Retreads winter grip doesn’t stop hike

Six hearty Retreads braved the elements and went hiking up the Forestry road at Cottonwood Creek.

Footprints are left behind in the deep

Footprints are left behind in the deep

On Wednesday, March 14, six hearty Retreads braved the elements and went hiking up the Forestry road at Cottonwood Creek.

We followed the east side of the creek until it forked and then we continued up the Widow Creek branch. At this time of year the beautifully clear mountain stream gurgles and splashes at it races down towards the lake; a lovely sound as you walk alongside. The forest floor is carpeted with ferns in many places and all the trees are draped with moss creating a mystical effect.

The heavy, wet snow got deeper and deeper as we gained elevation until, about three km. in, we were almost up to our knees breaking trail. So instead of stopping to savour a picnic lunch, which is our usual routine, we ate quickly and adjourned to Jean’s Sa-Seen-Os Point [Youbou] home for coffee and chocolate chip cookies by the cosy heat of the wood stove.

To join the Retreads on a hiking adventure come to Saywell Park at 9:30 a.m. on any Wednesday. Schedules listing destinations and hike coordinators as well as boot ratings — One Boot = easy, Two Boots = average, Three Boots = intermediate and Four Boots = advanced — are available at the Visitor Centre and Cowichan Recreation. Most of our hikes are Two or Three Boots with moderate climbs and distances of eight -12 km total, taking 2-4 hours. Hiking boots are recommended. Contact the coordinator prior to the event for further information.

— Submitted by Cliff Suntjens and Jean Atkinson