clouds and clearer air it all made for a special treat.
JD.
 
The view south towards Nanaimo from the north viewpoint on Twin Peaks.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week was more or less a typical fall day as far as weather was concerned, dry and calm with low cloud all over, so no chance for hikers to enjoy any of those wonderful viewpoints we sometimes head to for lunch.  We drove south almost to Shingle Beach and parked at the last fork in the road as a good starting point for a circular hike route. On the first part of the hike where we headed uphill into that recently logged area we started finding masses of Evergreen Huckleberry bushes that had responded to the hot sunny summer and produced masses of sweet and juicy fruit.  We dawdled for a while and enjoyed the rare treat.  Then we made our way down to the beach and sat on logs to eat and hoping to catch sight of passing whales or such. No luck this time, but it was fun to each for interesting rock specimens as we headed back along the beach to the campground.

My photo shows just how abundant the crop was on some of the bushes of Vaccinium ovatum.
JD.
 
Evergreen Huckleberry with a great abundance of ripe berries. They are so tasty at this time of the year!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Next Hike.

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

Last week we were lucky enough to have no rain at all while we were hiking although it had been raining earlier and it rained again shortly after the hike.  We drove south past Shingle Beach and parked at the entrance gate to the Cook Bay property.  Our hike turned out to be a bit longer than usual as we did some side road exploring and wanted to confirm that the old ATV trail to Partington Point actually started where I thought I had seen it a few years ago.  In the morning we were hoping to find a nice bluff with a view for lunch, but we had climbed too high and found ourselves in a thick layer of high elevation fog. On the way back down after lunch we came across a rotted piece of log on the side of the old logging road that was coated with lichens.  My photo is a closeup shot of two different species of this curious type of plants that are part fungus and part algae.  The circular pink structures and the vivid red things are called fruiting bodies or apothecia.
JD.

British Soldiers or Toy Soldiers and Fairy Puke [Cladonia bellidiflora and Icmadophila ericetorum] are lichens on a rotting
 log near Cook Bay.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week drove over to Pocahontas Bay on the east side of the island and then continued a short distance south on the old Pocahontas Main logging road, parking at the junction where the side road to the towers branches off.  Our destination was the viewpoints on Pocahontas East peak which we have visited many times before this, but we usually approach from a different direction on a shorter route.  This time the climb was longer and the elevation gain a shade over 1,000ft.  
There are no viewpoints on the way up and it's nice to have the views towards the mainland mountains as a reward for the physical effort. 

Shortly after we started down it was a little surprising to see a garter snake sleeping on the damp moss just to one side of the trail.  Snakes unlike lizards do not have eyelids so it's hard to tell if they are awake or not when they are not moving about.  In this case it remained quite motionless as it was being photographed until out popped it's tongue showing we had woken it up. Even then it was not bothered by us being close by and we backed off and left it to resume its afternoon nap.
JD.
 
A sleeping Garter Snake beside the hiking trail on Mt. Pocahontas.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 8th September.
We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week we decided to hike to the top of Eagle Mountain, somethings we had not done for quite a long time. Normally we would fit this particular hike in about once a year, but we figured it was no longer possible to drive part way up the logging road that connects the Davie Bay to Thompson Road.  After Forestry had dug numerous swales or water bars across the road from top to bottom it was felt they would damage our vehicles, even ones with good road clearance.   However, last Saturday we did negotiate the obstacles far enough along the old logging road to park at the starting point of the hike. From there we did make it to the top of the mountain and ate lunch at a great viewpoint, but it took much longer than it should have after I made navigation errors at two trail junctions where I think I must have turned right instead of left. It was a good weather day for the outdoors for a change after many days of very unpleasant forest fire smoke that were not only unpleasant to inhale, some days the smoke cut the visibility in quite a drastic way.

There were more delays after lunch as flagging was missing from one section of trail, but everyone and our vehicles made it safely back to Gillies Bay.  
JD.
  
The view looking north-west from a cliff top viewpoint near the top of Eagle Mountain. 


