It was a perfect crisp sunny day for walking. Bear Creek Nature park did not disappoint. We followed the road to the River and River Loop trail and back to the main road. We came across volunteers sorting and later extracting eggs from Coho salmon. The Oyster River Enhancement Society volunteers were welcoming with our questions and viewing. With other trails wet and muddy, we stayed on the main road to the club house. A trail and the main road took us back with a wee cardiac climb at the end. What a great park Bear Creek is! For viewing pictures, thanks to Bill J., click here.
We had a large and enthusiastic group gathering at the home of Vicki Matthew and Robin Pearson on Saturday, October 19. After enjoying a delicious variety of appetizers and a few sips of some favourite beverages, many of the group moved to the games room for some serious (and NOT so serious!) fun. Thank you again for hosting SO many of us, Vicki and Robin!
Thanksgiving Sunday proved to be a lovely day to be out birding and our Group took full advantage, heading to the Royston Seaside Trail at the end of Hilton Road. Unfortunately, the tide was further out than expected, so many of the waterbirds were too far away to make good identifications, except when distinctive markings were detected (eg, for Surf and White-winged Scoters). As well, there were a fair number of shorebirds along the waterline, but again, distance defeated good identifications. I suspect that Black-bellied Plovers and Black Turnstones were represented amongst them, from the fuzzy photos taken. Added to the above, the following birds were noted: Double-crested Cormorants, Crows, Canada Geese, Gulls, Bald Eagles, Kingfishers, Red-necked Grebes, Horned Grebes, Mallards, Common Loons, Great Blue Herons, American Robins, Spotted Towhees, Killdeer, Northern Flickers, Stellar Jays and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Dawn Moore and Steve Hill contributed the photos below while Bill Jorgensen has provided a link to his images of the day.
12 of us braved the showers on a brisk walk at Nymph Falls Park followed by coffees and great conversation at the Country Market.
Random Readers met Oct. 9 and we had our usual wonderful discussions about a wide range of books. Here is one I suggested, it is a quick and fascinating read about an event I don't know much about - the sinking of a Newfoundland passenger ferry in the Gulf of St Lawrence in the midst of WWII. Some powerful writing, and I particularly liked getting into the characters from both sides of the conflict.
Land Beyond the Sea...
In the small hours of October 14, 1942, a German U-boat sank the passenger ferry SS Caribou in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Of the 237 people on board, 136 perished, including 49 civilians. In Land Beyond the Sea, bestselling author Kevin Major reimagines the events of that fateful night from the perspectives of both those aboard the doomed vessel and the German U-boat commander who gave the order. With his sharp, evocative style, Major delivers an epic work of historical fiction. Land Beyond the Sea is a powerful and empathetic testament to the acts of destruction and the acts of heroism carried out in the name of home.
We capped off the Thanksgiving weekend with happy hour at the Flying Canoe. KGB, Kahiamoe, Guthrie and Biggs put on a wonderful show.
Great music and cheap drinks.... I think we need a repeat performance soon!
We had a good turnout for last Thursday's Elk Falls trail system excursion and it turned out to be a lovely day for a hike - crisply cool under sunny skies. The day was even brighter with the orange/yellow fall colouring all about, both on the trees and on the ground. Most of the group could be seen kicking away at the fallen leaves and once in a while, handfuls were getting tossed in the air. Nice to feel young again!
One disappointment was to find that our information was incorrect - the trail renovations are NOT completed in the lower approach to the old generating site below the falls. We took the Canyon View trail up to the edge of the site, only to find our passage barred by fencing and a big "Trail closed" sign. Dang. Back we went to the start of our hike and onwards to the south, to cross the Campbell River on the wooden bridge and try the Canyon View Trail on the other side of the River. This time, we were able to continue our route up to and over the Millennium Trail and into the Elk Falls Park. We had our lunch at the renovated picnic site to the side of the Falls and then retraced our steps back to the trailhead. Despite the disappointment, it was a lovely day to be out and all enjoyed themselves thoroughly. "Debrief" was, as usual, at the Riptide Pub.
Bill Jorgensen has supplied a link to his photos of the excursion and is well worth browsing. Thanks, Bill.
A rather brisk cool morning found 21 of us walking Seal Bay Park from the new parking lot on Hardy Road. We followed what are familiar trails for many of us until we reached Bates Road. Again, we followed known trails back and I think the cool weather set our walking pace. It is that time of year again where hats, toques or gloves may be needed. Debrief was enjoyable at the Country Market where all of us could fit around the three tables put together. To see more photos, thanks to Bill J. click here.
