Hiking with a TRAILER rather than Backpack

– Easy transportation of luggage on bus, train or airplane

– Prevent common hiking injuries from carrying weight

– Easy to manoeuvre on a variety of terrain

– Easy to handle on steep and rocky ascents and descents

– Ergonomically designed for easy of use and hiking with an armrest

– Holds enough gear to support one, two or three hikers

– Easy to take apart and reassemble

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Radical Design made that one. Not inexpensive.

This father and son walked Camino de Santiago keeping the gear for both in one trailer. 40KG is maximum load.

Hiking Della Falls, Vancouver Island

Della Falls is located within Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island in British ColumbiaCanada. … total height of 440 m (1,440 ft).  

The Canadian Government recognizes Della Falls as the tallest officially measured waterfall. That’s certainly not correct. James Bruce Falls in B.C. is much taller by any criteria, for one.

Meg Cuthbert:

Access: Boat access only, from the far end of Grand Central Lake near Port Alberni.

Canoe Distance: The canoe from Scout Beach Recreation Site is about 20 kilometres, the lake is tip-to-tip 35 kilometres long.

Hike Distance: 16 kilometres one-way from the trail head to Della Falls.

Canoe Difficulty: The wind on the lake tends to pick up in the afternoon, so at times the paddle was quite difficult. Be prepared to lock it in.

Hike Difficulty: The hike is a moderate difficulty, mostly due to the pack on your back. The elevation gain over the 16 kilometres is only 350 metres

Her group paddled in by canoe.

Read her 2019 trip report – Della Falls – Canoe, Hike, Canoe

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Most hikers book rides on the Della Falls Water Taxi. Both ways.

The real experts on Strathcona Provincial Park are MB Guiding. If you want to hire a guide or get up-to-date information, be sure to check their Della Falls page:

MountainLion.org on that cougar encounter

Mountain lions are much less dangerous to hikers in North America than snake bites, lightning strikes and even bee stings.

But plenty of people have been freaked out by a recent viral video.

 “The encounter might have been avoided altogether, but once it happened, the runner did a lot of things right,” says Denise Peterson, a Utah resident and region coordinator with the Mountain Lion Foundation.

“But individuals and the media are getting a lot of things wrong …

26-year-old Kyle Burgess has told reporters that he was running on a trail in Provo’s Slate Canyon when he saw kittens on the gravel path ahead of him. Thinking they might be bobcat kittens, he started recording video on his phone. When the mother lion appeared, he immediately knew he had made a dangerous mistake.

In the six minutes that follow, the video shows Burgess doing many things correctly: he backed away slowly, continued facing the lion, spoke loudly and firmly, and didn’t try to run away.

The lion followed him for several minutes, occasionally hissing and lunging. “She clearly did not view him as prey,” says Debra Chase, CEO of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

“The behavior was meant to chase him away, which it did very well. The mother lion was reacting to a perceived threat to her young.” …

Mountain Lion Foundation Issues Plea for Proper Reporting on Utah Encounter
CC BY-SA 2.0

Atal Tunnel opens more Himalayan Hiking

This historic tunnel, which was inaugurated on October 3, starts from Solang Valley near Manali and ends near the grand Sissu waterfall in Lahaul.

Till now, not many travellers knew about the Sissu waterfall. But now, Atal Tunnel puts it on the … map.

Similarly, it brings the spotlight on Lahaul and underlines how little information is available about this region.

“You have not seen a setting as beautiful as Lahaul. It is very different from the stark beauty of Spiti. …

A Big Impact: Opening up of new areas of trekking

The opening of Atal Tunnel will finally allow trekkers to venture into the uncharted terrain of Lahaul. Earlier, bad roads and long travel time prevented trekkers from exploring this scenic region. …

How the Opening of Atal Tunnel Affects Trekking in India

Hiking Castlecrag, Vancouver Island

Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

This was my favourite hike on the Forbidden Plateau.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’d camped at Duck Pond, Circlet Lake campground.

I camped 3 nights at Circlet Lake altogether. Lovely.

From Circlet it’s not far to the Castlecrag trail marked in orange on the map. Look for the sign to Moat Lake.