Friday, August 31, 2018

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 were faced with a day when some low cloud was covering the high ground and it seemed likely to hang around for most of the day.  There was not much point in heading uphill to a view point on a mountain top so we opted for a hike though some forest and down to where we could look for marine mammals along the shore.  We were hoping to see Orcas or perhaps humpback whales as both species have been reported in our area recently.  As it happened we did get to see some of our smallest marine mammal as we were enjoying lunch at the top of a low cliff just south of Mouat Point.  We saw them some distance away at first as they seemed to have found a concentration of small fish that they could eat without needing to return to the beach and it seemed to be a family of five or six staying close together for quite some time.  We knew we were close to where they spend time onshore and sure enough they headed back towards us and passed close by before landing just beyond a headland.  I think it was probably a mother, on the left in the photo, with her young family. After lunch we headed south, but were careful to avoid disturbing the large group of harbour seals that were basking on the shore not too far away.
JD.
 
A family of otters came very close to where we were eating lunch on a grassy bluff at the shoreline.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we had the usual dry warm weather we expect in August, but for quite some time we had been suffering from a thick atmosphere of forest fire smoke blown out onto the coast from some of the large number of fires in the interior.  It was not as bad as it had been and when we reached the start of our hike on the high ground south of Angel Lake we found we had relatively clean air, perhaps because the solution was more concentrated at sea level.  Half a dozen of the hikers were tourists from Vancouver Island just visiting for a few days and it was fun being able to talk to them and explain some of the unique features of Texada.  They seemed to be finding it hard to believe we had no bears, no cougars or wolves.  I think all six were visiting Texada for the first time ever - having finally decided it was time to visit the big island they could see not so very far away on the other side of the Salish Sea. 

Thanks Terry for the group photo of all twenty-two hikers obviously having a very good time.
JD.


A larger than usual hike group at Five-way Junction on a mid August hike during a time when there were extensive forest fires in many parts of the province.  

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week was the very popular Texada Sandcastle weekend and no resident hikers managed to fit the usual Saturday hike into their schedules.  With no visiting hikers showing up either I decided to check out the trail situation in the area to the north of the Blubber Bay Road by myself.   From Van Anda I drove towards Blubber Bay and parked at the yellow gate on the road into the natural gas pipeline booster pumping station. I made slow progress and found it easier to walk on the rocky beach rather than in the forest.  I found several interesting things to photograph including the new species of tent caterpillar that has arrived in the last couple of years, some rock formations of scientific interest and some interesting specimens of the Seaside Juniper, Juniperus maritima.  This fairly large native tree manages to survive very well all along this stretch of coastline where it often grows on the most inhospitable outcrops of fractured limestone.  In my photo you can see one of these trees on the right, over thirty feet tall and yet perched on a rock ledge at the top of a low cliff. 

JD.
 
This view of Limekiln Bay looking south shows the coast line from near Glass Beach and Kiddie Point, almost to the southern limit at Marshall Point. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Next Hike from Van Anda.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 11 August.
We meet at the parking area of the Canadian Legion in Van Anda at 10:00am.
 
Last week the weather was again hot and dry and we were glad to be able to hike along a route to Black Mountain that had lots of cool forest cover.  Most often when we hike to the top of Black Mountain we park on the roadside gravel pit at the Macyk Farm turnoff, but this time we parked on the Hydro East Road and hiked north and east to the Blownup Trailer Lake before taking the logging road that goes past the start of the Black Mountain Trail.  The viewpoint near the summit is one of my favourites although it does make me a bit nervous to stand on the rocky outcrop close to that steep drop off. The strait was really quite busy with pleasure craft in the water plus a tug and barge heading south and some float planes flying past below us.   Thanks for the photo Candi a great shot!   
JD.

At the Black Mountain viewpoint looking over Malaspina Strait towards Nelson Island.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Next Hike - meeting place changed - Sat. 4th August.

I forgot about the Blues & Roots at the Ballpark this weekend.

We will meet instead at the Community Hall in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

JD.

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove south past Davie Bay to the Shingle Beach campground where we parked at the start of our coastal trail running north to Secret Beach.   For lunch we picked a small rocky beach where the sea water proved to be very comfortable for swimming.  At Bamboo Beach we decided to make use of the short side trail up to the road and headed back to the vehicles.  On the way home we made a diversion to show our visitors the limestone caves and sink holes in the Stromberg Falls area. No water at the falls of course and Grow Op Creek was bone dry, but the green moss and the dainty ferns were a rare sight that we don't see in quite the same way in the rainy season. 

During this month there may be a chance to swim in the sea or a lake so if you are interested be prepared.
JD.

