Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cooler Weather is Good

View from Maple Mountain Trail
Looking across to Salt Spring Island

The intense heat of summer is beginning to make way for fall.  We don't have those nippy fall mornings yet, but a light breeze and somewhat cooler temperatures makes being outdoors much more pleasant.  This week, the leaves are beginning to turn as well, though many are going right from green to brown as the very dry summer takes its toll.  Hopefully, we'll see those reds and yellows emerge before all the leaves drop to the ground.

With the more comfortable temperatures, the dogs and I are back to exploring again. Last Wednesday, with our friends Liz and Sasha, Eddie and I checked out the new-and-improved trail system from Osborne Bay Park up Maple Mountain - a different route up the mountain than those we have taken before.

View from trail

The municipality has been upgrading an old overgrown trail system across the mountain, and eventually we'll be able to hike from Osborne Bay Park in Crofton all the way to Maple Bay without getting lost or risking life and limb.  While I have maps of the old trails, they sound far too difficult and dangerous for me, and have long been neglected according to those who have attempted them.

Looking towards Shoal Island log sort

If the quality of the new trail is any indication, we are in for some great all-day hikes in the future.

For those in the area, this new trail begins at the end of the parking lot for Osborne Bay Park on Smith Road  in Crofton (near Camp Quanoes).  It is a comfortably wide, gravel trail through the trees.  It climbs steadily upward using a series of switchbacks, but is not so steep as to be daunting.  It will give you a good workout though.

New gravel trail intersects with old Blue trail.

The new trail criss-crosses the old "blue" trail, and in fact one can do some loops if one knows the way.  We got a bit confused despite directions from another hiker, but always had a pretty good idea where we were.  As we both had afternoon commitments, we erred on the side of caution and returned before reaching the summit and without exploring the several side trails along the way, with the exception of a short familiar section of the blue trail.

Liz asks Eddie which way we should go

This new route offers some lovely views, and the old hiking books tell me there are many more great views along the old blue, yellow and pink trails  - which will hopefully continue to receive upgrades from our great parks department in North Cowichan.   Best advice for now is to take a map (available on the North Cowichan website), a compass or GPS, a cell phone (though I won't guarantee there will be service on the mountain), and pack water, a snack, wear sturdy shoes, and maybe carry a walking stick. If you stick to the gravel path and the old logging roads, you won't get lost; wander off down the dirt trails and you'll want to mark your twists and turns or at least take note of the colours of the survey tapes.

Liz makes notes while Eddie and Sasha meander

On Friday, Eddie, Mitzi and I took our friends Anne and Chelsea to Osborne Bay Park - not to hike the new trail but to take our favourite path down through the off leash park to the beach.  Chelsea loves the water and spent much of her time chasing sticks.

Chelsea and her stick

She is the most well mannered dog I know - when she comes out of the water she walks AWAY from you to shake herself dry before bringing the stick over to be thrown again.  Hmmmm....Sadie B, Tess, Tanner, and other canine water-loving friends, please take note!


Huh?  Why'd she go this way?

Okay, I'm dried off now!

Two great hikes in one week.  It's good to be out and about again.  I sure hope we have a long beautiful fall.

Well, ah don't know why there's no photos of ME  in this entry!


King said...

Hey Aunty Jean
I really like that you're back to your hiking again. Its finally coolin' down here too! We're goin' campin' for a whole week! I'm gonna push P.Mollyratbagdawg in the water (giggle) then she'll go shake on mom. She never moves away before she shakes. I think I could learn to do that. What!? I could! hmmm. Anyway I LOVE your new trails, good thing you dint get lost. I bet me n Eddie could find our back for ya! Well I'm off to help mom pack. We leave today after my dad gets home from work Yipppeeee! Hey Mitzi good ta see ur smiley face too.
Hugs n Tail Wags

Dom said...

Beautiful views. I'm excited to get back into some hiking myself.

Anonymous said...

Mitzi, you are one little cutie! and tell your Mom you want more photos of you in the blog.


Anonymous said...

But Auntie Jean we are only shaking on people to try to cool them down.

Tess,Tanner and Hugo.