Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Testing the Rudy Project “Rydon” Sunglasses

By Keith and Heather Nicol
   I am always on the lookout for good quality outdoor gear that is easy to use and built to last. In the past I have had many sunglasses which broke after a few lens changes, that were too tight on the temples or slipped of my nose when I was working up a sweat.  So when I discovered that Rudy Project sunglasses were very adjustable and had a clever way of changing lenses I was more than ready to test them out.

Rudy's dark lenses come out in the sunny weather
 I have been using Rudy’s Rydon sunglasses for several months and so have had a chance to use them in the winter cross country skiing as well as biking in the summer.  My first impressions are that they do everything they say and then some. First of all, they are have many adjustments to fit every face. I find the flexible temple arms particularly useful since they can adjusted to fit under bike helmets and over ski toques. But you can also adjust the nose bridge and changing lenses couldn’t be easier. Just snap one lens out and put in another better suited to the weather.  I found this very handy when skiing at Mt Washington on Vancouver Island since you can have foggy conditions in the morning give way to blue bird skies in the afternoon. So the orange lenses would go on when we arrived and the dark lenses would be put on at lunch as the skies cleared.  You can also get a variety of other colour lenses which I am keen to try out. 
Rudy's orange lenses were ideal in foggy or cloudy conditions
 Overall after 4 months of testing I can give these glasses great marks-they are my go to glasses for just about all situations.   I will do another review in a year when I have had a chance to see how well they last. Rudy Project is an Italian Company which also sells bike helmets and goggles.  For more information on Rudy Project see: http://www.rudyproject.com

Monday, 18 June 2018

The "Pub to Pub" walk is one of our "fav" coastal walks near Courtenay, BC

by Keith and Heather Nicol
 On June 15 we decided to show our son Michael who was visiting from Vancouver the so called “Pub to Pub” trail which starts along the Oyster River, roughly half way between Courtenay and Campbell River on the east coast of Vancouver Island. We love this trail since it is a scenic trail with both river and ocean/beach views. Since the trail is just 3.5 km (1 way) it is suited to a variety of options. If you have young children or walkers that would find 7 km too long a hike, you could park a car at each end and just make the 1 way trip. 
The trail starts off in the tall trees

To get there from Courtenay drive north on Highway 19A and keep an eye out for the Oyster River bridge since you want to turn right on the next road (Glenmore Road).  Then travel one roughly 1 block and then turn left on Regent and look for a parking lot with a sign Oyster River Nature Park. The parking lot coordinates are 49. 52.232 N and 125 07.616 W. Then follow the FerTo get there from Courtenay drive north on Highway 19A and keep an eye out for the Oyster River bridge since you want to turn right on the next road (Glenmore Road).  Then travel one roughly 1 block and then turn left on Regent and look for a parking lot with a sign Oyster River Nature Park. The parking lot coordinates are 49. 52.232 N and 125 07.616 W. Then follow the Ferguson Trail which is well signed and easy to walk on. After about 1 km you reach the ocean and from there you follow the Jack Hames Trail to Salmon Point. 

There is lots of coastal scenes to photograph
 From there the trail winds along the upper part of the beach and through the trees giving fine views of Georgia Strait and mountains beyond. There are even some picnic tables along the way for anyone wanting a scenic place to have lunch. Sometimes the trail separates into 2 trails and there seemed to be some new cedar shavings placed down on parts of the trail. After about 1 hour we came out to Salmon Point Resort RV Park and Restaurant and the trail’s end.  We fully recommend this trail since it offers scenic ocean views and can be walked by a wide variety of people. Check it out on your next trip to this area. 
Heather and Michael at the 1/2 point of the trail

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Mountain biking around Puntledge River in Courtenay provides scenic river views

by Keith and Heather Nicol
     For anyone looking for a perfect mountain bike tour in the Comox Valley you couldn’t do much better than the loop around the Puntledge River, just west of Courtenay.  It is suited to a wide range of riders from kids to seniors and involves trails that are generally smooth with few hills or tricky descents. You could do this loop from a variety of starting points and in the past we have ridden this loop right from Courtenay but in this case we started from the Duncan Bay Main road near Stoten Falls. Fellow biker Norm Reynolds initially showed me this trail but on this day our son Michael who was visiting from Vancouver was keen to see it so he accompanied me. We parked 49 40.842 N 125 03.342 W and we followed the gravel road next to the pipeline. 
Michael along the first part of the trail
 You need to duck your bike past some gates in a couple of places but otherwise you can stay on your bike for just about the entire ride. Part way along the route jogs to the left off the gravel road and the trail from here follows the river and becomes more interesting as it winds around through the tall trees. There are short bridges across small streams and then it arrives at the bridge which crosses the Puntledge River at Comox Lake. 
The trail is well maintained with bridges and boardwalk in places
Just after the bridge look for a small trail which cuts right off the gravel road and this leads to a nice park with picnic tables. Again follow the trail next to the river and you are in for a nice winding flowing trail all the way to Nymph Falls Park. Once at the park we headed to the Forbidden Plateau paved road and followed it back to Duncan Bay Main road where our car was parked. Over all the distance according to our GPS was about 18 km and it took us about 90 minutes with a few stops for pictures. This makes this scenic loop an ideal morning or afternoon bike trip. The trail does have a few choices but if take the trail along the river you should be fine. 
Michael takes a picture at Barbours Hole on the Puntledge River


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Hiking along the Comox Bluffs

   by Keith and Heather Nicol
     On Monday June 11, we joined Norm Reynolds for a hike into the Comox Bluffs area near Courtenay, B.C. Norm has been into this area many times but his last visit was several years ago so he was keen to re-check this place out. The Comox Bluffs are along the north side of Comox Lake and we have paddled our sea kayaks along this shore so we had seen this area from the water’s edge.  We knew that it was a south facing area with open moss covered rocks and lots of plants that like dry, rocky conditions. Trees like arbutus are common along this area where as they are pretty rare in the rain forest environment of the Comox Valley. We parked at the edge of the road at 49 38.544 N 125 05.882 W after crossing the bridge where the Puntledge River drains out of Comox Lake. 
The Bluffs offer fine vistas of Comox Lake and have open rocky areas featuring arbutus trees
  We immediately found a trail right in front of the car so Norm said “lets take this one” and we were off. It was soon apparent that there are a maze of trails in this area which are used by both hikers and mountain bikers and it is a challenge knowing which fork to take. Norm’s philosophy was “if it keeps climbing up we will take it” and after about 1.5 km we had reached our first bluff which showed views of Comox Lake. We continued on along a trail that crossed other rocky outcrops when we came across an access road just below us. This route – Boston Main- led down to the main road which on this day had active logging trucks running on it. 

Keith looking down toward Comox Lake
 From there we walked up the road to access the Tomato Creek trail which is on the lake side of the road. The coordinates for the start of this trail are 49 38.294 N 125 07.668 W. This trail has numerous spectacular views of the lake and had the clouds not built up we could have seen the Comox Glacier. We also entered an ecological reserve along this trail and we came across a sign showing some of the unusual plants associated with this scenic area. The Tomato Creek trail also has numerous forks but we figured most went back to the parking area and after 2 hours we had covered about 7.5 km which included time for lots of pictures and side trips to lookouts.  The Comox Bluffs are well worth checking out  but it helps to go with someone who has been in there before so you don’t get twisted around on all the trails. If you head out on your own a GPS with a tracking function wouldn’t go astray.  We will certainly be back to explore this area again. 
Norm checking out a sign showing some of the unusual plants in this area