June 29 & 30 & July 1 Crowduck Camping Highlights
Another great trip into the wilds of Manitoba!
Twelve canoers embarked from the boat launch at Big Whiteshell Lake into a headwind and some waves to the portage into Crowduck Lake. A severe storm had hit the area a few days earlier and the trail was choked with fallen trees. Fortunately some other campers had brought a chainsaw along and everyone proceeded to clear the trail. Aaron and Donna went ahead and secured our favorite campsite.
The weather remained cool and windy with a few showers but not enough to dampen anyone’s spirits.
On Sunday Aaron and Donna went to explore a new portage possibility across a small lake. It turned out great and we returned by a new route across high rocky ground instead of swamp. Travellers were Verne, Donna and Aaron, Camille, Noel, Annemiek, Sylvie, Arthur, Marilyn and Rob, and Gavin (Verne's grandson) and his friend Joel.
Camille organized a contest to see who could make the best paddle from natural materials using only the ax and saw. Rob made a useable paddle using only a jacknife. There were a lot of neat ideas and no winner. Camille suggested that a vote be taken to banish the least useful member from the island and the overwhelming vote was to banish Camille. There was a bit of a conspiracy going on.
Lots of fun, swimming and jumping off cliffs into the water. For the first time our return paddle across Big Whiteshell was on calm water. Our final stop is always the ice-cream store at Brerton Lake.
Always a bit of a letdown to see it end.
July 13-15 Big Valley Camping & Hiking
Verne, Norma, Aaron, Donna, Sylvie, Annemeik, Mike R., Bert, and Judy all made it out for the Friday night campout. Bert and Judy added a bicycle road trip to their agenda. They rode from #10 Hwy and Mountain Rd. junction down into the Valley (aporox 37km). Once camp was set up we had a visit and went to bed before midnight. We woke up to a beautiful day and by the time we were finished with breakfast, Brian, Lynne, Fred, and Anne had joined us and had time to set up their camp. By 10:20, we were off to hike Snake Creek.
We analyzed our first steps in the water and the farther we went the better it was. Wet feet were soon forgotten for the scenery was great…..wild flowers were blooming or just about to bloom. Species that were new to most of us - evening primrose and Joe-Pye Weed - were the most abundant, along with nettle, mint, and harebells like I have never seen before growing in clusters out of the shale walls of the valley. The valley was high and narrow then would open then close again. Close high walls of shale were spectacular, especially the Weeping Wall. It was covered with mosses, lichens, plants and dripping from 30 feet or more. Snake Creek was a bed of shale and had the clearest water. We saw minnows hiding in holes and logs. The water ran fast and we could definitely tell when we were climbing in elevation. There were a couple of beaver dams and ice brush pile-ups we had to divert around but a good ATV trail provided us with that when needed. We hiked for two hours then stopped and had lunch. After lunch Aaron, Bert, Annemiek, Fred, and Anne carried on with the adventure to see a waterfall and massive shale ledges at creek level. The rest of us returned to camp. The hike up the creek was more impressive than the hike back; I think the sunshine and light made a difference on the valley. Once everyone was back, Grace and Shannon joined us. Grace led Shannon on a hike from her farm to the creek and down the creek to camp. They enjoyed their hike just as much as we did ours. We played Bolo Ball for most of the evening; Fred was really good at this game. The potluck supper was great again along with the feed of corn. Mexican style corn was good too. (substitute butter, salt & pepper for mayonnaise and parmesan cheese). Lorna, Tom, and Judy, (Grace's mother & brother) dropped in for a visit and a beer too. Overall we decided that Creek Hiking is a good idea and we will do it again next year. Big Valley is located near the junction of #5 and #347 highways, north of Neepawa.
August 11 Day Hike on Langford Trail
On Saturday, August 11th morning, our fearless leader Grace led Di, Sally, Marg, Millie, Janis, Linda, Arnold and Bridget for a hike on the Langford Trail near Neepawa. The day was sunny with strong enough winds that mosquitoes and other bugs were no problem. Langford Trails are laid out in a series of loops so that the hiker is able to hike shorter trips or the whole thing.
Our group skipped Trail Four, which is the only one that isn't a loop. It is a kilometer one way into a tamarack marsh. When the tamaracks turn colour in the fall, that trail would be well worth another trip.
The well-marked trails meander through stands of old gnarled oaks, with several small meadows full of goldenrods and fall asters. There are benches where you can rest and contemplate the beauty before you. We had lunch on the side of a hill and then headed back.