Saturday was a lovely day for the group to once more head over to Denman Island. This time, our hike was centred in Boyle Point Provincial Park, at the south end of the Island. This area rates high on our list of favourite outings with the beautiful and varied landscapes encountered over the course of the 3.5-4 hour hike. A very enjoyable day spent outdoors with friends and ending with a stop at the Roy's Towne Pub for a 'debrief'. Bill B. was the hike leader today... thanks Bill for your skillful selection at the various junctions and for batting away all the spider webs criss-crossing the paths along the way!
Thanks to Bill J. for his link to some great photos and to MaryAnne M., Katie H. and Dawn M. for more of the same, shown below.
An exploratory hike was held on Tuesday with a few of the stronger hikers heading up Mt Washington once more to check out the route to Mt Elma (which is positioned between Lake Helen-MacKenzie and Croteau Lake). The 13.5+/-km hike took around 6.5 hours to complete and the explorers were quite enthusiastic about the vistas encountered at the plateau-like summit. There was one fairly steep section to negotiate but it was all quite do-able and the consensus was that this was another destination to add to our repertoire of hikes. For the moment, we will rate it as 4/5 for difficulty.
Bill Jorgensen provided the photos; click on photos to check out the views. The plotaroute for this hike gives details of the outing.
The first bird outing of the new season was held last Monday on a crisp sunny morning. Only one birder joined the two co-leaders, which was a pity, considering the variety and abundance of birds missed by the absentees. The songbirds were plentiful along the south side of the airpark, in the bushes and above the high water level along the shoreline. We sighted a fair number and heard the bird calls of others. Since the sunshine was strong, a lot of birds were silhouetted and hard to photograph or identify, but we did our best and came up with the following bird list: Golden-crowned Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Robins, Finches (probably House Finch), Red-winged Blackbirds, Eurasian Collared Dove, Stellar Jays, Spotted Towhee, Crows, Northern Flicker, Belted Kingfisher, Bald Eagles, Gulls, Canada Geese, Mallards, Great Blue Herons, American Coots, Green-winged Teal females, American Wigeons, Killdeer, and Common Merganser females.
Under lovely clear skies, 2 groups of hikers drove up to the Paradise Meadows trailhead for a day of exercise. While one group's destination was Croteau Lake, the other hikers headed up to the Cruickshank Canyon lookout. The day was quite crisp up the 'hill', especially when wind gusts swept by - the 'layered clothing' concept was in full play on this one! A very muddy trail system meant progress was slower for both groups as they made their way along the routes: it took the Croteau Lake 5.5 hours to complete the hike, while the other hikers took 8.5 hours. It didn't help that snow made an appearance in the early afternoon - so much for the earlier clear skies! Talk from other groups met on the Cruickshank Canyon trail was of a mama bear with 3 cubs met along the way but none were sighted by our hikers (at least not until reaching the Condensory Rd area on the drive back, when a bear with 2 cubs were sighted in an adjacent field). All in all, despite some hardships, the two groups were happy with their day in the Great Outdoors - a certain amount of strenuous hiking is always welcome, especially in lovely surroundings.
Photos from the Croteau Lake hike are contributed by Steve Hill, MaryAnne Meredith and Dawn Moore:
Photos of the Cruickshank Canyon hike are contributed by Bill Jorgensen and can be found by clicking on Hike photos
This month was an exciting one for some. I know Karen and I bid and made a small slam, and speaking of slams, the slam pot was reintroduced. We all put in a quarter (if we choose to participate) and if someone bids and makes a grand slam, they win the pot. Since this is a rare occurrence, the slam pot can grow quite large! We played at Martha and Michael's, Susan's, Liz's and Shelley's. We had 2 weeks of 12 players and 2 of 16. Here are a few shots of some of the players. The scores presented were from September 30 at Shelley's and are really high scores! Look at the beautiful people smiling at you!
THE FAREWELL - Sept.22
The 2nd film of the Comox Valley Art Gallery Film Series was about a family living with the knowledge of an upcoming death in the family. A young chinese girl with her family visits her grandmother in China knowing the grandmother has terminal cancer but not allowed to tell her. The universal story of family and tragedy made for a powerful film. The film created lots of discussion afterwards for the 16 of us at The White Spot.
Mt. Washington was our destination and before this walk, I checked with others to discover that this walk/hike has been done before since it is longer than most Tuesday walks at 8.5 k. Our route took us to Helen Mackenzie first. Thanks to the boardwalk we could avoid some of the muddiness as we walked to Battleship Lake and Paradise Meadows. Somehow, we managed around wet, muddy sections. Nevertheless, the sunshine, fresh air and calmness of the day made this a very welcoming hike. Debrief was at Ted's at the Alpine Lodge. Thanks to Dawn and Bill for photos and to view more click here.
