Forbidden Plateau Traverse 11-13 July 2023

A lovely group of ACCVI women hiked along the Forbidden Plateau from 11-13 July 2023. This was planned as an all-women-beginner-friendly trip ( but there was a wide range of experience with hiking and mountaineering in our group. We were joined by two of ACCVI’s Executive Committee members for the first few hours of our traverse: Christine Fordham, who is our Alpine Club of Canada National Representative, and Barb Baker, who works tirelessly on gaining public access to public places on Vancouver Island.

The Forbidden Plateau has a rich diversity of landscapes and biodiversity. We explored Murray Meadows, old-growth forests, and many alpine lakes, including Croteau (Slayer) and Kwai (Naked Ladies) Lakes. We encountered grazing deer, busy beavers, relentless mosquitos, and thieving whiskey jacks, and we heard about a relatively close encounter with a black bear. We also enjoyed the diversity of colourful flowers, including columbines, queen’s cups, and my all-time favourite – the Columbia tiger lilies.

By coincidence, Amy Tunstall, who was hiking the Vancouver Island Trail, set her tent up next to ours at Mackenzie Lake on the second night of our traverse. The next day we peppered her with many questions about the trail, not least because one of us is planning to hike it next summer!

Participants included Janelle Curtis, Jessica Moretti, Jessica Koski, and Michelle Steel

Group photo time! From left to right: Jessica, Barb, Jessica, Janelle, and Michelle. (Photo by Christine Fordham)

A quick break at Battleship Lake with Christine, Barb, and Michelle.

A quick break at Battleship Lake with Jessica and Jessica.

A quiet evening at Kwai Lake near their overflow camping area.

The signage helped us find our way many times!

I am guessing most who have hiked the Forbidden Plateau Traverse have a photo taken in this exact spot, including Jessica, Jessica, and Michelle now!

Jessica and Michelle exploring the mosquito-friendly landscape.

Michelle writing in her journal at Mackenzie Lake.

Camp on Day 2 at Mackenzie Lake.

Morning mist panorama at Mackenzie Lake.

Amy and Jessica happily chatting about the Vancouver Island Trail.