Arnold and I took the ski trail out while the others followed the backside of Loop One home. There was apparently a large orange mushroom there, (the size of a tractor seat!) that we missed.
We finished up with a coffee at the Brahama Grill. We would all like to thank Grace for leading us on this enjoyable hike.
August 17-19 Camping at Rossman Lake
On Friday August 17th - Di, Marlene, Shannon, Eldon, Bert, Judy and Laura had the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of Bill and Carol at their cottage at Rossmann Lake. Of course the keeners arrived early and got a guided tour around Bill's extensive hiking paths. It was a beautiful evening for a canoe ride on the lake, and the coyotes were in fine voice - serenading us loud and long. There were refreshments in abundance - and the joy of roasting doughnuts over the fire was discovered.
On Saturday, we started with an enormous breakfast. The WWC really does excel itself when it comes to potluck meals! By now, Grace had joined us - and we gathered ourselves together for a bike ride into town (we had left Laura fishing for our supper!). The clouds grew thicker and darker - and then the rain came. It wasn't long before the sun came out - so we merrily rode our bikes for a total of 27 miles. We visited one of the many cemeteries - and had a good chuckle over some of the headstones! Most bikers visited the bar in Rossburn before we headed back to the cottage - via the ice cream shop! Unfortunately, Judy had a bit of a mishap on the way home - her bike stopped but she didn't. We do hope you have recovered by now. Back at the cottage, we were met by Alf and Janis, Robert and Lois, and David (Grace's friend). We all assisted in replenishing Bill's woodpile before our evening of entertainment began. After another WWC potluck supper - the first act of the evening was Eldon's 'Falling Through The Chair'. That was followed by Bill on his guitar and some campfire songs. The evening ended with a spectacular firework display. Another great day had come to a close - but we still had one more to go!
Sunday morning started off with another tremendous breakfast. A horse ride/hike was planned to Gunn Creak, Unfortunately, a lot of people were unable to go (did they know something we didn't?) - but the intrepid Di and Marlene hung in there. Robert and Laura set off on horseback, easily catching up with us (this was the last time the hikers were in the lead!). The river crossing was the easy bit - Di borrowed a horse and Marlene took her boots and sox off. We then met with greenery taller than the average hiker...we could have done with those horses! The hike was a grueling challenge that was cut short by Marlene stumbling around and Di with a huge headache. Thankfully Laura's GPS came in handy and we found our way back to the cars, while Laura and Robert continued to Gunn Creek. Unfortunately for Laura, she ended up having a mishap with a horse (he stepped on her foot instead of his own). We hope you have recovered, as there's still a lot of hiking to be done.
Thank you, Bill and Carol, for hosting such a great weekend!
Di and Marlene
August 25-30 Castle Mountain in the Rocky Mountains.
Our group of six excited hikers, after some final adjustments, got on the road Saturday morning, August 25. We fully enjoyed the long drive to Strathmore where we stayed over the first night. Verne, Norma Dena, Jody, Mike and Grace arrived at the hostel Sunday afternoon.
After meeting Tony, the manager we dropped off our gear, and set off to hike Stanley Glacier. It had rained and was clearing up, but we got a little wet anyway. We climbed through a forest left from a fire in 2003 to a "hanging valley" that gave us a great view of the glacier and the "stone teahouse".
Our accommodations proved to be superb! We had showers, flush toilets, stoves, fridges, and a fireplace........the works. The dorm-style sleeping quarters were great with fresh linen ready for us . Tony tried to keep us in line, but we won him over.......hey guys?
Monday, we spent the day at Johnston Canyon trail. This was well travelled (over a million people every year!) and very pretty, walking along the falls and white water of the river. We took in a cave and a brown "wall of rock in the making" along the way. We chose to go further to the "Ink Pots" where we had a well-deserved lunch break. Cool spring water, bubbles up through limestone bedrocks and and gravel that left a blue-green ink color to the bottom of the pools of water. We invited two fellow hostel guests to join us for the day. The two young men are from Austria.
Tuesday we drove about 45 minutes to Field, then up to Takkakwa Falls for lunch. We continued the day hiking to Laughing Falls. We met some fellow "hostellers", and absorbed the beauty of our surroundings to the fullest. Verne, Dena and Jody decided to explore the top of the falls before we headed back for another great dinner at the hostel. There was another guest that had arrived while we were out. She was from Australia, and of course she was invited to join us for dinner.
