Going at an easy stroll with plenty of stops to snap photos, the round trip from airport to lake is approximately 2.5 hours. An energetic individual who doesn’t have to constantly backtrack after an errant canine companion could easily do the walk in under two hours.
Flying into Powell River airport (CYPW) from the east gives you a great view of the power-line trail leading to, and away from, Hammil Lake, as well as the lake itself (the airport is just off to the left, at your 10:00 o’clock position).
Views of Right Downwind 09 and Final 09:
After landing, head out to Duncan Street (the main road in front of the airport), turn right, and follow Duncan Street east for about 10 minutes, until you reach a 90 degree bend in the road where the street changes names to Claridge Road. You’ll see a small-ish sign that says Myrtle Creek, delineating the start of the path right on the east side of the road’s bend.
The trail is marvelously verdant and a-flutter with wildlife (read: overgrown in parts and very marshy). Wear old shoes or sturdy hiking boots! We’ve flown here and walked the trail in winter, when the marsh is a fairy-land of icicles, snow, and puddles frozen into magical whorls. In spring, it is lush and alive with birdsong and the slither of grass snakes, and tadpoles swarm the puddles while butterflies flit about the masses of gorse and wildflowers.
To quote one of the signs on the narrow path: “The Myrtle Creek wetlands is one of the most genetically diverse salmon bearing streams on the Sunshine Coast. It has never been enhanced with stock from other streams. Wild coho, chum, lamprey eels, sculpins and cut throat trout call Myrtle their home.”
At one point, one must cross a slap-dash concoction of a bridge which, over the years, has undergone various mutations according to what new bits have been added to it after the winter ravages. It’s all delightfully rustic.
The trail pops out briefly on McLeod Road, and continues through puddles and greenery directly east across the road. It follows the power lines, eventually widening out and becoming a sun-drenched gravel road (suitable only on foot, or for the most hardy 4×4 or anyone willing to risk the car’s entire undercarriage).
After briefly crossing another road and continuing along the power-lines, you reach Hammil Lake. The view is wonderfully serene, and the fresh water is appreciated in a full-bodied manner by any canine co-pilot one is traveling with. Hardy locals swim here, too, in the summer; unfortunately, they also leave the occasional beer can lying about. All in all, it is a splendid ramble with a negligible elevation gain, and the reward of dipping one’s toes in the bracing water is well worth it.
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Powell River Airport (CYPW) details:
Paved runway, 3621 feet long, 150 wide. Avgas available. Mandatory frequency 123.00