Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Trailday, December 20, Rainy Day Lake to Freil Falls Vista

Marking the Rainy Day Lake Trail today, and up to Freil Falls Vista, and down onto the end of the old Marquis wood road, now used for the Saltery Bay Trail. Remediated the fire ring also. Terry, Don, Scott, Ron, Bill and Eagle. We roasted Bavarian smokies on the fire for lunch, and enjoy blue though crisp skies. Perhaps three more outings and this neck of the woods will be marked, signed and cleaned out too.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Elk Lake in Winter

Terry and Grant took a ride up to Elk Lake and it was snowing harder the higher they got. Nearing Elk Lake it stopped snowing, but the snow was deep and they put on their snow shoes. Then they tramped to the hut.

Tuesday Trailday - December 13 Fairview Bay Trail

On Trailday Tuesday eight guys came out to buck, clear, and mark the Fairview Bay Trail. They split into two crews one working on the section from the Hydro Towers to Fairview Bay, and the other completing from Rainy Day Lake to Fairview Bay. Above Bruce G and Alex C finish their lunch and get ready to work the return leg.

Ron is putting on his glove, ready for action. The Rainy Day Lake Hut is in good condition. Thank you folks for keeping it tidy.  Pictures by Willy. The other crew starting at the Towers included Don, Terry, Trevor and Andy, and now the whole trail is easy to follow. Next week on Tuesday, we will be heading out to Saltery Bay again, and this time we will mark the Saltery Bay Trail from Saltery Bay via Marquis' old road up to Freil Falls Vista and on to RDL and up to the East Troubridge parking lot under the wires. Call  Eagle for details: 604-483-9565. Gathering at 8.30 am at Scott's place, and 9.00 am at the Saltery Bay gravel parking lot next to the new log dump.                                                                    

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Escalator OGMA trail

Last Tuesday, Terry, Bill O and Eagle drove out to Saltery Bay and cut out a bunch of blow-down, and removed the woody debris. They also put up plenty of the orange-red metal markers, one within sight of the other, to provide a sense of comfort to hikers new to the trail.

They got as far as the Hydro Towers, where the lines hang suspended between there and Nelson Island.

Trail Clearing Malaspina to Manzanita

The crew split into two groups last Tuesday Trail-day, and cleaned up the Gwendoline Hills Trail from Malaspina Road to Manzanita Hut, meeting in the middle: Ron, Eagle, Don, Andy, Alex, Bruce - and Terry the photographer. All the dead-fall has been removed, and the markers are easy to follow. There are two benches along the way.

The howling November wind storm uprooted a large Douglas fir and dropped it across the Gwendoline Hills Trail.

Ron made short shrift of the blowdown. Andy counts over 200 rings (years) in the bole.
A little trimming of the sharp edges provides a more inviting passage. Don gives it the stamp of approval.

A chain of yellow fungus grows on a mossy, rotting trunk that dropped eons ago in the forest.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Tin Hat, December 4, 2011

I could drive my Tracker about 1/3 way up the Old Tin Hat road and cleverly stopped before I got stuck in snow and steep rise. Slow walked with breaks, took 2 hours to top. Snow shoes were helpful, not necessary yet, but soon to be. 1-2 feet of wet snow. Trail extremely well-marked
Cabin looks great. Excellent job to the men who built it.
Lots of rabbit tracks, how do they survive the winter?
Cloudy so no views but a worthwhile day!
Peter Behr

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Knuckleheads via E Branch - Peter and Paul

Lots of snow. Quad with tracks made it to the trailhead on E branch. 
Some deep steep snow to start. Snowshoes necessary. 

Ptarmigan in winter plumage.
Mount Diadem toward the east.
Lakes Alpha, Beta and Gamma all frozen as was the waterfall. It's an early winter!

  We saw a big bull elk, but did not get the picture. Lots of rabbit tracks.

Ice City

How do these trees tough it out?

Paul: Got easier as we went up.

Peter: Made the saddle and the smaller peak.

  Very cold. Some great sun and views.
Given the amount of snow this may be the last sub-alpine hike for a few months. 

Pictures and captions by Peter and Paul

Monday, 7 November 2011

Trail Marking as of November 8, 2011

Since the spring, we have maintained a steady pace of applying the orange fluorescent aluminum markers all along the Sunshine Coast Trail. Many thanks to all the regular markers who have gone out in all sorts of weather and advanced the schedule of installation to the point where everything is marked from Sarah Point at KM ZERO to Tin Hat Hut (KM 0 to KM 90), and somewhat intermittently from there. About 80% of the trail have now been marked and the rest will be marked by sometime in the spring of 2012 before the hiking season is in full swing.