Click for LARGER version.

I hiked the route marked in orange. Here’s the original Park map online.

This was a foggy and somewhat hazy day.

But plenty clear enough to see where I was headed.

I’d seen lovely Moat Lake the day before from the Albert Edward hike.

For Castlecrag you circumambulate the far side, crossing the worst bridge I’d seen in Strathcona 2020.

En route a helicopter flew into Moat Lake Retreat, an island you can rent with 2 cabins sleeping a total of 10 people. It’s a legacy from when Clinton Wood first built a lodge here in 1934.

In good weather, finding the route is not all that difficult. Follow the cairns and (possibly) ribbons.

Much of this adventure is above the treeline.

Overall the hiking is more difficult than on nearby Edward Albert as there is a fair bit of boulder hopping over avalanche slopes.

Two highlights end of September: no mosquitoes and autumn colours.

The turnoff UP to Castlecrag is not signed. Watch for the big cairn on the right.

Castlecrag 1740m (5709ft) is a satellite peak to Mt Albert Edward 2093m and many serious hikers / trail runners connect the two via Mt Frink. I’d originally planned to do that myself — but found it too difficult and risky on my own. Also, days are short end of September. I might have spent some hours in the dark on the way down.

It’s a short climb from the cairn to the summit of Castlecrag.

I had great fun scrambling around the crags.

See all the full resolution photos from this hike on Flickr.

The best hiking guidebook is Exploring Strathcona Park. Dead tree version available only.

See our list of the best hikes in North America.  

Hiking Mt Albert Edward

Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Click PLAY or watch the climb in less than a minute on YouTube.

Mt Albert Edward, 6th highest peak 2093m (6867ft) on Vancouver Island, is well known because it’s visible from Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

It’s named for Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.

Most who climb it start at Circlet Lake campground.

From the campground it’s only 5.5km to the summit, but it took much longer for me than I anticipated.

The muddiest trail I found was that just departing Duck Pond.

I hiked Circlet to the summit on the trail marked in red.

Click for LARGER version.

Here’s the original Park map online.

Bring enough water for the day as there no great gushing streams en route.

At the sign pointing left to Moat Lake, keep right for Edward Albert.

The ascent itself is only medium difficulty IF the weather is good.

Some scrambling.

I had perfect weather. But it can be deadly in normal weather — cloudy, cold, wind. Don’t go for it unless you are confident visibility will hold.

Follow occasional cairns and, possibly, ribbons. Navigation is not all that difficult in good weather.

Moat Lake is gorgeous.

At one point you can follow a series of aluminum poles.

Once you reach a wide shoulder leading up to the summit, it’s easy going with terrific views.

Here’s the view looking back on Mt Washington Ski Hill.

Be wary of cornices especially on the north and west sides of the ridge.

There was not much snow left end of September 2020 when I was there.

What a great day!

Click PLAY or watch some video from the top on YouTube.

VIDEO

Some hike 3 peaks (Edward Albert, Frink, and Castlecrag) from Circlet, a tough go!

Other adventures that include Edward Albert summit are the Augerpoint Traverse and Comox Range Traverse.

Me?

I headed back to Circlet Lake for siesta.

See all the full resolution photos from this hike on Flickr.

Hiking the Paradise – Circlet Lake Loop

Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse of the scenery on YouTube. (3min)

Paradise Meadows is the best and most convenient trailhead in Strathcona, largest and oldest (1911) Provincial Park in B.C..

It’s easy access to the Forbidden Plateau on paved Strathcona Parkway up to Mt Washington Alpine Resort 1100m, 20km up from the inland highway.

Close to Courtney, Cumberland, and Campbell River. The nearest airport and ferry port are at Comox.

Looking from Raven Lodge at the trailhead, the most distinct peak is sharp Albert Edward, 6th highest mountain on the island.

It seemed to me in 2020 that Strathcona Park did not have as much staff as they would like. Happily the volunteers of the Strathcona Wilderness Institute are often in person at Paradise trailhead. Make a donation if they help you out.

With loops for all ability levels, this area is ideal for children and well-behaved dogs.

