Sunday, 21 September 2008

Elk Lake Loop

September 20, 2008 - We tried to hike the Elk Lake Loop. We drove up the road to Granite Lake and stopped at the giant ditches.
Then we hiked up the road to Granite Lake and past it taking the left fork which is a quad road and has a skookum bridge over the stream that feeds Granite Lake.
We followed the quad road , missing the right turnoff for the old SCT, and continued to Elk Lake which is beautiful. There is only 1 muddy spot near the lake.
Had lunch at a picnic table near the Lake and wanted to hike back on the eastern spur of the loop BUT....the trail is heavily overgrown and one would get soaked by the dew on the berry bushes and alders. Then I remembered that even a couple of years ago this was a really hard trail pushing throug the brush growing on an old logging road. So we turned back and took the quad road. It's too bad because I like loops better that going in and out on the same trail. As well when the conditions are right it used to be a wonderful loop to cross country ski in winter as it only has a couple of steep places (after the climb to Granite Lake).
(I know of only a few good cross country ski places around here; the Green Road, the Bunsters, E branch to cabin, and A branch cabin)
Of course I have no right to complain as I am not one of the hardworking people that makes and clears these trails.
But I do suggest that on the next map and SCT book it no longer be called the Elk Lake Loop and the eastern trail be dropped off the maps as bush wacking would be easier in places than the eastern Elk Lake Loop trail.

Peter Behr

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Knuckleheads: A and E Branch

The bridges at E Branch are going to be replaced, the lower bridge by the gate will be with a rail car. The upper one that is falling into the creek will be a ford. We will need to build a foot bridge this fall.
We plan to start brushing of trails in September so stay tuned and come out and help.
The project started on August 28th. The old bridge has been removed and they are working on cribbing next. The railcar is at the gate parking lot and they have the lock blocks at the bottom of E Branch.
E-100 has been brushed up to the old gravel pit, needs a lot of brushing to get to the Beta Lake Trail. Will talk to Western FP about including this into next years FIA budget, as to do this by hand would be horrific!!!

Ron Diprose

Monday, 8 September 2008

Freda Mountain

Jervis Inlet

Today 4 of us went up to the top of Freda Mountain. The road is ok. A couple actually drove a 2 wheel drive car to the trailhead!
For the first time I tried the trail which starts at the right fork at the stream. This trail cut about 1 hour off my usual time but it is not marked all the way and one must look fro footprints in moss to find it. It is very steep and not for beginners. We did not get lost however.
There is no snow to walk on at all on either trail.
There is no water after the stream which is maybe 10 minutes from the trailhead. Bring water, I did not have enough to hike in this heat. The view is grand.On the way down we took the usual path as the other is so steep it would be slippery. The old trail is in good shape and very obvious, being well trodden.
Watch for Kiewett trucks and equipment on the roads, they work weekends.

Triple Peaks

2 weeks ago I went up to Triple Peaks. Goat Lake 2 road is in great shape as Kiewett is working there and they have fixed up the road. They were working there on the weekend but let us pass. The first couple of kms of the trail is a bit overgrown with alder but walkable. After that the trail is pretty obvious and good. I did some flagging at intersections and then when the trail breaks out to open rock. Not much snow left up here either. Lots of ripe blueberries.

The knuckeheads

Back in July I drove up E 100 to the Knucklehead mountains above Alpha, Gamma Lakes. The road was thick with alders and scraped the vehicle. I have heard they brushed it up to the gravel pit but the rest is rough. This is too bad as I consider this the easiest mountain hike in the district and one of the prettiest. Still I drove to the trail head and had a great day. There is a circle route one can walk taking a right fork to hike uphill to the right of Beta Lake and go to the saddle. We went to the smaller Knuckle Peak as there was snow and ice there which makes the higher peak difficult. Then we came down on the diagonal cut above Beta Lake, on crapons. By now this should be all cleared of snow. The lake colour is beautiful.

Centre Lakes is another beautiful hike. The road has a couple of slides on it that are not drivable so that adds another 45 minutes or so. When there is no snow a nice circle walk is possible. Nice alpine country here too.

The road to Emma and trail are in good shape last time I went which was July.

Peter Behr

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Tinhat West

Keep your eyes open for elk. They've got the right of way.

During August and early September we have been working on cleaning out the West Tinhat Trail up from Fiddlehead. This trail with a serious vertical attitude snakes its way up the side of the mountain by way of sidehill runs and series of switchbacks that allow you to gain altitude on a gentle incline. This of course lengthens the trail but makes it relatively easy to make the necessary elevation gains.

Beautiful, but little known West Tinhat Trail is well worth making your way out to Fiddlehead via Goat Main, Spring Lake Main and Giovanni Main. The roads are good at the time of this posting, and there is signage. See earlier posting re getting through Fiddlehead onto the trail up to Tinhat.

At various times during the latter part of summer we've had Ron, John, Scott, Bruce and myself clearing this remote and amazing trail. We weedwhacked the salal, ferns, and various berry bushes that had encroached onto the track, and cut out and removed blowdowns that had fallen across the trail. For long stretches the track travels through oomphy mature fir forest growing on the steep mountainside. There are breathtaking views of the islands at the north end of Haslam Lake and the Giovanno Valley. There are lots of flags all along and the trail is now easy to follow.

We have reached the apex of West Tinhat Trail where it comes out onto the old Tinhat road which goes up the front of the mountain from the vicinity of Spring Lake. From where West Tinhat Trail emerges onto the old road it turns left for the last kilometer to the end of that rocky road. There it resumes on the well-trod foot path up to the summit. This short stretch has also been clipped again with a few years' annual growth cut well back with loppers. The immature trees are beginning to close in overhead to provide that welcome closed-in canopy that cuts down on the pesky undergrowth. It's well marked too. The hike takes about three hours from Fiddlehead to summit.

Bruce and Ron are checking out the area for the future shelter location. Lewis Lake lies immediately below while the rest of Horseshoe Valley with the Canoe Route stretches on beyond in the distance.

Near the summit you will find three orange flags at a trail junction. The spur continuing uphill takes you to the summit inside of five minutes, while the branch heading off to the east makes its way over a large flat and fairly open alpine shelf, then descends toward Lac Godeau, Sofia Pond and Cranberry Pond, and on down and around Lewis Lake. East Tinhat Trail takes about 3 hours also and is a scheduled September destination for the Weekend Hiking Club.

Whether you ascend Tinhat Mountain by way of East, West, or Old Tinhat trails going to the summit provides you with panoramic 360 degree views, provided of course that you pick a sunny day. There are no ropes required to do this hike from either direction. This pre-eminent of Powell River mountain trails is usually hiked best in the fall, as the flies have disappeared by then. Drink in the views.