We are aiming to place markers within sight of each other where the trail winds single track through dense forest. This is especially important during the winter when the trail is covered by snow and one could get turned around unless there were markers within sight of each other, and in both directions. Where the trail uses old roads and it's obvious, trail markers are farther apart. First time users will feel confident that they are on the right track, and winter time users of the trail will be able to follow the trail even when it is covered up and there is no indication on the ground where to go. This will take the guess work out of hiking and result in a safe experience for all hikers, as well as snowshoers.

In addition to regularly spaced marking and over 500 large wooden directional/informational signs we have added another safety feature: the brand-new markers are nailed in two fashions. Going south (from Sarah Point to Saltery Bay), they appear as square shapes, and going north (from Saltery Bay to Sarah Point) they appear as diamonds.

This allows you for easy recognition in which overall direction you are traveling. Please ignore the obvious that sometimes on certain stretches the trail winds this way or that and seems to contradict the cardinal directions. The diamonds (Northward - hence the shape of a compass needle) will let you know you are moving toward Desolation Sound (Sarah Point), while the squares would eventually take you to Saltery Bay. 

One additional safety feature are the kilometre markers which start at KM 0 at Sarah Point and end at KM 178 at Saltery Bay. The numbering is the same in both directions, so if you should require help along the way and happen to have cell phone reception you can always tell someone where you are located on the trail, by just saying the number of the KM marker you are near. Going south you are the same number of kilometres from Sarah Point, as you are going north, toward Sarah Point

If you notice any areas that do not happen to have the orange markers yet please contact us, and we will complete the work that might not yet have these standards which will help us in our endeavour to build and maintain a world class hiking trail.

There are some stretches of about 20% of the whole trail at this time that will be completed in the coming weeks and months and are expected to be complete by next summer or earlier.

There is a section around Confederation Lake Trail (KM 70 to KM 74) - not done, that might get done if the snow holds off for another week or two.

Tin Hat to Spring Lake (KM 90 to KM 98) - not done.

Carrying on southward from KM 90 on Tin Hat Mountain down the East Ridge to the ponds and on around Lewis and Spring lakes has been done only in parts. There is logging going on in that area and this section of the the SCT to Spring Lake Main at KM 6 is closed, probably until spring when the logging will be finished and we can go in there and clean up the trail where it might have been impacted by blow down. So, in the meantime hikers have to use the old Tin Hat road to get to Spring Lake Main and walk from Spring Lake KM 7 to Spring Lake KM 6, where the Sunshine Coast Trail crosses Spring Lake Main and resumes on the marked and cleaned up March Lake trail section that heads west, then south toward March Lake, through the old growth patches, and on up to Elk Lake. So not yet done from about KM 90 to KM 98.

Smith Range from KM 98 to KM 135 - done with one exception. So to recap, the SCT is marked from the crossing of Spring Lake Main at KM 6 all the way through the Smith Range down to Eagle River. There is one exception in the Smith Range on the Elk Lake Loop where the inside of the loop (west) is wide open and marked, but the outside of the loop (east) will have to be done yet. Again, if the snows hold off for a few more weeks we will clean this area out also, and mark it, but the likelihood is that this will have to be done in the spring after the snow is gone. Meanwhile the inside route provides continuous access through the whole of the Smith Range from KM 98 to KM 135.

KM 135 to KM 144 - done intermittently only.

We expect this section to be completed during the winter months because it is low elevations and may have a few snow-free days during which it is easier to do the work along Eagle River and Lois Lake shore, as far as Creek Four ravine.

From Lois Main up to Troubridge Summit down to Plutonic pole line (KM 144 to KM 166) - done.

We have finished marking the high elevation sections of the SCT on the Troubridge Massif from Lois Main at Creek Four (KM 144), to Elephant Lake (KM 153) to the cabin and summit (about KM 160) and down the other side to the Plutonic pole line above Rainy Day Lake (KM 166). During the winter months, weather permitting, we will mark the remaining lower elevation sections down past Rainy Day Lake to Saltery Bay either via Fairview Bay Trail or Saltery Bay Trail.

The above sections that are shown as not yet marked with the new standard 2 inch orange metal markers do still have the old marking which is a little harder to follow, but which is in place.