Centennial Loop (2.5km)
Paradise Meadows Loop (4.2km)
Lake Helen Mackenzie – Battleship Lake Loop (8km)
Helen MacKenzie-Kwai Lake-Croteau Loop (14km)

Those trails closest to the trailhead are best maintained: bridges, pit toilets, good signage and much boardwalk. In fact, the Centennial Loop is wheelchair and scooter accessible.

Check the map. I hiked in to Circlet Lake on yellow, mostly looped back on green. But there are MANY possible different interconnecting loops.

Click for LARGER version.

Here’s the original Park map online.

Most hikers on the Forbidden Plateau stay down in the subalpine: forested hills, postcard pretty lakes, babbling brooks, and lovely meadows.

It’s wet. Expect rain.

Expect mud. 🙃

If we couldn’t enjoy all this beautiful boardwalk, we’d often be wading wetlands.

Water water everywhere, yet I found I had to treat almost every source. There are not all that many fast running creeks.

I passed one picturesque Ranger cabin.

Three first-come, first-served campgrounds are quite good, the closest at Lake Helen Mackenzie near the trailhead. Each has pit toilets and bear proof food lockers. (CAD$10 / person / night in 2020)

I was there late September 2020. Very few mosquitoes! That’s not always the case here.

I hiked in to Circlet about 9.5km one way. About 4 hours walking. Stayed 3 nights.

Arrived just before dark. Camped on pretty Duck Pond rather than the lake itself.

Circlet is not likely to fill up — but you MIGHT find no space left at Helen Mackenzie and Kwai Lake campgrounds on a busy day during the short summer season.

I love the large wooden tent pads in Strathcona.

Click PLAY or see Circlet from the air on Vimeo.

From Circlet base camp:

day 1 – hiked Edward Albert (trip report & video)

day 2 – hiked Castlecrag (trip report & video)

Both are excellent. Myself and others I met while there both liked Crags better, even though it’s lower.

From Circlet, I also tried and failed to find the trail to Amphitheatre Lake. There’s no signage.

If I had found Amphitheatre, I would have tried to continue up to Sunrise Lake.

Moat Lake is lovely, however. If you camp at Circlet, definitely make the short day hike up to Moat if not all the way to Castlecrag.

Rather than backtrack on my return, I looped.

One detour without pack took me to Cruickshank Canyon Lookout.

It’s a bit depressing to see a lot of clearcut from that vantage. Seems to me the forestry industry should repair damage more quickly.

One highlight is looking for large, weird mushrooms.

The autumn colours were lovely too.

I stopped at Kwai Lake to recharge my batteries figuratively and literally. There’s no electricity in Strathcona so I used solar on this trip.

Croteau Lake is a 4th campground opened 2018, only available for groups booking in advance.

I wandered leisurely — stopping often for photos and video — back to Lake Helen Mackenzie campground for 1 night.

Lovely.

I highly recommend the Forbidden Plateau.

See all the full resolution photos from this hike on Flickr.

Here’s the official Strathcona Provincial Park website.

The best hiking guidebook is Exploring Strathcona Park. Dead tree version available only.

See our list of the best hikes in North America

Nitecore NU25 headlamp review 2020

I needed enough light to cycle in the dark as well as for hiking / camping.

After reading good reviews, I went with the Nitecore NU25 headlamp.

I like it.  Comfortable, adjustable headband.  

Four settings for white light.  Three for red.

In addition, a three second press of the white light sets off the well known ••• – – – ••• Morse code sequence.  

Simple design.

  • rechargeable with micro-USB
  • maximum output of 360 lumens
  • max. Beam Distance 81 m
  • auxiliary red light
  • indicator reports remaining battery power
  • lockout to prevent accidental activation
  • 0.99oz

Headlamps have turned on accidentally during transport in the past.  That won’t happen when you lock out this one.

It will work while charging from a portable battery, if needed for many hours.

 

Click PLAY or watch a review on YouTube.

Here are other recommended headlamps in 2020.

The NU 25’s main limitations are its short battery life (in our testing, the NU’s burn time was much shorter than listed) and the fact that it’s hard to keep the light from shining in your camping partner’s eyes due to its wide beam pattern.