October was a quiet month, hike-wise. I’d been in Hawaii for the first couple of weeks, working on SCUBA-2 software. Add to that the welcome chance to actually not do some hiking and time was running out for October’s lake. Maria was resting so it was me, Andrew and Merewyn again.
After some quick discussion, we decided on Hayward Lake, actually a BC Hydro reservoir and dammed at both ends. The forecast was for rain and the hike was easy so we figured it would be a good option. We parked up at the upper parking lot on the Reservoir Trail and set off in light drizzle, heading south along the east side of the lake.
First stop was the gorgeous Steelhead Falls a lovely little waterfall on the unassuming Steelhead Creek. Crossing it further up you’d never know there was such a nice waterfall. Of course it helped that it had been raining almost continuously for the last few days…
The trail ambled along, our attention constantly drawn to all things autumnal in the forest. Big leaf maple leaves everywhere, fungi of all shapes and sizes, bright yellow maple leaves still on the trees. And the smell of it all. To top it all, we were surrounded by lush green. It all made for a really lovely wander. It was only as we were wondering about whether we’d missed a turnoff that we began to realize how long the hike actually was. We’d seen the 17 km distance and thought Pfft, child’s play. Well, it still takes 5+ hours to hike that distance! Especially as none of us was in a hurry.
As we neared the south end of the lake we noticed that the sky was brighter and, yes, there was even some blue sky! So much for a rainy day. We crossed the lower dam looking over the Stave River, and picked up the Railway Trail on the west side of the lake. It didn’t take us long to wish we’d just gone back the way we came, as the wide trail was hard-packed gravel: hard on the feet and boring. I guess we should have known from reading the hike book and from its name (an old railway line – duh!). We picked up our pace a little, but we were in search of a lunch/swimming spot. We found a suitable place where the trail turned a corner near some old trestles and sat down to enjoy our lunch in the bright autumn sunshine.
Time to bag that lake. I had to juggle three cameras (I made them go in twice just so I could get the coverage). Andrew lost his flip flops as he ran in. One floated beside him in the lake, the other was nowhere to be seen. Then I noticed his footsteps in the soft sand/mud and saw his other flip flop embedded in it. Duly retrieved and washed.
We continued on along the Railway Trail, pausing here and there for more fungi photos. And stick figures in peril. Ever since we’d crossed the dam we had encountered a multitude of signs highlighting the possible dangers associated with this hike. Like falling from the trestles, or getting sucked into the dam, or encountering a steep drop off in the lake etc, etc. We were amazed that someone had gone to the trouble of deciding that they needed unique signs for each hazard! It certainly kept us amused.
After what seemed like an age we reached the western car park and headed up the hill to cross the Stave Falls dam. More road walking, then some book consulting as we tried to work out where to go next. Still more road-walking to cross the Blind Slough dam (complete with new stick figures in peril) before we picked up the trail again through the trees to take us back to the car.
Overall a nice day out, especially the first stretch through the forest, and October’s lake was bagged with 10 hours to spare.
Elevation gain: about 100 m
Distance: 17 km