The Next Hike

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

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.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Next Hike will be from Van Anda.

The next hike will be on Saturday, 30th December.
The meeting place is the Canadian Legion parking in Van Anda and the time 10:00am

A couple of weeks ago I spent the day trying to find as many different species of birds as I could in a fairly limited area at the north end of the island.  This was because all over North America there is an annual bird count that was started in the US over 100 years ago by the National Audubon Society and I have taken part in this for quite a few years now.  The participants in this Christmas Bird Count also have to count, as best they can, just how many birds of each species they saw during that one day.  I was really pleased to find a lot more individuals of one particular type of ducks called Barrow's Goldeneye.  There was a flock of about three dozen at the government dock in Van Anda and I was able to hide behind some bushes and get good shots and some video of them as they swam along very close to the shoreline.  Pretty obvious how they got their name don't you think? 
JD 

Three male and one female Barrow's Goldeneye ducks at the Van Anda dock, 16 December, 2017