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Century Sam journey under the glacier · Saturday, June 10th, 2023
Warning: This is an old trip - it already happened
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Start: Saturday, Jun. 10th, 4:30 am
End: Saturday, Jun. 10th, 11:00 pm
We'll be taking the first ferry Saturday morning, and heading up Vancouver Island to Cumberland, where we'll head up some logging roads to get to the Century Sam trailhead. The hike in is 3 or 4 km of not particularly noteworthy coastal forest, until you get to Century Sam Lake itself. The lake and mountains around are stunning,
A few hundred meters past the lake, there's an snow patch at a stunningly low elevation. It's formed by snow avalanching off Comox Glacier in the winter. The meltwater coming off of Comox Glacier flows through a tunnel under the glacier. The bottom of the tunnel is massive, but top isn't more than 10 feet high.
This glorious trip will take us through the tunnel and then up onto the glacier and then we'd slither down the glacier to the bottom again. People that want to get June turns in can totally bring skis, but that's totally not required.
Note that inside the tunnel, it's 0 degrees, wet, totally dark and windy. Even if the air is still outside, the dense, cold air in the tunnel flows downhill quickly. Headlamps, rubber boots and waterproof stuff are needed even if it's a warm day otherwise.
I've got the last ferry back in the evening booked. I think this is the right call because we don't want to miss the ferry. Probably we'll be back "early" and that's okay. There's Miracle Beach not far away, and it'll be low tide in the evening. At high tide, Miracle Beach isn't distinct from any others, but at low tide a vast sandy beach opens up. There are large tide pools that are filled with tiny flatfish, there are crabs all over, and a hundred billion live sand dollars. There's plenty to look at until it's time to catch the ferry.
Ferry reservations are hard to get without advanced warning, and no driver wants to end up getting reservations and then ending up with no passengers. Because of the ferry logistics, please try to sign up early if you're going.
I've been struggling to get photos to display properly, but here's a photo gallery of not the best pictures, but you get the idea.