 On a very hot day in August the graceful leaves of Maidenhair Fern cling to the mossy rock face in this cool green refuge at the base of the dry Stromberg Falls.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Next hike.

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

Last week the hike day was again very warm, sunny and dry and a hike that was mainly in the cool forest was a good choice.  We drove to First Lake and parked as usual on the gas line by the cathodic protection site. Heading east on the old logging roads the summer flowers, mainly white and yellow  daises were abundant in the stretches of open forest.  After crossing the Hydro East road the hike route eventually reaches an open area where some replanting with more than the usual number of Red Cedar was done a few years ago.  This species which is usually planted in areas of damp soil has proved to be very vigorous in much drier conditions and the some of the saplings were doing very well indeed.  The lunch spot was on the edge of a steep hillside where the view south over Malaspina Strait is really quite spectacular and the heat was moderated by a nice breeze.

I try to get photos of any interesting plants we see on our hikes and that's what I'm doing in the photo this week. Thanks Candi.
JD.

Wildflower photographer at work! 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove quite a long way south along Bell Road, past Bobs Lake and then parked at the first gas pipeline crossing on the Anderson Bay Road. The hike route was south along the pipeline then on various logging roads, past the turning into Angel Lake, then onto a side road that eventually took us to the fairly long beaver dam at the big pond with a great view of Twin Peaks. It was a warm and humid day that seemed to bring out a lot more deer flies than usual, but sitting under the trees at the edge of the pond there was a little breeze and the bugs were much less of a problem than they might have been.

My photo this week is one I took recently when we hiked the lovely new Marble Bay trail along the north shoreline of Sturt (Marble) Bay. The Boat Club marina is just outside the left side of the photo and the floats you can see are all private ones. 
JD.

The view of Caesar Cove from the new Marble Bay hiking trail.  The trail starts from the main road and runs along the north shoreline of Marble or Sturt Bay, Van Anda. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we had very pleasant weather for a fairly long hike that took us from the gravel pit near Second Lake along forest trails that are somewhat overgrown now in several places to a bluff on Thompson Road with views of Vancouver Island in the far distance.  The return route was different as we passed along the east side of Mystery Lake and along our quite new trail that follows much of the shoreline of Third Lake.  
JD.

Bog cranberry flowers at Hydro Line Lake, Vaccinium oxycoccus.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we started off with a fairly slow drive along the bumpy roads that go down to Pocahontas Bay and beyond to the south towards Russ Creek. The hike was one that climbs almost continuously along some new and old logging roads to a rocky peak with an elevation of just under 1,500ft [450m] above sea level.  The actual elevation gain for the hikers was about 900ft, but the weather was dry and not too warm.

My flower photo this week is one I took last month of a tiny plant that is quite uncommon in our forest and often found with a much more common and larger plant called Prince's Pine.  Many people are familiar with the more common one which always has many more flowers on each plant instead of the one, two or three of the Little Prince's Pine. I think the flowers in my photo are quite curious because, to me at any rate, they look as if made of wax and hand painted!  So odd and attractive. 

JD.

Little Prince's Pine, Chimaphila menziesii, Hydro Line Lake Rd. This is a smaller relative of the much more common Prince's Pine.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Next hike.

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

Last week we had a hot and dry sunny day for our hike and headed south along the road to Shingle Beach turning off just before the campground to use the route through the extensive recently logged area to reach our parking spot just outside the Cook Bay gate.  The idea was to find a way from a low elevation bluff close to the Cook Bay property that would take us down to a part of the coastline that we had not visited on earlier hikes in the area.  We did find a route that was not too difficult and ate lunch on the grassy slope with a lone tree that you can see in the very centre of my photo.   After lunch we did some more exploration and managed to find a way to get onto our main flagged trail that reaches the sea at the Twin Beaches.  Using part of that main trail and another flagged trail we made last year we eventually got back to the route we used in the morning. This is such a beautiful part of Texada and it has a wide strip of land along the coast here that is a designated UREP reserve. [ A reserve area selected by the Provincial Government for the 'Use, Recreation and Enjoyment of the Public' ]  It was a long hot climb back up from the shoreline to the road where we had parked, but it was so well worth all the effort and a hike to be remembered.
JD. 

