Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Unfinished business - Green Mountain

The non view half way up Green Mountain

How we pick our destinations for adventure I’ll never know.  This one could have very well been decided by throwing a dart at the map; in fact I still believe that is exactly what Joel did while I was sleeping.  How else do you explain going to bed without a spot picked out to explore and awake with Green Mountain as the winner? Looking at the Vancouver Island Backroad Mapbook (5th edition), Green Mountain indicates hiking, skiing, logging road access and an old ski lodge.  Fair enough, obviously there is plenty of outdoor adventure just waiting to be had.

 I consider this adventure unfinished business for five reasons. 

  1. Next time we need to start earlier.  We left home at 10:30am but failed to take into account the 5pm gate closure deadline Timber West enforces.  Having that time limit constantly whispering in the back of your head kind of takes the fun out of being spontaneous. 
  2. The grey overcast sky made for crappy photography.  Not much to see and not great light to shoot with.  I’ve seen some pictures online of what the area looks like on a clear day and it looks amazing.  How could it not when Green Mountain towers 1465m above a mix of alpine and sub alpine zones with open meadows, coniferous forest, steep ravines and rocky outcroppings.  As the famous quote goes…”I’ll be back!”
  3. Note to self: save some Google map shots to the cell phone. (no cell coverage here)  Sure we had the backroad map but not all logging roads were shown.  Had I been able to browse Google maps we may have had a better idea of exactly where we were.  Not saying we were lost but we could have driven further than we did and hiked more trail rather than logging road.
  4. Ah yes, the drive.  Another note to self.  If there are switchbacks on the map, it’s going to be steep.  That combined with driving across a partially washed out section had my heart racing a little too fast. 
  5. The last reason this adventure was unfinished business is because we never hiked the trail we wanted to, the trail leading to the old ski lodge.  We did find a trail that I have yet to find any info on; Sno-bird Trail.  I assume this trail leads to Sno-bird Lake.  Must explore the area further!
The day was not all lost, no adventure is.  Ben and Liv still managed to enjoy themselves by throwing the world’s smallest snowballs in between climbing rocks.  Hiking on the Sno-bird trail turned out to be a scavenger hunt of sorts.  Orange flagging tape marks the route and without it there is no way to tell where the trail was.  We kept on moving forward to the next one, taking turns finding the orange clue.  It gave us an opportunity to discuss with the children how markings can guide one’s self through the forest and distinguish the difference between flagging colors and size.  We eventually lost the flagging tape in a clearing but that was as far as we were making it.  It was time for lunch before heading back and beat the 5pm deadline.  I am looking forward to our next trip to Green Mountain.  It is an area that holds some interesting history with regards to the old ski lodge.  I’ll explain further when we actually make it to the site.  Green Mountain is also a wildlife management area and contains vital habitat for the critically endangered Vancouver Island Marmot. (As of 2008, there were believed to be only 85 to 100 of this marmot species left in the wild, all of them on Vancouver Island). The Green Mountain area also provides habitat for Roosevelt Elk, Mule Deer, Black Bear, and Wolf.

Where we were
Green Mountain is located west of Second Lake on Nanaimo River Road.  Access in this area can be restricted with forestry gates closed.  After Second Lake, turn left on Branch K and left again on K15.  From here, check your map.  I know, big help. 


  1. Navigation is indeed a little difficult on the Sno-bird trail but if you get through it it leads to some very nice open meadows on the mountain. Here is a link to some further info on Green Mountain including a link to a gps track for driving up to the top where there is some lovely hiking.

  2. sorry, forgot the link: http://lornecollicutt.com/blog/?p=417