Enjoy the Sunshine Coast Trail in good spirits and good health and let us know what you think about it, the marking and the new huts.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Tin Hat Aug 8th

New logging/roads made it confused to find the washed out road trailhead which now starts further up from it original location. Incredible day at the top as usual! No clouds to be seen, and the view was as breathtaking as ever. The light breeze unfortunately did not keep the flies away. The surprise on top was an added bonus. On the way down we decided to take the SCT down to the Fiddle Head Farm. The trail was very well marked with orange squares and pink, blue and orange ribbon. 1/2 way down the trail become very grown in with 2.5 meter brush for 2-3 km before becoming well maintained again. Logging is active at the washed out road trailhead, so the Fiddle Head Farm to Lewis Lake route is the only option.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Moonset over Vancouver Island

I saw the magic at once - moon setting over my island - in slow motion behind the mountains until only a silvery/golden sliver of moon was visible before it fell into the night.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Fairview Cliff

One of the most uneven spots on the Sunshine Coast Trail has been on the cliff south of Fairview Bay.

Here is a view of Fairview Cliff seen from the side, with the trail way up above on the right.

When we drove out to work on the trail at the beginning of June, we saw these cubs feeding in the meadow.

One of them scrambled up onto this old growth fir and observed us from his safe perch. The other resumed grazing.

At the cliff we began with drilling holes into the bedrock on the low side of one section of trail, and then cemented steel rods into them.

We left the tops sticking out so we could attach horizontal lengths of 3/8" re-bar to them.

Once these were fastened in place we gathered large rocks and banked them against the net of rods and horizontal stringers.

We piled these big rocks high enough so we could back-fill with ever smaller rocks, until we had a flat trail surface which we topped with dirt.

This stretch is now a stroll where before it might have been a chattering squeak.

Time for lunch, men. Willie and Terry give it the stamp of approval.

Master driller Jim is in a pensive mood after drilling dozens of holes in the heat of the first hot day of the summer. Terry and Scott look on in the filtered shade of Arbutus, shore pine and fir.

Nice to relax for a while, and recharge.

This section was steep - not only sideways, but also going forward, slanting downhill.

This needed special attention and we built cement steps which now take you comfortably from one level to the next.

An adjacent area had a rock slide, with boulders ending up right on top of where the trail had passed through.

Here we had to physically move the boulders and/or knock them to smithereens.

Some of us think that that is fun.

We knew we would need a handful of outings along this part of the Sunshine Coast Trail before the trail was just so - safe with fabulous views of the ocean below. A few more steps would go a long way toward making grandma and grandpa happy.

On the next expedition we added one more step at the bottom to finish it off so you didn't have too high a step where you least wanted it.

Yet later we removed the wooden forms, and cut back the rebar pins with the angle grinder. Now that section was complete.

Looking back toward Saltery Bay the path has also been widened and smoothed.

On the last outing one of the tasks was to build a dry rock wall which would work well in this stretch.

Dipper is importing rocks from the neighbourhood. Big rocks are best. His tongue isn't hanging out - but it's a grunt.

Here is the result. After a couple of hours the dry-rock wall is finished. We back-filled against it and topped the rubble with dirt to leave a smooth surface to traverse.

We also tackle another section that is too narrow and precipitous, the last to require steps. First we hammer-drill it and chip away the side hill bedrock.

The big friendly persuader remains on standby: a sledge always comes in handy to make rock behave, but, hesitantly we leave the stone age tools aside and enter the 21st century with generator and hammer-drill.

After widening the route, building a dry rock retaining wall and back-filling, we drill and build the forms for a few more steps as the grade was just too steep to navigate safely without cementing in rock steps.

We were too busy mixing and pouring to get a picture of all of that frantic action, but a loving touch at the end of the day states that we are finished.

After five expeditions we have pulled out all the tools that are already down at the landing, waiting for the Island Girl water taxi to pick us up.

Thanks Bob and Sue for your help in this project. Much appreciated.

All done, ready for visitors. Bring them on. This formerly nasty section is now grandma- and grandpa-proof. Fairview Bay, here we come.

The first set of steps is fully cured. Perhaps a bench in this section will make an appearance in the future.

It is a gorgeous spot to while some time away. Every hour or so a ferry passes by. Working boats and pleasure craft ply the waters of Jervis Inlet from time to time. Whales and dolphins are occasional sightings round about here, but sea lions, seals, otters, eagles, turkey vultures and all manner of smaller beasts and birds inhabit these environs in numbers.