Mt Joan Curran Squarehead Loop
Distance - 11.5km
Time: 5 hrs total
Date: Nov 03 2003
Weather:Sunny & Cool
From vehicle hike a little further up the road and look for a small sign which points North up another road. Take a right here and walk up this road to it's end to pick up a worn trail 1000m which is marked by pink flagging tape. It was a pleasant hike from here as the trail gently winds Mt Curran's south east ridge ending at a small tarn. This is where you have the choice of hiking over to Mt Curran or by-passing it by heading left "south/west" Mt. Squarehead/Joan. It is a nice easy return hike over alpine meadows to Mt Curran's summit and gives good views of Mt Apps and the northern section of the Beaufort Range. Once back at the small tarn the trail heads down for a bit and cuts across a narrow ridge and follows just below an exposed rock outcrop. Past that the trail gets a little bushy and the flagging was confusing with all the different colours going off in different directions. When getting close to topping Mt Squarehead there is a short steep section to navigate over and then it was open alpine to the summit. In good weather you can easily see the radio repeater on Mt Joan's summit and the hike from Squarehead for the most part is bush free except for one bushy section when you drop of Mt Squarehead's summit buttress. Descending Squarehead the trail is somewhat hard to find so I found staying on the left side of the buttress I was able to pick it up. The descent is just under 200m and once at the bottom it is a gentle hike over alpine meadows all the way over to Mt Joan. I've never done this hike in July but I'm sure this section would host a large variety of alpine flowers. The descent of Mt Joan is fairly basic but some care and attention should be giving as one could get confused in the rock bluffs below. The way down I preferred was to back track over two small humps and then drop down under the large rock band below Squarehead and head due east towards a tarn marked on the map. Hop over the outlet stream and pick up a worn trail on the other side which leads down to the abandoned road system. Once on the road it is roughly a 3km walk back to the vehicle.
Starting from the Port Alberni Info Center drive east towards Quailcum. Turn left and drive north on the inland Island Hwy. until the Traffic Lights at Cook Creek. Turn left and drive roughly 11km on the Bowser Forest service rd. then take a right turn just before crossing Roaring Creek. For 2 wheel drive vehicles there is a place to park a short distance up the road, if you have a good ground clearance 4x4 you will be able to drive another 2.5km up.
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