Tuesday, 23 July 2013

ALL CLEAR - SCT free to hike from Sarah Point to Saltery Bay


After nearly 2000 man/woman hours of taking our chainsaws for "strolls" the volunteers of Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society (PR PAWS) and friends are happy to report that the winter's blown down trees, jungly patches of brambles and other obstacles have been removed from the Sunshine Coast Trail. Hikers can now follow the cleared trail from end to end. Of course attention still needs to be paid so as not to be inadvertently drawn off the trail by easy looking options, usually at road crossings.

Also around Tin Hat you have to pay attention because Western Forest Products (WFP) is building new roads in the general area and will be doing some blasting at various times, necessitating closing either the Tin Hat East Ridge, or the old Tin Hat road/trail. That means hikers have to take either the old road/trail if the East Ridge and the East side of Lewis Lake is closed, or taking the East Ridge option if the old road/trail is closed. 
The blasted rock can fly several hundred metres. Call Western Forest Products before setting out to make sure you know which option you must exercise (1)-604-485-3100, or the WFP road report at (1)-604-485-3132. 
The forest might get too hot and work will be shut down so there will be no road building or logging, meaning you will be able to use one or the other of the options that will take you around Lewis Lake, either on the east side, or the west side.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Confederation Lake to Vomit Vista Blowdown All Cleared

Looking northeast from Vomit Vista near Confederation Lake. Powell Lake lies down below in the middle distance, with the Rainbow Range rising behind it, and in the far distance to the right the South Powell Divide still displays a healthy cover of snow in the first week of summer.

Another view from VV in a more eastward direction: Tin Hat Mountain on the other side of Giavanno Valley.

Pat and Ron at a late lunch on VV. Now all the blowdown in this km-long section of trail is bucked, and the SCT is cleared all the way from Sarah Point to the a short stretch on lower Walt Hill where reportedly some intermittent blowdown will slow you down but not stop you from getting through and on to Walt Hill Hut on top. That blowdown is on the maintenance schedule and should be taken care of next week.

During our descent back down from Confederation Lake Bruce is enjoying a water break.

A couple of minutes later, just as we were getting ready to resume heading for the comfort of the Crummy we met a solo hiker going up to Confederation. Pedro is hiking the Sunshine Coast Trail solo and was at this point four days into his trek from Sarah Point, aiming to do the whole of the SCT in one go. Now that's rare.

Monday, 24 June 2013

East Tin Hat, Elephant Lake, March Lake and Elk Lake Updates

In the last 2 weeks we have opened up blowdown areas on East Tin Hat, and Elephant Lake as well as cleaned up the inside route of Elk Lake Loop. We also cleared blowdown on Rainy Day Lake to Fairview Bay Main and sections of the trail in the Smith Range.


Driving on our way to clear trail on Sunday we encountered a doe with its fawn sauntering along the highway to Saltery Bay. They were not shy at all.


The bear on the other hand turned away from 
 the side of the road where he had been foraging, and headed for the bush.

This is Elk Lake hut and it's now easy to get to from March Lake or from Granite Lake where the loop has been cleaned up and the blueberry bushes trimmed back.

Ron and Craig are on a mission: Day Two of clearing the rest of the March Lake SCT section. They have a sense they can finish it on this second outing. Two other members of the team were working on the northern section of the trail.

On another Sunday outing, Doug and Kate helped take care of the tangled mess of the East Tin Hat section, and went halfway down to Lewis Main at KM 5, putting up markers that had been far and few between. All better now. You won't get lost there now heading down through Pipes Canyon.

Yesterday, Ken and I cleared the Rainy Day Trail section and came across a trail closure warning that had been forgotten by the loggers after they were finished building road down below. It's all open now, and there is no more confusion. The way is free and clear down to Fairview Bay shelter.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

East Tin Hat Ridge Trail - progress to date

Yesterday Don, Craig and I drove up Lewis Main to KM 10 where we turned left toward the end of branch L-2840A in Elk Cow Pass. There is a short and easy access here to the SCT at about the 640 m elevation. We bucked our way uphill along the east ridge trail to this viewpoint near KM 90 at about the 840 m level. We still have about one km left to clear out on the way up to the hut, plus about another km down from Elk Pass to Cranberry Pond. We hope to be back here in the next few days, and will provide a further progress report.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

West Tin Hat Trail now open

Craig and Doug are standing at Haslam Vista. Below you see Haslam Lake and beyond there Texada Island and Vancouver Island in the haze on the distant horizon.

We cleaned out the upper half of the West Tin Hat trail section from KM 85 to KM 88 on Sunday, May 2, and with that the whole of the West Tin Hat trail is now open with all of winter's deadfalls bucked out with the chainsaw and removed. 

There is now only one short stretch of blowdown between Sarah Point at KM 0 to Tin Hat Mountain Hut at about KM 90. It is located just south of Confederation Hut where another tangle of blown down trees impedes easy hiking. We will take care of this remote spot in the coming days.

Many sections southward from Tin Hat Hut are already cleared. However, some that had been in the snow zone - and a couple still are covered by snow in the Smith Range and on the back of Mount Troubridge - need to receive the annual deadfall clearance treatment. So far this has meant many hundreds of trees across the trail, and likely means that a similar number needs to be bucked on points south. 

