Submitted by David Kidd
Not alone and blue was how we felt as we hiked in the rain, with friends, up the Holland Creek Trail near Ladysmith. Four of the six sported umbrellas and the other two had high-end rain gear. And one was seen in shorts, arguing that he did not like soggy wet pants clinging to his knees.
The trail followed Holland Creek for about three kilometres, giving a round trip hike of 6 km. It climbed quite a bit, and certainly enough to get the less fit among us huffing and puffing as we worked our way up numerous steps. In the lower stretches we saw the remains of some salmon, but as we went on upstream we saw some high man-made dams and waterfalls and realized that salmon runs are restricted to the lower sections of the creek, or fast flowing river, at this time of year.
About three quarters of the way up we passed a trail that leads up onto a higher view point that we have followed on previous hikes. This is a great place from which to view Ladysmith and the Salish sea and to have lunch, but today in the rain it seemed unwise to venture into this exposed area. A few minutes later we crossed a substantial bridge over the river and then climbed up to a map and signboard explaining a hike up into the Stocking and Heart Lake areas. A hike we have done earlier from a different starting point.
Up a bit more and we came to the junction where we start down the other side of the trail. Surprise. We have to go further up before we eventually come to the down hill parts of the trail. After walking by some huge Douglas firs and cedars we carefully climbed down more steps and made our way back to the car. We had car pooled in one mini-van. We had completed a two-hour hike along some very pleasant tree lined areas with a fallen maple leaves carpeting much of the trail.
The previous week saw us on a hike through the huge trees and around the perimeter of the Mesachie Lake Forest Research Centre. An educational experience as we admired the huge trees that were spared the axe a hundred years ago. We passed along some beaches on the edge of Cowichan Lake and passed by a number of interesting research plots on the west side of the research station. The group ended this hike, once again, at the Honeymoon Bay Coffee Mill.
Next we will explore Newcastle Island at the edge of Nanaimo. This will be new territory for our club.
Contact Jean Cozens at 250-749-6156 for more information or to organize a walk in the rain. And note, our Retreads Club is holding a Christmas party on Nov. 30 at the Curling Club Lounge.