View south down the Sabine Channel from near Cook Bay. The top of Mt. Shepherd is just out of the picture on the left and the islands on the right are part of Lasqueti.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week John Wood was our guide and he took us along a new hiking route that he and his helpers have recently completed.  The trail starts from the main Blubber Bay Road just south of the large "Golf" sign and mainly hugs the north shoreline of Sturt Bay ending with a  loop that includes a long section of mature Red Cedar forest.  It offers several excellent picnic spots on the rocky low cliff coastline with views both towards Van Anda and looking across Malaspina Straits to Westview and the coast mountains beyond.

My photo is of the very well hidden hummingbird nest that was built right next to the trail on a low cedar branch.  The nests are always exactly the right size to hold just two babies and this was no exception and you can see the two bills ready to receive the next food delivery.  By the way, the males apparently have nothing to do with raising the offspring as the females do the nest construction, incubation of the eggs and feeding the young.
JD.

 
A Rufous Hummingbird nest built on a cedar branch on the Marble Bay Trail near Van Anda. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Next Hike from Van Anda.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 16th June.
We meet at the Legion parking area in Van Anda at 10:00am.

Last week we drove in very good weather to a parking place south of Bobs Lake where the main road crosses the gas line right of way. Walking south to a junction not far from Angel Lake we took the side road that runs along an undulating route through thick forest until it eventually comes to a fairly recent clearcut on a very steep mountainside.  The view at our lunch  spot is not all that wide an angle, but on a clear day it offers dramatic scenery looking north towards the mainland. 
JD.

Having lunch on a very steep mountainside not far from Twin Peaks.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Next Hike

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

There is one parking place close to a small gravel pit and up on the high ground near Second Lake that we use several times each year because it provides a very good starting place for several of our more popular trail hikes.  Destinations include Plateau Mountain, Mystery Lake, Thompson Road, Thompson Bluffs and a circular hike that passes the Reactor Station.  Last week we added a new route that ends on a steep sided bluff high up on the south side of the Vancouver Island Hydro line.  Directly below and partly under the cables is a lake we are calling Hydro Line Lake.  A common shrub that usually grows in wetlands and around the margins of lakes on Texada has recently undergone a scientific name change no doubt the result of recent genetic research by botanists who have found the earlier name was no longer appropriate.  In this case the low shrub we know as Labrador Tea has the new scientific name Rhododendron groenlandicum.  The species part of the name remains the same as before, but the genus is no longer Ledum.  Whatever the name you use I must say it's creamy white flowers were putting on a great display last week. 
JD.

The Labrador Tea shrubs in full flower all around the end of Hydro Line Lake. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we were pleased to welcome a couple of hikers from Salmon Arm who were hiking with the Trekkers for the very first time.  As everyone seemed to be happy to tackle a full length hike with zero driving time we headed off from the meeting place at the Ballpark heading up the steep winding mountain bike trails towards the bluffs that extend along parts of the high ridge directly north of the bay.  I made a point of stopping for our popular 'nature moments' where someone with local knowledge of the natural history of Texada gets to point out interesting facts about this or that wherever we happen to be.  There were questions about edible plants, our evergreen huckleberry in particular, fungus, rock types and so on.  It proved to be a very pleasant time for everyone.
JD.

The hikers lunching on a small bluff overlooking Gillies Bay.  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we gathered in Van Anda and drove a short distance part way along the narrow gravel road to Kirk Lake and then some way along a side road to a grassy parking spot just before a gate into private property.  The hike was along winding new trails that swing up and around the Kirk Lake Bluffs.  This was for me the first visit to the almost vertical rock faces that form the south side of the bluffs and I think the high point of the hike was seeing the natural rock formation that looks for all the world like an even larger replica of the ancient rock statues of Easter Island in the Pacific. 
JD.
 
A curious natural rock formation at Kirk Lake Bluffs. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Next hike from Van Anda.

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

Last week we had an extra long hike and a fairly long drive to get there.  Russ Creek flows down to the sea on the east side of the island very close to North-east Point and our hike took us from a logging road at an elevation of about 600 ft down to the beach and back.  There are trails now on both sides of the creek and in many places there are good spots to view the many waterfalls and rapids.  Where the ground levels out the creek is wider and long pools have formed and are shaded by the thick canopy of the many old growth trees. 

