Summit celebration

Celebrating at the summit of Golden Ears – a return match 8 years in the making for me. Photo taken by fellow Instagrammer @sonia.sayle – thanks!

Here’s our happy dance at the summit of Golden Ears 🙂 Maria had made it up there back in 2008 but it was my first visit and I was so happy to have made it, especially with the gorgeous evening light. Just glorious…

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Golden!

Golden Ears at last! Awesome summiting on a beautiful sunny evening, great light on Robie Reid and Judge Howay. Worth every step 🙂

A rematch 8 years in the making! I conquered the corner that held me back last time and savoured the gorgeous light at the summit of this landmark peak. I’m not a peak-bagger, but it felt really good to make it up there! And to my surprise, the whole trip actually didn’t feel too difficult either, despite its gruelling statistics. Either I’m fitter, or I carried less crap this time.

Smiley salal

Happy Friday! Smiley salal faces along the Cape Scott trail.

These little smiley faces were so cute! We saw quite a few along the trail, someone must have been making them whenever they stopped near salal bushes. They were welcome encouragement for the long viewless hike! 🙂

Tasty Lake

This area gets more popular every year. Back in 2011 it was possible to camp here and be the only group. I’m not sure that’s true any more – we had planned to backpack here on the weekend of 23/24 July but changed plans once we saw a group of at least a dozen setting off as we pulled up… It’s a wilderness camping area with no facilities but I suspect it’s now in need of an outhouse to keep things clean.

After setting up our tents, four of us set off up onto the Flatiron for a gentle ramble with scenic highlights. This was the view back down towards the tents. As we arrived, part of the cornice on the snowpatch below broke off and rumbled down the snow slope – the fragments can just be seen on the lower slopes near the lake. Our plan for the next day was to summit Needle Peak. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas and we awoke to thick fog and limited visibility – not the kind of day for climbing a peak! And so I was thwarted again in attempting to get to the peak, but I finally made it in 2015, and it was worth it – it’s a fun scramble (if nervy in a couple of spots) and the views are simply stunning. Can’t wait to go back – on a quieter day.

Beach bear

It’s waterfall/wildflower/wildlife Wednesday, so I’m posting one of each from our recent Cape Scott trip. If you go down to the beach today, you’re in for a big surprise… The two of us were just about to exit the forest as we reached Experiment Bight when we looked up and saw this bear digging in the seaweed on the beach, exactly where we were going to hike. It took over two minutes of bear-soothing chatter to get it to move along far enough for us to make a quick move over the shingle and out of its way. As it walked past, I swear it gave us the most reproachful look ever!

It's waterfall/wildflower/wildlife Wednesday, so I'm posting one of each from our recent Cape Scott trip. If you go down to the beach today, you're in for a big surprise… The two of us were just about to exit the forest as we reached Experiment Bight when we looked up and saw this bear digging in the seaweed on the beach, exactly where we were going to hike. It took over two minutes of bear-soothing chatter to get it to move along far enough for us to make a quick move over the shingle and out of its way. As it walked past, I swear it gave us the most reproachful look ever! #wildlifewednesday #bear #blackbear #capescotttrail #capescottprovincialpark #experimentbight #hiking #backpacking #camping #optoutside #explorebc #explorevanisle #vancouverisland #bcparks

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It took us until our fifth day to see a bear. We’d had a close encounter of sorts at Nissen Bight, where a bear had ripped apart a log right next to the food cache while we were relaxing on the sand. I always want to see bears, but I have to admit this was about as close as I ever want to get to one. Even though this was a peaceful encounter (we had time to switch lenses on the camera!), there was always that thought at the back of my mind about dealing with an angry bear. Thankfully we just had to deal with a grumpy bear who just wanted to seek out breakfast. Once we were past we looked back to watch it dig into the next patch of seaweed in search of tasty morsels. Tasty to a bear, that is.

The King of Gentian

It’s waterfall/wildflower/wildlife Wednesday, so I’m posting one of each from our Cape Scott trip. King or blue gentian lined the trail at most of the boggy sections, adding a splash of colour to an often uninviting landscape. The nice thing about these sections, though, was that they were brighter than the deep rainforest. Plus they smelled just like the New Forest where I grew up. Loved it!

Gentian is another one of those flowers that stops us in our tracks, much to the amusement (and bemusement) of our hiking friends. We’re not sure why, but it could be that it’s relatively rare (if locally abundant). There’s a spot near Vancouver where this blooms in late August (called Blue Gentian Lake for obvious reasons!) but it’s always nice to find it elsewhere. We found our first patch on the way in to San Josef Bay, and then more (much more!) in the peat bogs as we neared the northern coast. We saw so much that in the end even I walked past without stopping to take pictures. Eventually…!

Fairy glen

It’s waterfall/wildflower/wildlife Wednesday, so I’m posting one of each from our Cape Scott trip. This little fairy glen waterfall was the source of our drinking water at San Josef Bay. It might look pretty here but it was the colour of tea, and had a taste to match!

We’d been warned about the state of the water on the Cape Scott Trail. At San Josef Bay, we had to hike through to the western end of the second beach to find this little trickle. But what a pretty little trickle! I loved the double cascade and the way the water foamed slightly and how it spread out over the surface. It was tricky keeping the camera steady enough for this as it’s about a quarter of a second exposure. I find it much easier to brace myself when using the SLR for these kinds of photos; holding the little compact camera out in front of me (and in portrait orientation) required me to be very calm and relaxed, and to remember the trick of taking the picture as I exhaled. Of the 4 that I took, it was my second shot that was the winner.

Then there was the matter of the water that we’d filtered – it truly was the colour of weak tea but I have to say the taste was much milder than I expected, so we were quite able to drink it straight from our Platypuses.