Wednesday proved to be the highlight of the four days for all of us, I think. We took in Peyto Glacier from two sides of Peyto lake. First, we climbed to the tourist lookout, which included nature tips, and a beautiful view of the glacier. This glacier has receded two kms in 100 years! On we went to find the hiking trail, but realized that it is no longer marked, or used much. However our exploring souls decided to take a look anyway, and were we ever rewarded! The short trail (about 1 1/5 kms) led us down through lush forest to a paradise-like stony beach on the lake. Part of the ambience, I suppose, was the fact that we were the only ones there! We spent some time looking for driftwood before we headed back to Lake Louise where we climbed to the Fairview Lookout, to take in more scenic views over the lake.
Thursday, the group went on to Wolverine Trail, while I joined some family in Banff. The weather had cooperated with us pretty well the whole time, and we had a full moon to enjoy as well!
The experience of this hostel living reminded me of being in Europe. We met people from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, New Zealand and Australia,. We exchanged stories, addresses and have some wonderful memories!
Many thanks to Vern and Norma for arranging the memorable trip and taking care of us all the way!
September 8 Brandon Hills Hike
On September 8, Grace led a challenging hike in the Brandon Hills. Grace, Arthur, Shirley, Roger B., Kim B, Michael (Roger and Kim's 12 year old son), Di, and Sally mastered the steep climbs to the highest point on the ridge. After awhile Kim and Michael had enough climbing so waited on one of the higher hills while the rest of us continued on to the the fence at the end of the private pasture we were on. We picked them up on the way back to the trailhead. Before attempting the climbs we had a good warm-up hike by meandering through some woodland pathways that were not much wider than deer trails. The total distance was estimated at approximately 10 km. It took us about three hours including lunch at a viewpoint with a breathtaking view of the surrounding farmland. As Roger put it, "I wonder what the poor people are doing today". We felt so rich to be able to enjoy the outdoors in this way. We encountered some brief light rain showers but they were not enough to dampen our enthusiasm. There weren't even any wood ticks or mozzies to contend with.
On the way to the trailhead Sally and Grace spotted a raptor sitting on a fence post. It was fairly large with a prominent beak, and all white with reddish brown spots over its entire body. After looking in my bird book at home it seemed to come closest to a snowy owl in size and coloring, however it seemed unusual to see an owl abroad in the daytime. We also saw some interesting plants and were wishing we had one of our flora and fauna gurus with us to identify them.
Thank you Grace for leading this most enjoyable hike.
September 17-21 Skoki Mountain Hike
I have been told Skoki is a native word meaning "swamp" or "marsh."
In recent years, WWC members have organized two spectacular hiking excursions in the Rockies per year. One involves day trips from a base camp, hostel or cabin. This allows participants to choose how rigorous their days will be. The other, organized by Eldon Schmitz, is a five-day backcountry hike, which is probably the clubs most rigorous event. Participants carry their week’s needs in backpacks, which typically weigh 50 pounds. Those unable or unwilling to keep up are sacrificed on the trail, their names never again mentioned. This year’s hike was the Skoki Mountain Loop near Lake Louise. Eldon, Fred, Jackie and Bert survived the excursion.
We left Brandon early Saturday morning (September 15), stopped at the old Grain Elevator for lunch,in Swift Current to buy a used tent and in Strathmore for the night. Our peaceful slumber in the Leroy Motel was only disturbed by the snoring of roommates and a domestic quarrel in the parking lot in which we heard suggestions for places to stick things and new uses for words commonly used in the nation’s shipyards, construction sites and schoolyards.
Sunday we headed off for Calgary where we visited Mountain Equipment Coop. We spent lots of money, some of it on stuff we actually needed. At a farmers market in Banff we ate wonderful, juicy peaches, getting all sticky before heading to Lake Louise.
While checking in at the Hostel, Eldon got into a dispute with the desk clerk then got a Hostel brochure to assure her that he was right and she was wrong. The graciousness with which she accepted his helpful hints left us amazed that she booked us in. We then worried that she would exact some sort of revenge. It was reminiscent of our encounter with the German Hostel host in Jasper last year that was greatly offended when Herr Schmitz refused to sprechen sie deutsch mit him.
Note to WWC members: Don’t let Eldon deal with Hostel staff.
We registered our hike plan with Parks Canada and went grocery shopping in Lake Louise where a two-day-old bun cost about the same as one would normally pay for a loaf of gourmet bread, and salmon-flavoured cream cheese was priced like caviar. Back in the hostel restaurant we shared our supper table with a retired English couple then a construction crew who demonstrated power eating.