The plan for this Saturday is to hike a new trail route that will take us to the cliffs and bluffs on the north side of Kirk Lake.
JD.

Some are quite small, others higher and more impressive, but all the waterfalls on Russ Creek are very lovely. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we had a long drive to the parking place which was at Five-way Junction south of Angel Lake.  The hike is not very long, but it is quite steep in places and there is the two shorter trails at the top of the steep section.  We usually go to the north viewpoint first and then return to the fork before doing the last short but steep trail up to the best viewpoint at the top of the south peak.  This time I remembered seeing on online maps that there was a pond or small lake not far from the northern trail so we decided to explore and quickly found it.  There were some interesting relics from an abandoned grow-op that had made use of the large water supply including an oven and a portable flush toilet believe it or not!  An interesting botanical discovery was some mature and young Douglas Maple trees, all doing quite well.  This is quite a rare species of tree on Texada although there are quite a few growing in many parts of Vancouver Island.  
JD.


A very lovely lake very close to the top of Twin Peaks mountain.  This was our first visit to the lake even though we built the trails many years ago.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week the hike turned out to be a bit unusual as most of the regular hikers were busy doing other things and were not able to come along.  Also a bit unusual was the fact that it started to rain shortly after we finished eating and it never eased up until long after the hike was over!  However we did have some interesting things to see including a very large number of swallows madly feasting on swarms of tiny black insects above the water at one end of a beaver pond.  This is at Blown-up Trailer Lake a kilometre or so south of Black Mountain.  

My photo this week was taken when we had our first lunch at a new viewpoint near the south end of Mystery Lake.  We had hiked in from First Lake where we parked on the main Bell Road and used the section of old trail that we had re-opened on a trail cutting day last year.  
JD. 

Our happy hiking group on a new viewpoint bluff near Mystery Lake.  The view from here is towards the north and east rather than towards the sea.


Friday, April 27, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we had near perfect hiking weather and drove along Bell Road as far as First Lake where we parked.  We headed south on the old logging road that passes along the west shoreline of Third Lake although the forest makes it hard to get a look at the lake unless you go down the short trail with a cairn at the start.  Not long ago we did a very good job of cleaning up the old hiking trail that runs from the end of the old logging road through the forest to the north end of Mystery Lake. Our plan was to find a route to get us up to a possible viewpoint on a bluff that overlooks the lake from the south and sure enough we found one that offered views of Mt. Davies, Plateau Mountain and Mt. Manzanita in the distance. 

My photo from a recent hike shows a feature we often see on bushes of Evergreen Huckleberry where a rust disease infection [Pucciniastrum geoppertianum] has caused the plant to form  a cluster of distorted stems called Witches Broom.
JD.


 Evergreen Huckleberry, Vaccinium ovatum - a branch with major rust infection. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we felt it was safe to head for the highest parts of Texada as the days and nights had been a good deal warmer than before and the late snows had had plenty of time to melt.  We drove up to Bobs Lake area and parked close to the start of the Gentian Lake Trail, but walked east towards the campground entrance.  Our objective was to explore a route to the top of a small hill about a kilometre north of Bobs Lake as satellite images suggested we might find a good new viewpoint at or close to the top.  Sure enough we found a couple and we plan to go back again later in the year when the visibility is way better and the cool wind from the south-east a great deal much less uncomfortable!  The view is towards the east and the Coast Mountains and includes the Sunshine Coast with the Malaspina Strait 2,000ft below. 

My photo for this week is the second of the two tiny lakes we passed on the way to the mountain top.  Both have crystal clear water and on the way down we noticed the first one had quite a few jelly like egg masses that are very likely spawn of the rare Red-legged Frog.  
JD.


A small and pristine lake at high elevation not far from Bobs Lake.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Next Hike

The next hike will be on Saturday, 14th April.
We meet at the Ba;;park in Gillies Bay at 10:00am.

Last week when we met in the morning we all expected to be hiking in an unpleasant combination of wind and rain. That did not happen and we ended up having a nice enough forest hike that was a bit longer and steeper than usual and partly on a new route that we had cleared and flagged late last year. 

