The Next Hike

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

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.