(Editor's note: a whole page before he gets to the hike?)
The hike started in the Fish Creek parking area (elev. 1690 m) and up the Temple fire road for about 4 km, which rises on a steady grade, passes a packhorse corral and the Lake Louise Ski facility. This uninspiring part of the hike is served by a shuttle (sometimes). We were told that the shuttle was not running but two shuttles escorting Skoki Lodge tourists passed us as we trudged along. The grade is so steep that a vehicle without brakes would be a missile on the way down!
The road became a trail through a classic sub-alpine valley and meadows with coniferous trees and larches. The sky was blue; the air was fresh and cool. Already it was worth the grind. We rested and snacked at the “Halfway Hut”, a day-use shelter, conversed with some other hikers then moved on to our day’s destination, the campground near Hidden Lake (elev. about 2195 m). Clear skies provided spectacular mountain views, spectacular stars and cold temperatures at night (probably an overnight low of -10º C).
Tuesday morning was cold and gray. Moody skies, unlike moody children, are beautiful. With our usual efficiency, we were packed by noon and on the trail for two nights at the Skoki Mountain campground (elev. about 2100 m). This was about an eight-kilometer hike. On the trail, we heard picas whistling and even saw some movement in the distance that we decided was picas. At the end of day two, our only wildlife photos were of a gopher on a rock near a lake.
Skoki Lodge is a high-end wilderness resort about a kilometer before from the Skoki campground. We stopped on our way by to take “high tea”. Tourists hike about 10 km get to the Lodge from the shuttle drop at the end of the Temple fire road. For a couple of hundred dollars per night, you can stay in a heated log cabin with fresh linens, hot showers and really clean outhouses and gourmet home cooked meals instead of paying $10 each to camp, use Parks Canada quality outhouses and eat dehydrated chicken scraps with noodles from a tinfoil package. We couldn’t understand the attraction of the Lodge, but they seem to have customers. There is just no accounting for taste.
When we were almost ready to leave, Eddie and Mirrrrrranda (Eddie rolled the “r”) from Holland came in. We had met them earlier on the trail. They were in the first month of what may become a two-year world tour. As they pondered the idea of staying in the Lodge, we left to set up camp, prepare for a fire and set up our tarp canopies. A while later Eddie and Miranda arrived in camp (there was no room in the inn) with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, which the Lodge hostess gave them to share. More amazing than the hostess sending cookies for us was Eddie and Miranda's sharing them with us. For that, we invited them and everyone else in the campground to join us later around our fire. Then we went on a side trek to Hidden Lake where it was reported that goats had been grazing for several days. I guess they saw us coming and hid.
Grey skies and cold temperature turned to an evening snowstorm. For a second night we turned in early to get out of the cold. In the morning, the campground was a winter wonderland, with two or three inches of fresh snow decorating the landscape. Flowers peeked out from under the snow. With our usual efficiency, we had breakfast and were headed for the summit of Mount Skoki (elev. 2696 m) by the crack of noon. This was a steep, rugged climb, almost a scramble, up and up and up. Just above the tree line, Jackie elected to go back to the Lodge for high tea. About two thirds of the way up, the skies threatened. We evaluated the situation and concluded that only fools would go on, and so we did. A bit later, we saw Eddie and Miranda below, on their way up. At the top, we were rewarded with spectacular views of Merlin Meadows to the north and what Eldon identified as Mount Victoria in the south. We wrote our names in a book stored in a thermos under a rock at the summit, took photos, patted ourselves on the back and started down where we met Eddie. He and Miranda had assessed the skies and concluded that only a fool would go on, so he did and she returned to the Lodge for high tea. It was apparent that Eddie would not be able to take great photos of himself at the top without an assistant, so Bert headed back up the hill with him where Eddie posed for photos, wrote in the book, took a movie and shared his chocolate bar before heading down to rejoin Eldon and Fred who were resting in a snow drift.
The gray skies lifted and back at the Lodge, Eddie, Freddie and Edlie had a beer while Bertie drank water under clear blue skies. Packhorses that had brought supplies and fresh linen to the Lodge were being loaded with garbage and dirty linen for the trip out. On the trail back to camp, we gathered wood for the evening fire. Camp had grown with a young couple from Canmore, four new U of Colorado grads who had been hiking for 16 days and had six to go, and two young German girls Andy and Micky who, it appears, learned English late one night in the Leroy Motel parking lot. The night was cold but the fire and company were warm. It was a wonderful evening in which we learned how to swear with a heavy German accent and that Eddie and Miranda had worked and saved for a few years to fund extended travel, came to Canada (BC) a few of weeks earlier, bought a “1990 camperized Dodge van” and set off to tour the Americas. We offered them places to stay when they get to Manitoba for a polar bear excursion.
