Date: Jul 21, 2012
Distance done: 9.0Km
Elevation done: 420m
The highest point on Pender Island(s) - an easy, if stiff, climb to its 240-metre summit. This hike is a must-do if you're on Pender. But if you do it the way we did, then you climb it twice - don't bother. Start at the Ainslie Point Road trailhead for a 6.5-km trip with a bit over 320 m estimated elevation gain.
The trail is easy to follow and in good condition. Heading down to the Beaumont marine campground requires a little care in a few places due to the loose surface but nothing really to worry about.
Views from the summit platform are superb, taking in some of the southern Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island and as far as the Olympics.
Our route started at the Canal Road (southern) trailhead, from which it's an easy 25-minute climb to the summit. The grade is consistent but I think would feel quite steep for novice hikers. We took in the views from the top before descending towards the northern trailhead. A few hundred metres short of that trailhead, we took the trail up and then down to Beaumont marine campground. this part of the trail is wonderful passing through open arbutus and Douglas fir forest (which at this time of year is full of Indian Pipe), following the coastline on rocky bluffs before descending gradually through salal and a cedar grove to the campground. The campground is in a superb location, just off a pair of beaches, one of which is the remains of a white-shell midden. A great place to kayak to. In retrospect I realize I didn't check for water sources so it might be somewhere you have to bring in all the water you'll need. Then it was a case of climb back up to the main trail and re-ascend Mt Norman.