Sunday, February 26, 2017

Westwood Lake

Last Monday, my friend Sally and I did the 6 km loop around Westwood Lake in Nanaimo.  It is an easy, well groomed trail with only one very short uphill section.  Perfect for the beginner or out of shape hiker, families with young children, or people recovering from injuries.  It takes about an hour and a half, or two hours if one of the hikers stops every few minutes to take photographs!

The trail was completely clear of snow and dry underfoot, though there were a couple of places where snow was still visible in the underbrush.  At first, we thought the lake was clear of ice, as all we could see from the parking lot was open water:

We took the trail counter-clockwise, stopping for a view at a convenient lookout, and enjoying the smell of freshly milled cedar where the trail/bridge had been newly replaced:

The reflections, both those across the lake and those close at hand, were amazing - the light was perfect, the water clear, and like so many man-made lakes, there were many stumps and logs left to protrude from the water at either end:

At the far end, we used a little bridge to cross a pretty stream, and then we were pitched into winter! The trail was still clear and dry, but the lake - parts we couldn't see before - was covered with ice, slowly melting around the protruding stumps.

Over the creek...

and through the woods.... winter!

The same was true at the other end - lots of ice, lots of almost surreal icescapes formed by the deadfall below and above the surface.

As we rounded the last corner, we were back to open water once again, a the beauty of little trees growing from nurse logs in the water, reflections of both mirrored in the lake.

A great hike any time of year, but also a popular swimming lake in summer so if you like quiet you'd be well advised to choose a weekday in the off seasons.

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