Day four: we said goodbye to our fellow campers and headed over Boulder Pass (2340 m) to Baker Lake (elev. 2210 m), about a seven kilometer hike. We followed bear tracks for several kilometers. Some looked like black bear tracks, at others like grizzly. The trail was easy but it was a tough hike for me. I was wondering how I would manage fourteen kilometers on Friday.On a hill not far from where we had lunch, we spotted a grizzly foraging. Should there be any doubters, we took a picture in which a trained eye or a gullible mind can clearly see the grizzly bear.
The campground at Baker Lake is on top of a flat, well-treed hill; very pretty. There were no other campers here, leading us to wonder if the bears in the area were well fed. Late afternoon was cold and windy with blue skies and neat clouds. Below Baker Lake is a waterfall that Eddie recommended. It was one of the scenic highlights of the trip. Eldon, Fred and Bert spent over an hour scrambling over and around the waterfall while Jackie guarded the camp, cooked and cleaned.
Knowing how hard it had been to cover eight kilometers on day four, we got an amazingly early (for us) start on day five; on the trail by 10AM. Thursday’s lethargy was gone and it turned out to be an easy walk in the park for all. As we climbed down from the mountains, the skies cleared and the temperatures rose. Four hours later we were loading the van in the Fish Creek parking lot and headed back to the Lake Louise Hostel. The skies clouded over and it started to rain.
We drove to the Parks Canada office to close our hiking permit. In the parking lot, in the pouring rain, a CAA tow truck was boosting a 1990 camperized Dodge van. Eddie and Miranda were experiencing carburetor problems. Eddie was old enough to know what a carburetor is but had never worked on one. Once the van was running, we escorted him to the local auto repair garage to find out it was “closed until further notice”, then to a gas station, because a 1990 camperized Dodge van with carburetor problems consumes a lot of gas. Under gas station canopy, we got into the engine compartment, removed the breather cover and showed Eddie how to prop an automatic choke open. The last we saw, Eddie and Miranda were headed to a campground in a rough running van and with hopes of driving to the Columbia Ice fields the next day.
Back in the Hostel we had supper, went for a drive to check out Chateau Lake Louise, played some card games and turned in early. Saturday, we drove home.
In 2005, 18 survived Eldon’s hike; in 2006, six survived; this year four of us hiked out together.
The survivors thank Eldon for organizing and leading another excellent hike.
September 23 Day Hike - Moon Lake
Wow! What a great day for a hike around Moon Lake in Riding Mountain National Park.
Roger, Cheryl, Di, Judy, Arthur, Ken, Vicki, Cali (Ken & Vicki's daughter), Jim (new member), Cecille (via France and Montreal), Alf and Janis met for breakfast at Southgate Hotel in Onanole before embarking on the hike.
Moon Lake is located a short distance off #10 highway near the north end of the Park. The fall colours on the drive to the trailhead and on the trail were just spectacular. Lunch stop was on a hilltop with a beautiful view of the lake below. This was a little over half way around the 9.2k trail. No wild animals were seen but there was plenty of proof of their having been there. Moose tracks and lots of bear scat (filled with cranberries) marked the trail. After the hike it was off to Poor Michael's Bookstore in Onanole for coffee, ice caps, tea and shopping. It was a great day and everyone was looking forward to next Saturday's Bald Hill hike with Jim.
September 29 Bald Hill Hike
Nineteen hardy souls braved the steep hills, bushwhacking 12 creek crossings and the 14k hike to get to Bald Hill. Bald Hill is located on the eastern escarpment of Riding Mountain National Park. The trailhead is off # 5 highway near McCreary, Manitoba.
On the upside it was a gorgeous day, about 26C, the views were awesome and the trail in good condition. There are three lookout points where you can admire the fall colours and look over the whole valley and plains beyond. Alf says that on a clear day you can see Lake Manitoba from there but I guess it has never been quite clear enough because I have never seen it yet. I know Alf wouldn't BS me.
We stopped for a break and some lunch at the base of Bald Hill and then most of the group climbed to the top of the hill, some using the trail and some going straight up the shale. To make the straight up climb you had to be either a billy goat or a gazelle, and we had some of both with us.
