I hadn't hiked the trail to Drabble Lakes in a few years and since the drive wasn't too far I decided to head there despite the uncertainty in the weather. The approach to the parking area starts with a drive up the winding dirt road to Wood Mountain Ski Park. I find it quite amazing that people have built homes along the way up close to the proximity of the parking area. There would be a lot of quiet and solitude living in the forest but if it snows I don't know if the road gets plowed.
The chairlifts at the Wood Mountain Ski Park is long abandon and the crumbling cement structure is covered with graffiti. Fire-pits are scattered about. I heard that this area attracts party goers at times so I'm always a bit hesitant to park here.
There was no one else around when I arrived around 8 am. I followed a path which goes straight up the ski slope; a steep bush-lined gravel slope which passes by a dilapidated wooden structure. There are a few narrow paths which diverges off the main one. On my last hike here, I took one of those paths and regretted it because they are more encroached with bushes. The main path eventually swings to the right passing under the chairlift then curves left and up before leveling out on what appears to be a road. I passed by a nice tarn and remnants of the ski operation. In a couple of places there are huge pools of water which made it difficult to get by.
The most boring part of the hike was behind me when I reached the boundary of Strathcona Park and the intersection of the Mt. Becher trail and Drabble Lakes. Most people head to Mt. Becher because it give nice views of the Comox Glacier but I headed over to the lakes; clouds were moving in so I thought the mountain views would be limited. The hike to Drabble Lakes is longer but I enjoy the forest walk.
I didn't like the fact that the trail heads downhill which means an uphill hike on the way back. There are quite a few streams crossing the trail, some minor deadfalls and quite a few muddy sections. My boots started to leak inside again. I think this is the last hike with these boots; feels uncomfortable with wet feet. There are some nice but small patches of meadows along the way and several nice tarns. I enjoyed the fact that there were only a few blackflies and mosquitoes around. I also enjoyed the melody from this particular bird which appears to be common everywhere I hike.
I used a trial version of this editing program so it leaves a watermark which disappears after 1 minute.
At 6.8 km along the trail, I arrived at a junction with a signpost pointing the way to Mckenzie Lake in the Forbidden Plateau area and the path to Drabble Lakes. I followed the rock cairns and soon arrived at one of the lakes then continued up a rock bluff to the main lake where someone had constructed a firepit and with a couple of stones to sit on.
Two different photos of Drabble Lakes above. There are a conglomeration of lakes which make up Drabble Lakes but only a couple are accessible.
I filtered water, ate my lunch and relaxed. I took off my boots and socks to dry them out which was futile since the weather wasn't warm enough. It was a bit cool out but I felt comfortable enough and the lack of breeze didn't chill me. I saw clouds build up and it looked like it might rain however nothing materialized.
Heading back down the bluffs, I saw a small toad leap away. I followed it until it stopped at a steep part of the rock then I managed to photograph it. I had a wide-angle macro zoom lens on so I was able to get a close shot of it. American toads are common in Strathcona Park although seldom seen. This toad is close to a source of water but I've seen them far up the mountain in the forest where no water is present and often wondered how they survived.
On the way back to the parking area, I passed by a couple of people heading up around 1:30 pm. I find hiking in the afternoon to reach a destination is too late for me. I like an early start.
I seemed to have missed a nice tarn along the way since it was mostly hidden by bush and it was only after being more observant that I spotted it. I thought about heading into the bush to reach it but further on I saw a faint track and followed it to near the marshy shoreline.
Hiking back down the ski slope, I saw part of Comox Lake below, the ocean and part of Comox, Courtenay area but they were mostly obscured by trees. When I reached the parking area, four other vehicles were parked there.