My photo this time is one I took last summer when we were hiking on bluffs not very far from Cook Bay.  It was on a hike in the same area the previous year that someone spotted this dainty little yellow daisy family gem.  I could not remember ever seeing it before this and sure enough although I searched both reference books and online sites I could not identify it.  Last year   on the day I took this photo we saw many specimens in flower in several different spots on the same bluffs and I later sent photos to a botanist who is an expert on this group of flowering plants, and he came up with the correct name.  It's actually a native of some eastern states including Virginia and has only been spotted in three locations on the west coast, near Campbell River, on Cortes Island and at Point Roberts near Vancouver. It's possible we have more of them on Texada than at any other location in Canada!
JD.

Dwarf Dandelion, Krigia virginica on bluffs west of Cook Bay.  This tiny plant is quite rare in BC although it can be found in several of the eastern states.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we started the hike from the Raven Bay turnoff on the High Road.  The route we followed started by going down the road to Raven Bay and then after crossing the creek without getting our feet wet we headed up the steep hill side along a very overgrown logging road until we reached a more modern logging road that comes in from the High Road on more level ground. After a few minutes walk we branched off on a side road on the left that ended not far above the beach close to some old mine workings called the "Lucky Lead" prospect. From there we continued on a new hiking trail that runs not far above the shoreline all the way back to Raven Bay.  Shortly before the end there are more mine workings, two tunnels and a connecting shaft, and this appears to be all that is left of the Raven Good Hope prospect. I don't think either were very lucky or good for the investors as neither appear to have produced any valuable ore

After crossing back over Rumbottle Creek we joined the non-hikers who were already tucking into the barbecued treats cooking over the campfire. This was the day for the annual Trekkers Beach Barbecue and Potluck at Raven Bay and the weather was exceptionally good for a change.  Special thanks go to David Taylor and Russ Sparks for the planning and preparations that go into making sure everyone has a good time.
JD.
 

A tricky crossing of Rumbottle Creek at Raven Bay.  

Friday, March 30, 2018

Next Hike from Slow Farm turnoff starts at 10:00am.

Sorry, I left out the time.
JD.

The next hike will start from the Slow Farm junction on the High Rd.

The next hike and beach barbecue at Raven Bay will be on Saturday, 31st March.
We meet and will start from the High Road at the Slow Farm junction. 

If you are unable to hike right now, you used to hike or are spouses/partners/visitors of hikers, 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 Road at the turnoff to Raven Bay which is at Slow Farm.  This is only about ten minutes drive from Van Anda.  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 or drinks 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 shellfish, but don't forget to have your current Saltwater Licenses.  For more details please get in touch with David Taylor or Russ Sparks.  

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.

Last week we drove along the High Road and parked just north of the Pocahontas Bay turnoff.  The hike was along old logging roads and an ATV track with a short section through a very recent clearcut.  As usual there were interesting mosses and lichens to see and the less usual remains of a small old grow-op. 
  JD. 
Hikers on a mossy bluff not far from the Oasis.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we had more than the usual number of hikers and all were keen to do a hike with at least one good viewpoint so we headed off towards the high ground with no doubt at all that we would have no problem reaching the summit of Mt. Davies.  We did manage to reach our chosen destination for lunch, but it turned out a good deal more complicated than expected!  I was quite surprised to see unexpected snow patches along the roadsides just as we drove past Bell Farm and after the turnoff to the  Hydro Reactor Station sections of road had some snow here and there.  Then as soon as we came to the next fork in the road we found we were driving with snow an inch or so thick all over the road, in the ditches and up to the forest edges.  That was just too much and it took a lot of effort to get two pickups unstuck and up a short hill to a spot were we could park and turn.  I knew the road ahead had some long steeper sections so we changed the plan and started going forward on foot rather than driving to the start of the Mt. Davies Trail.

It was lucky the forest had no snow on the ground at all, and the rest of the hiking was uneventful. At the summit we ate lunch quite quickly as it started to blow, with a mix of rain and snow falling from the sky and getting moving again was the best way to keep warm. On the way down we did the side trail that took us past ice-covered beaver ponds to Bloody Mt. viewpoint.
JD.

PS.  The last Saturday in the month is set as the day this year for the annual Trekkers Beach Potluck at Raven Bay and the meeting place for hikers will be at a different location this year.  More details will follow next week.
 
Walking downhill and back to our vehicles after lunching on the summit of Mt. Davies.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Next Hike & Biologists Talk.

