Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Howe Sound Islands

Liza and Craig on the Water Taxi from Horseshoe Bay to Anvil Island

Neil and Dave on the First Water Taxi of the Day!

The Start of the Trail up Artaban from the Bible Camp on Anvil

An Artists Sign Directing Hikers to the Peak - what a nice surprise!

Me coming through the dense forest - very humid!

Dave, Myself and Craig making our way around the peak to get to the top!

Almost there! Another sign pointing us to the Peak!

Arrived! Helicopter Pad at the Top of Leading Peak

Awesome Views!

Neil and I at the Top of Leading Peak, Anvil Island

Dave heading down.

Craig descending a nasty section.

Leading Peak - where we were!

Team Gambier now - Craig's taking the photo!

Travelling through an extensive forest of ferns on the Artaban trail.

A Reflective Moment for the Group at the Top of Artaban.

Mission Accomplished!

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay - waiting for the Water Taxi!

The Mercury XIV Arrives!

Plenty of Snow Remains on the North Shore Mountains.

A View of Anvil Island and Leading Peak - our first climb of the day.

I was a bit out of the loop with the bagging plans for the weekend but did know the big picture details of an 8 AM Water Taxi from Horseshoe Bay and that Leading Peak on Anvil Island was the destination, so I was told! I noticed Neil packing what appeared to be more than what was required for the one peak on Anvil Island. He finally confessed that we may also go to Gambier Island - that was the email/texting chat that I missed! Last year we had a very, very long day on Gambier Island (17hrs). I had flash backs to dehydration, bonking, wasp stings, puking, getting lost and of course not having enough head lamps for the heads on the trip. I barely recall the late night water taxi ride as I passed out once I was on board. Were we heading out for a repeat??

Craig, Liza, Dave, Neil and I carpooled from Craig's to Horseshoe Bay. We located the red shed where the water taxi was to pick us up. A few minutes passed 8AM and we were on board. The crossing was really calm over to Anvil Island. The hum of the water taxi and being on the water almost rocked me to sleep.

We docked at the Daybreak Point Bible Camp which was a hub of activity for that time of day! We agreed to meet the water taxi in 4 hours - same place. The smell of bacon cooking for breakfast filled the air as we walked through the camp. Lucky kids! The area was full of big black Ravens and Craig saw an Eagle fly out of a tree. I missed the eagle's take off but did hear the sound of the wings swooshing.

The trail went straight up (don't they all!) It was quite wet, rocky and slippery. Going up was fine but it did cross my mind that it could be a bit tricky coming down. It was very humid and misty after the previous nights rain. We came upon what appeared to be a false summit (or is it another Peak to be added?)- the trail continued on but with different coloured markers! Were we on the right trail we asked ourselves!? We lost quite a bit of elevation and then began to climb again quite steeply, passing through rock canyons and hugging sheer granite walls along the way. There were a couple of tricky scrambling sections near the top but nothing that couldn't be overcome with a little help from fellow baggers - a good push and a strong pull!

The clouds cleared when we reached the top to provide beautiful 360 degree views over Howe Sound and surrounding mountains. The decision was made as we were descending that we had plenty of time to carry on to Gambier Island. Once down, we were greeted and then reprimanded by a counsellor at the camp saying that we were actually required to seek prior permission to walk through the camp...oops! We hadn't done that! I kept on running to the dock, we all jumped on the water taxi and we were off to Gambier Island.

It was a short journey over to Gambier - same driver who was there waiting for us. He was quite amused with our sense of adventure! Once we arrived on Gambier we headed up the road looking for the Artaban trail head. It looked a bit more over grown from last year. We were now approaching Artaban in a reverse direction from last year. We stopped at a creek and had a splash to cool down. It took aprox 1 hour to get to the peak. There was a bit of human traffic at the top but once we left it was all quiet again to the base at Fircom Bay.

Neil called the water taxi to let him know we were down. We were told it would be 30 minutes and they were just around the point - now that was 30 minutes Gambier time. 75 minutes later a larger water taxi appears with several passengers from up the coast. It was a stunning ride back to Horseshoe Bay with awesome views of the peaks we had just climbed. We enjoyed some refreshments once back on the mainland and then went our separate ways to home. Great day out Baggers!


  1. Yes great photos Neil. And thanks for making the water taxi arrangements. Team Anvil/Gambier was a great combination of ability and attitude to make another day on the peaks spectacular! Thanks to all.