Another day, another hike. Today, our route was from Nymph Falls parking lot to the BC Hydro picnic site by Comox Lake dam...and back. The weather was coolish and cloudy, but dry, so quite acceptable for hardy hikers. The display of mushrooms was a bit disappointing with lack of variety, but hopefully, another few weeks will make all the difference - might have to repeat this route in another month or so!
One hiking member was able to join Gil and Dawn on Quadra Island for a hike last Monday and the three of us had a very enjoyable outing, making our way to Maud Island for a look across Seymour Narrows to the Ripple Rock Viewpoint on the other side. The day was just right for hiking, so we took our time, just enjoying nature and the exercise.
Bill Boham led a low-tide hike at Denman Island yesterday, over to Tree (Sandy) Island and the Seal Islets. Our route started at Morning Side Park, on the east side of northern Denman Island, where we descended a steep zig-zag staircase down to the shoreline. Turning north along the seashore, we hiked to Longbeak Point and then headed across the bared intertidal zone to Tree Island. Crossing to its NE side, we again tackled the intertidal area across to the Seal Islets. This section was a bit more daunting as we had to cross a few streams, bringing in our long-jump skills! Okay...so most of us ended up with wet boots - no first prizes handed out today! Our birding enthusiasts were thrilled to see a "swoop" of Sandhill Cranes flying past in the distance and a "committee" of vultures gathered at a pile of shells. After a walk around one of the Islets, we returned to Tree Island for our lunch break and then retraced our steps back to Denman and the trailhead. The weather was quite cooperative; despite cloudy skies, we had no rain and the strong breezes kept temperatures at a comfortable level. We were pleased with this outing, as it was the first time the intertidal area was exposed long enough for us to explore the Islets - a case of timing ferry schedules with daytime low-low tides.
Elk Falls was our destination. Of course, it was off to the suspension bridge first before descending to the lower platform. We spent some time here admiring the sheer power of the falls. Next, it was the Millennium trail and Old Growth trail, where massive cedars and firs could be seen. Also, fine crushed gravel on the trail and downward slope of the Riverside trail made walking easy. No roots to trip on! No mud to slip on! Next, we admired Moose Falls and later Deer Falls. The Riverside trail was followed until we came out on the rocks above Elk Falls and then to the older viewing area. The walk/hike was only a bit over 5 km but the 119 steps and the descends and ascends of the trails made it a hike. Thanks to Lorne for pictures.
What a fun hike the Group had last Friday - it's one of my favourite excursions due to the "obstacle course" trail we follow. Check out the photos to see what I mean - a certain degree of limber-limbs are required on this one! And at the far end of the trail, we are always rewarded with a scenic spot by a pool for enjoying a lunch break. Lovely day, great companions and some exercise; all was well with our day.
Our walk was the Puntledge River park and Ruth Masters Greenway, which is a lovely walk paralleling the river and ascending the steps to the trails of the greenway. However, it can be a short hour to complete this walk. Thanks to Deb who led us to First St. park where we followed a short trail, crossed the street and entered the Morrison Nature park. Many thanks to Dawn for a few pictures and the map of our route.
I know you are all busy getting your schedules organized for the fall, so I am happy to announce that we are having a Random Readers meeting coming up! Put us in your calendar!
Random Readers Book Group is meeting on Wednesday, September 11, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Margaret has graciously offered to host this month. Bring your books, notes and movie tips for discussion.
We are a relaxed, friendly group that meets once a month to discuss all interesting things we have read over the past month, books, articles and more. Movies are often happily discussed too, especially book to screen movies. There are also delicious goodies!
Go to the Activity Directory and sign up to this wonderful group. We hope to see you there.
On Labour Day Monday, 23 members of our Glacier Probus Club, divided into six teams, were reminded just how challenging mini golf can be. Participants completed 18 holes while debating the principles of physics and proposing strategies for getting around hazards, all the while sharing laughs, high fives, "oohs" and "aahs" as we encouraged each around the course.
While there were very many uncooperative balls, there were a few demonstrations of actual skill, some "lucky" shots, and even a few notable holes in one. According to our statistician, Steve R., Robin P. finished with the lowest score of 47. Well done!
Thanks to a suggestion from Jim B., seven members made the event a combined cycling/mini golf excursion. Six cycled from the Comox Valley and one from Campbell River.
Tina K., with one leg in an air cast, kept herself busy on the shaded deck until we could join her for ice-cream and other refreshments at the end of play. The sunny warm weather and camaraderie of friends made it a great outing.