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

Wildlife Conservation on Texada 
Come join us for an update on the work of Conserving Species at Risk and their habitats in the Powell River Regional District. Biologists will discuss a continuing project to protect and restore important ecosystems in the region. A 40 minute presentation will be followed by time for questions and discussion. Bring your questions about rare plants and wildlife and learn how to help conserve Texada's natural heritage.
6:00 pm   Monday, March 19 
Location - Seniors Centre, Gillies Bay

Last week we drove south on the road to Davie Bay and parked on the roadside before we got to Eagle Creek.  Taking the road that goes to the old cabins we headed towards the coastline and came out on the bluffs not far from the area where the cactus grow.  Going down the rocky slope to get close to the water we had to be careful not to step on the places where water seepages had made for very slippery surfaces.  My photo shows just how rugged the coastline can be in some places, but the smooth basalt rock was just great for sitting to eat lunch.
JD.

.
Hikers lunching on the rugged coastline south of Mouat Point on a lovely sunny spring day..

Next Hike & the Biologists Talk

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

Wildlife Conservation on Texada 
Come join us for an update on the work of Conserving Species at Risk and their habitats in the Powell River Regional District. Biologists will discuss a continuing project to protect and restore important ecosystems in the region. A 40 minute presentation will be followed by time for questions and discussion. Bring your questions about rare plants and wildlife and learn how to help conserve Texada's natural heritage.
6:00 pm   Monday, March 19 
Location - Seniors Centre, Gillies Bay

Last week we drove south on the road to Davie Bay and parked on the roadside before we got to Eagle Creek.  Taking the road that goes to the old cabins we headed towards the coastline and came out on the bluffs not far from the area where the cactus grow.  Going down the rocky slope to get close to the water we had to be careful not to step on the places where water seepages had made for very slippery surfaces.  My photo shows just how rugged the coastline can be in some places, but the smooth basalt rock was just great for sitting to eat lunch.
JD.

Hikers lunching on the rugged coastline south of Mouat Point on a lovely sunny spring day..

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove part way along the High Road towards Van Anda and parked just after the last house on the right.  We had really nice weather again and it was quite warm and sunny when we sat down on the bluffs on the west side of the Pocahontas ridge.

In connection with the Texada Official Community Plan update a workshop is being held this Saturday. The hike will end in time for hikers to get to the hall for the event.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Texada Community Hall, Gillies Bay

Doors open at 1:30pm.  Workshop runs from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. 

My photo this week is a view of the Lafarge Quarry and the more distant Surprise Mountain with the mountains of Vancouver Island in the background. There will be the usual beach barbecue and potluck again this year and I will have more details about that next time.

JD.

View of Lafarge quarry and Surprise Mountain from the Pocahontas ridge

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week most of our usual trail routes must have been snow-covered as the recent cold weather had greatly slowed the melting of the earlier snowfalls. To avoid the snow as much as possible we figured we should include some beach walking with a lunch stop at or near the Sandbanks.  We drove the short distance to the sandpit on Airport Rd. and walked north and then around the end of the runway and down the access road to the beach.  It was a fairly mild day and it was nice to have the light wind at our backs. There is a slight headland just before Sandbanks beach and as we turned that corner we were lucky to find the cold wind could not reach us there, and it was a great pleasure to bask in the warm sun as we ate lunch.
JD.

Basking in the warm sunshine at Sandbanks.  Much of the island was still snow-covered that day, but there was none to be seen along this shoreline.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we had quite a nice day weatherwise, but with low cloud and lots of snow on the ground at higher levels we decided to hike close to the seashore and drove south past Shingle Beach to the south end of the recent big logging area where road building still continues.  Last year we had flagged a new trail route down to the south end of Shingle Beach not far from the old abandoned cabins.  It took a while to find that trail again, but we did manage to make slow progress and eventually headed south along some steep mossy bluffs towards the location of a private cottage that we have hiked past many times over the years.  Usually we would reach this part of the coastline by an old road that is gated at the top not far from the Cook Bay access road gate.  My photo shows the hikers just up from a tiny beach not far from the private cottage.
JD.
  
