Mount Tzouhalem

Mount Tzouhalem is the 1,500-foot bluff directly west of Genoa Bay. We’ve eyed it every time we’ve anchored in the bay, but this year, we finally climbed it. We’d arrived on a cold, crisp winter day, after a recent snowfall. The weather was cold enough to freeze the surface water around the marina.

 

 

 

 

 

Partway up, icicles had formed on an unusually large boulder.

 

 

 

 

From the top, we could see across Samsun Narrows to Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island, south into Genoa Bay and towards Saanich Peninsula and westward into the Cowichan River valley. Wow.

 

 


 

 

 

   

On the way back down, we stopped at Skinner Bluff. The views were almost as good as from the top.

 

 

   

 

 

 

Entry, anchoring and other notes:

 

The rough trail map below is drawn from memory. The solid line is the main route to the top. The trail is rather steep, and has occasional blazes marking the route. We were following footsteps in the snow, so we’re not sure how hard the trail is to follow otherwise.

We learned about the trail from British Columbia’s Gulf Islands: Afoot & Afloat  (the Afoot and Afloat books are excellent on-board references). The unmarked trailhead is between a utility box and a private property fence, where Genoa Bay Road bends around to follow the waterline and intersects with Saltspring Road. Follow the fence around the private property, first west and then southwest towards Skinner Point. (We saw blazes in the trees west of the fence corner, but didn’t investigate.)

Where the dashed line starts is a fork in the trail with a sign pointing left to Cowichan Bay and right to the hill top. We took the hilltop route. Another fork led to Skinner Bluff to the right and the hilltop to the left. We again took the hilltop route. On the return, the footsteps we were following took the dotted line shortcut route to  Skinner Bluff. We’re not sure if this was a trail, but the going was relatively easy and open. We returned from Skinner Bluff on solid line that met the regular trail at the second fork. The hike to Skinner Bluff is easier and less steep than going all the way to the top, and the views are still impressive.

 


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