Please report any blowdown you encounter so we, the volunteers that keep the trail open, can get to that as quickly as our schedule allows. Thank you. And just in case you didn't know, no one is getting paid a penny. It's all volunteer work. We do get some donations that are for gas money, and a fund for building materials for another hut we are planning to build later this year or next. Today we are driving up to begin clearing East Tin Hat Ridge. I will report conditions on that side of the mountain soon. 

Further, the road/trail shortcut down from Tin Hat toward Powell River is closed for the summer and perhaps even fall due to harvesting activities. Hikers will have alternate access to the hut on Tin Hat via the East Tin Hat Ridge Trail, which we are hoping to open fully by the end of this week.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

West Tin Hat Trail

On Thursday this week five of us drove out to the old Fiddlehead Farm and cleared another 4 km of the SCT.
We bucked and brushed the trail to beyond KM 85, that is to within about an hour and a bit from from where the trail meets the old Tin Hat road not far from the summit.

Scott, David, John and Don are taking a break as we were hiking back to Fiddlehead.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Pipes Canyon - Lewis Lake - Spring Lake (KM 92 to 98)

On Monday,  Jim, Steve and I cleared the Lewis Lake section around the east side of the lake to the road by the effluent near Mile 3 of Lewis Main.
Looking across Lewis Lake toward the campground on the southwest side.

Sometimes you will come across temporary maps posted by the logging company to indicate which part of the trail is closed and which is open, and how you can get around it. It's best to call Western Forest Products to find out which is what. 604-485-3100.


On Tuesday, seven of us went up to clear the Spring Lake section adjacent to Lewis Lake on the south side, and the Pipes Canyon section, adjacent to it to the north.

Now the sections from Pipes Canyon (part of East Tin Hat Mountain Trail) near KM 92 all the way to Spring Lake have been cleared out. We now need to check the remainder of East Tin Hat, about a 3 km long section.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Buck and Brush Fiddlehead Trail

A crew of six drove out to Fiddlehead Farm early Thursday morning. Ray, Craig, Eagle, Pat, Doug and David behind the camera.

We bucked blowdown and brushed salal and salmonberry bushes basically from the ruins of the old historic farm at about KM 81 to nearly Vomit Vista (Confederation Lake area) at KM 75.
This stretch of the Sunshine Coast Trail is one of the most remote, along with West Tin Hat Trail on the other side of the valley.
We always appreciate getting reports that allow us to address the most urgent situations first. Here Ray is carefully working his way through a tangle of blowdown that has fallen across the trail.

Doug moves the sections of the blown down trees that Ray has cut up.
We are aiming to go back up to Fiddlehead again next week because we have had reports that the winter blowdown  has also been extensive on the Tin Hat side of the valley and that some sections on the way up to the hut need brushing sorely.
Ray finishes the last couple of trees...
...and then it's time for lunch.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Smokey's Blue Ridge, Suicide Pass, Fiddlehead trail sections

On May 14 we cleared the Smokey's Blue Ridge Trail section between Mile 4 on Goat Main and the old Conchie Road.

Above there, Suicide Pass is still closed due to Western Forest Products building a road and blasting rock. The route will be opened again in a couple of weeks when road building activities will be finished.

PR PAWS and friends will be rerouting a 2 km section of the SCT in that area into the adjacent OGMA and riparian zone of the Suicide Creek headwaters.

Today May 16 we are heading to Fiddlehead Farm and begin clearing extensive winter dead-fall on the SCT up toward Confederation Lake.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Trail Clearing as of May 12, 2013

Elephant Lake Trail  from Lois Lakeshore Trail section up onto Branch 42 an on to KM 150 on Branch 43 
Is all cleared now. In a couple more weeks the snow line will have moved up higher and we will carry on clearing to Elephant Lake and Mount Troubridge, and also the Rainy Day Lake sided of the SCT.
Jessie's carved chair bench on Creek #4 at Branch 42. Jim and Scott are enjoying a lunch break by the rushing creek. The last picture is a viewpoint we are developing along the upper spur of Branch 42. You can see Lois Lake and the Horseshoe Valley with Freda in the distance.
Ron and friends have recently cleared Tony's Trail along Powell Lake. Together the crews are getting more and more sections of the SCT cleared and ready for unobstructed hiking, but it's often a long distance to hike with your chainsaw and then to cut as you go. Also clear is the northern sector from Sarah Point to town, and in the south, from Goat Main Mile 4 down and across Eagle River and all the way along to the end of Lois Lakeshore to Creek #4, and of course up from there to almost Elephant Lake.

If you are aware of an area that is particularly severely impacted by the winter blowdown please let us know by emailing:  prpaws.bc@shaw.ca.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

PR PAWS puts up signs

Over the last 20 years PR PAWS has put up about 700 wooden signs ranging from the generic SCT North, SCT North to the specific...                                                                                                                                                                
...such as Saltery Bay, or Rainy Day Lake for instance.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Jan. 4, 2013. Walt Hill cabin

A glimpse of the latest addition to the SCT.
The Ghost of Walt Hill
   Many visitors since Christmas.  no bugs.  Cabin in good shape.  Good day.