Hiking the rugged coastline at the far south end of Shingle Beach. This is on the route of a new trail section near a waterfront cottage.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we had near perfect winter weather at the start of the hike as we began the climb up the steep north side trail to the summit of Mt. Grant. However, it was quite a surprise when we reached a good spot to stop for lunch to find that part of our view was covered in fog that seemed to be moving slowly towards us.  As it happened the fog started to retreat after a little while and only then were we able to see Bobs Lake and beyond it Twin Peaks with the Mt. Shepherd ridge beyond that. In the afternoon on the way down the south trail it was interesting to see that many of the Ponderosa Pine trees that Forestry had planted as an experiment two or three decades ago had finally died and had begun to disintegrate.
JD

Trekkers enjoying the sunshine at a viewpoint on Mt. Grant.  Actually there was thick fog to the east of us, but good views to the south and west.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we were lucky with the weather and had a welcome gap in the rain which has been falling on and off more often than usual at this time of year.  Instead of starting off by jumping into vehicles and driving sometimes quite long distances we started our hike from our meeting place, the Gillies Bay Ballpark.  We have quite a good selection of hikes to chose from when we do cut out the driving and they tend to be longer than average, so more exercise and no doubt very good for us.  To reach our chosen lunch spot on Turkey Vulture Bluff we headed up School Road and up the steep hill heading towards Cap Sheaf Lake instead of using the new bike trail route through the forest.  One reason we picked the local hike route that day was because there was low cloud over Gillies Bay that looked as if it probably covered much of the higher ground on our part of the island. Again we were lucky and the cloud was not quite low enough at the bluff to block our view to the west, the sea and even in the far distance the mountains on Vancouver Island.
JD.

Lunch on Turkey Vulture Bluff overlooking Gillies Bay.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Next Hike

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

Last week we drove down towards Shingle Beach and were surprised along the way to find the area around and beyond Davie Bay was completely snow free. There had been in recent days so much rainfall, with lots of snow higher up, we figured there would be plenty of water coming over Stromberg Falls and that they would be well worth a visit. Indeed there was and a couple of visitors with the group were duly impressed. As a special treat our hike was for some of us the very first time walking along a couple of brand new trails that wind through the old growth forest just to the north of the Shingle Beach campground. There are some very large Douglas Fir here that must be among the largest specimens on Texada plus some fine old Red Cedar giants as well.  

There are not many mushrooms of any kind to be seen in mid winter, but on the last hike we did come across a very small black species that seems to be quite rare.  It's hard for me to put a name to it, but I believe there are some black species of both Cortinarious and Entoloma, but I could find photos of none that look quite the same.
JD.

A very small black mushroom, perhaps a Cortinarious species, near Shingle Beach.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Next Hike

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

For the second hike in a row we found ourselves eating lunch on a mountain top quite surrounded with a clammy fog.  The week before last we did get a brief glimpse of a nearby peak, but the fog soon closed in again and we just had our memories of how the view looked the previous summer.  Last week the conditions were far worse with a strong cold wind swirling the fog around through the trees, but never a chance of it clearing enough to give us even the chance of any view at all.  The best we could do was hunker down on the lee side of a small cliff and just put up with the large water drops falling on us from the tree branches above! Judging by the weather forecast for the coming weekend we will need to be well prepared for another  cool damp hike again this Saturday.  
JD.
 

Lunch in the forest on top of Black Mountain on a cold, wet and windy day in January.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Next Hike

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

Earlier this week my ophthalmologist gave me permission to return to my normal activities and I'm looking forward to getting back to hiking again on Saturday. I took this photo of one of our common woodpeckers a couple of days ago.  There are actually two species that look to be almost identical, but one is quite a bit smaller than the other.  This is a female Hairy Woodpecker and is larger and has a longer beak than it's cousin the Downy Woodpecker. Both species tend to be quite quiet little birds and when searching for insects on tree bark they tap quite gently compared with the much more noisy larger species.  
JD.
 
A Hairy Woodpecker near Sandbanks, much too busy finding food in the tree bark to notice me watching it.

Friday, January 5, 2018

The next hike will again be from Van Anda.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 6th January, 2018.
The meeting place is the Canadian Legion Parking and the time 10:00am.

The hike last week was a snowy one, but the weather was clear and cold as you can see from the photo below.  I'm still not able to participate, but I'm told there were four hikers who were brave enough to trek like "Good King Wenceslas when the snow lay round about deep and crisp and even". 
Thanks Mich for sharing this perfect photo you took on last week's hike - it captures the feel of the cold, clear calm day so well.
JD.

A snow covered tree-top on the last hike of 2017.