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Phillips Watershed Traverse
Timestamp Free: 2020.09.25 - 03:42:01
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Insular Mountains / Vancouver Island Ranges
  (7 days)     Elevation Gain: 6350m
Participants: Johanna Becker, Lujia Liu
Difficulty: 3: Routefinding, Class 3 Scrambling, Bushwacking (Vancouver Island grade bush)
Clockwise summer traverse of the Phillips Watershed in Strathcona Provincial Park, start and end at Arnica Lake trailhead. Incl. Phillips Ridge, Carter to Schjelderup Lake, and Marble Meadows trails.
[photo]PhillipsRidge.jpg[caption]View on Phillips Ridge[/photo]

Here is a trip report from our Phillips Watershed Traverse in Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island from August 1st - 7th 2020. We mainly followed the ridge except for a sidetrip to Carter and Schjelderup Lakes.

Day 1 - Trail Head @ Myra Falls Mine to Arnica Lake
We started hiking at around noon. From the trailhead north of the Myra Falls mine an easy, well worn trail switchbacks through the forest to Arnica Lake. Once arrived at the lake we took a refreshing dip. We set up camp on one of the three tent platforms at the north side of Arnica Lake and were surprised to be the only people at the campsite that night. There is a pit toilet (throne) west of the tent platforms but no bear cache (as opposed to the park info).

Day 2 - Arnica Lake to Schjelderup Lake
The trail from Arnica Lake is well used and quickly reaches Phillips Ridge which offers amazing views into the watershed (north) and towards Mt Myra (south). We met several groups of people coming back from Schjelderup/Golden Hinde. There are some tarns along the way, but we would not recommend relying on them for drinking water. Further along the ridge crest some minor routefinding is required. In one instance we saw a large cairn in front of a north-facing cliff, and backtracked a little bit to find a route leaving the ridge to the west. The cloudy weather turned into a drizzle. On the way we saw 3 ptarmigans, then descended down an easy gully into a col full of snow. Climbing up and down over several bumps, we reached Carter col. From here, a very steep root staircase leads down into the valley. [photo]RootStairCase.jpg[caption]The root staircase[/photo] This trail is flagged and worn. With the dense bush along the track...

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