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This page documents a wonderful two-day backpack Jenn and I did in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island in the summer of 2008. The route is a 'lollipop': a there-and-back approach connected to a circuit route that summits three mountains: Castlecrag, Mount Frink, and Mount Albert Edward.

Note: This backpack was part of a larger trip to Vancouver Island that Jenn and I took in August of 2008. If you'd like to read about the trip as a whole, complete with many pictures and a full narrative, please click here.
Paradise Meadows Trailhead
Jenn and I were sandwiching this backpack in between visiting friends and family on Vancouver Island and an approaching bout of bad weather. We chose this outing because it offered a combination of excellent high country and easy trailhead access and a straightforward approach.

I wasn't sure of the exact mileage, but I knew it would be fairly substantial. On the far end of the Forbidden Plateau, we could see the asymmetrical summit of Mt Albert Edward from the trailhead, and it's hazy triangular shape looked quite far away. Fortunately, the Forbidden plateau is fairly flat, and the trails relatively good. In fact, the trails near Paradise Meadows are incredibly well-maintained, with extensive (and I mean extensive) boardwalking, and wind pass some very nice subalpine meadows and lakes.
Mt Albert Edward from afar
Wide Trails
Sub-alpine meadows
We left at 3pm and pretty much power-walked for 3 hours, chewing through perhaps 12 kilometres of trail. We decided to head past Circlet Lake (the usual camping area), instead opting for a campsite next to scenic Moat Lake, nestled at the very foot of the high alpine. This gave us a little head start on the circuit portion of journey.
Boardwalks galore
To Circlet Lake...
Nice Forest Walk
Forest Boardwalking
Pondside Trail
Lake Helen Mackenzie
The hike across the Forbidden Plateau does not have a lot of elevation gain or loss. In fact, there is only one little bit past Lake Helen Mackenzie that could even be considered steep. The trail leads mainly through forest at first, though there are periodically very nice sub-alpine lakes and meadows.
Trail beyond Helen Mackenzie
Meadows and Mount Elma
A bit of steep switchbacking
Lake Helen Mackenzie
Map at Ranger Station
Forbidden Plateau Ranger Station
Hiking underneath Mt Brooks
Countless subalpine ponds
Hairtrigger Lake
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[ Introduction | Heading Up-Island | Strathcona Backpack | Gabriola Pleasantries | Gabriola Pleasantries II | Traverse of Mount Arrowsmith | In-depth: Strathcona Backpack | In-depth: Traverse of Mount Arrowsmith | GPS Data | Return to Main Page ]

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