Cycling Vancouver Island

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

My favourite month in Canada is September.

Weather is still good. Yet the tourists have mostly headed home.

I’d always wondered if it was possible to cycle logging roads — then bushwhack to the trailhead of Della Falls on Great Central Lake.

As expected, it’s nearly impossible. I never made it. 😀

But I’d wanted to do a gear check on my old Ghost touring bike in any case. Della Falls was an excuse to get out into the wilderness.

The only official campsite in the area is Lowry Lake. Very nice. But I passed by too early in the day. So ended up wild camping 2 nights.

Logging is horrible on Vancouver Island. Very few people see the vast swaths of clearcut hidden away from pavement.

BUT they certainly make the island wilderness accessible for anyone on a good bike.

I ended up camping 2 nights. The first on a sand bar in the Ash river. There are more bears than people in this part of the island. I thought I’d keep myself well clear of any animal trails.

The second night I pitched on a quiet lake where I’d stayed twice in the past.

My meandering route ended up looking something like this.

Vancouver Island is fantastic.

Stein Valley Divide hike, B.C.

Stein Valley is one of the best hikes in North America.

It’s high on my personal list of hikes to do … SOON. 

Wild and remote, the “route” is about 90km and has a total elevation change of at least 4300m. High elevation is about 2150m.

It’s tough. You probably want to schedule 7 days. Perhaps 9 days to enjoy some side tripping. Carry ALL your food.

Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo.

Without question you should purchase the only guidebook. And perhaps maps, as well.

2nd edition 2013

purchase at MEC

Croatian Long Distance Trail

The Croatian Long Distance Trail (CLDT) was pretty much invented by Nikola (Tesla) Horvat.

Nikola

Croatia shares a maritime border with Italy. The capital city is Zagreb.

As I post the trail is not recommended due to COVID-19 restrictions. Hopefully it will be possible again starting 2021.

  • approximately 2200 km (1400 mi)
  • mountain trails, wild trails, hard rock, forest roads, fields, gravel roads and sometimes asphalt roads
  • mountain huts, hotel, hostel, private accommodation, official campsite
  • many settlements so resupply should not pose a problem

As very few have hiked it yet, you’ll be pleased to hear there is a Guthook Guide. There are some blazes and emblems, as well..

Details on the official website

Hiking the Indian Himalaya Independently

It’s easy to hike Nepal independently.

Not so India.

I did Markha Valley independently.  But for Kuari Pass I finally signed on with a guided trek.

The hiking infrastructure in India is not well developed.  Getting to and from trailheads often a headache.  Next time I go to India I’ll likely sign on for trips guided by IndiaHikes.

One bit of good news.

Peter Van Geit has been creating detailed hiking maps of the Indian Himalaya.

So far, he has pulled together over 1,000 trails across Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

It shows 600 passes, 700 high-altitude lakes and more than 10,000 reference points. …

It allows hikers to see elevation profiles and download GPS logs onto their phones rather than having to carry multiple, less detailed paper maps.

“The map has more trails than anyone could ever cover in a lifetime,” he says.

“It took me months to plan a long traverse across the Himalaya. With this new digital map, you have all the information in a single place.” …

Everything is open sourced, so can be accessed with any Open Street Maps viewer or mobile app (for free). Other hikers can add information to it and help the resource grow. …

ExplorersWeb

Andrew Skurka interview

Andrew Skurka is without question one of the most accomplished hikers in history.  A legend.

  • Alaska-Yukon Expedition (6 months, 4,700 miles),
  • Great Western Loop (7 months, 6,875 miles), and the
  • Sea-to-Sea Route (11 months, 7,775 miles).

He’s run a 2:28 marathon, as well.

The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools & Tips to Hit the Trail, was published by National Geographic – over 125,000 copies sold.

Today he and his team lead people to exciting destinations, teaching skills along the way: planning, gear, fitness, food, navigation, responding to emergencies, etc.

In a recent podcast interview Andrew explains why he still prefers map and compass, using electronics as a back-up.  And you have to believe him since it was sponsored by the Gaia GPS app.

Click PLAY or listen to it clicking through via Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climbing Mt Arrowsmith, Vancouver Island

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles. 

Mount Arrowsmith 1,819 m (5,968 ft) is the most prominent peak seen from my parents home in Vancouver Island.

It’s close to Port Alberni, B.C.

Alanna@VanIsle – Arrowsmith from Parksville in winter

The most popular hike to the top is called Judges Route.  Details.

  • 6-7 km (4 miles) roundtrip
  • elevation gain 1,000m (3,280ft)

Finding the trailhead can be confusing. Google Maps has it wrong, for example.

I used the free Maps.me app — that worked.

Maps.me

It’s 4-6 hours return.  Challenging.  Some exposure. A bit of scrambling.  Some route finding.  I was briefly lost 3 times.

There are some views on the way up.

On June 25th, 2020 I didn’t have much snow.

The summit is interesting.

From the top you can see from Port Alberni to Mt. Baker in Washington State.

I was inspired to try one of my rare panoramas.

Click for larger version.

Great day.

Starting up at 4pm I was last hiker on the mountain.

What time is blast off? 😀

 

 

 

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