On the way back the trail wound back and forth across a small creek, which was just challenging enough for some of the hikers to slip on the rocks and get wet.
This hike is my favourite one of the year - nice and leisurely with lots of variation and scenic spots.
Thanks to Jim Wilkie for leading this great hike.
October 13 Hiking The Yerex Trail
Should I go or should I stay? Vacuuming on a Saturday morning or hiking on the eastern escarpment near Riding Mountain National Park??
As a “ghost” member of the Westman Wilderness Club, I quickly decided that the dust bunnies could wait and I donned my hiking gear. Following Grace’s directions, I reached her parents' homestead situated on the eastern side of the Park. What a gorgeous piece of property the Yerex homestead is situated upon! The views of the neighboring farmlands spread for miles beneath it. Millie, Margaret, Maureen, Arthur, Di, and Grace soon joined me at the home site and we were off.
Grace informed us that we would be hiking on a quad trail that basically circled her parent’s property. The forest was relatively quiet that morning with some overhead sounds of geese, and the occasional chickadee. Although the weather had been rainy that week, the trail was easy walking with some puddles in the lower ravines.
After a lunch break on a scenic knoll, we journeyed into more rugged terrain. Stands of oak trees became more evident as did the outcroppings of shale. As we neared the final kilometers of our 10-kilometer hike sounds of motors could be heard. We soon discovered as quad after quad passed us that we were witnessing the Kelwood Quad Poker Derby! What a hoot!
The hike was over all too quickly, and after coffee, homemade gingersnap cookies, and good company at the Yerex picnic table everyone headed back home. Thank you, Grace, for ordering the sunny day and showing us a part of Manitoba’s hidden treasure.
August 28 Gorge Creek Hike
Roger Winger led 14 participants on the Gorge Creek hike. Several members of the Westman Wilderness club met for the traditional pre hike meal at South Gate Hotel in Onanole. After a hearty breakfast we were joined by Judy and Bert and friends Eddy and Miranda. Eddy and Miranda are from the Netherlands and became acquainted with Bert, Jackie and Fred during the hike in the Mountains.
Our car caravan then headed to the Dead Ox Creek trailhead site on #19 Highway. Several vehicles were ferried to the bottom of the Gorge to avoid the uphill hike back to the trailhead. Weather was a little cool and breezy at the start; however, as we got into the trees and descended the escarpment we soon had to start peeling off layers of clothing. The trail winds along Gorge Creek as it descends the escarpment. Part way down the trail we stopped on a shale ridge that offered a great view of the gorge and the vast expanse of prairie to the East. We traversed many types of vegetation on the descent from the near rain forest type atmosphere in the shaded areas with some huge birch trees in the gorge to stunted scrub and jack pine on the drier more exposed shale slopes. Although the creek has dried up to a trickle one can get the sense of raging torrent of water that must flow through the gorge in the Spring.
Following the leisurely 6.4 km descent we had a snack at the beautiful picnic site at the end of the trail. Roger, Jackie and Fred still had not had enough of a good thing so embarked on the ascent of the trail back to their vehicles. Alf and Janis kindly invited everyone around to their place for hot chocolate following the hike. Everyone took them up on that except Jim and his son who had to get back to Brandon. Alf thought it would be nice to take the shortcut back to his place via the old fire trail or Rolling River Road. This was a very scenic drive that he insisted was about the same distance as traveling by #19 - however I don't think he was able to convince anyone else that this was the case. The hot chocolate, coffee and cookies were enjoyed by all and many stories with maybe the odd lie were exchanged as we enjoyed the heat from Alf and Janis' new wood burning stove. It was a real pleasure to have Eddy and Miranda join us for the hike. This young couple had liquidated all their assets in the Netherlands and purchased a rather elderly Dodge van and embarked on a journey through North and South America - what an adventure. We wish them all the best in their travels.
Thanks to Alf and Janis for the hot chocolate and cookies.
October 27-28 Cairns Cabin Overnight
Nine people - Kelly and Kelvin T, Steven and Rita D, Rebecca N, Di I, Mike, Glen, and Edward B - enjoyed the lovely late fall weather on the bright sunny hike into the Cabin. The park had the trail mowed around the cabin and down to the creek. We had a good evening of cards after our gourmet supper.
Two people slept outside in the moonlight under the stars. Clouds moved in during the night and it warmed up a few degrees by morning. It was cloudy on the the first half of the trail out and then the sun appeared. Limited wildlife sightings, but good hike overall!.