Oyster River, BC (May 15/22) – Anxious to try out the newly converted ‘Syncro’ Hobbes (4 wheel drive), N&J packed up the van for a roadtrip to the Sunshine Coast & Vancouver Island hoping to escape to better weather… hmmmm… fat chance of that happening! One would think by the constant rainfall that the ‘Sunshine Coast’ moniker is wishful thinking, but weather records show an average 241 days of sunshine annually (slightly less than southern Vancouver Island’s +300 days; but less rainfall than Victoria)…
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The drive to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal along the ‘Sea to Sky’ highway was exciting for Jesse and his supporting cast, the road was wet & raining hard, but just getting away made for much anticipation as they waited for the BC Ferries ship destined for Langdale, BC. The sailing was calm, the seas were flat. After a drive through the town of Gibsons (home of The Beachcombers), the final destination for the day was Porpoise Bay Provincial Park north of Sechelt.
The weather seemed to have momentarily ‘run out of water’, the skies partially cleared enough to allow for a hike to the beach along Sechelt Inlet. Jesse was happy to get out of the van for a stretch & a walkabout, although he didn’t want anything to do with the lapping waves at the shore… insisting they stay clear of the water, but thoroughly enjoying checking out the park dining shelter and the many trees lining the beachfront. N&J happy to be cozy and warm in their humble abode on wheels had a relaxing first night and comfortable sleep for all (Jesse soon to be fast asleep in his upper bunk).
The road north on Hwy 101 was easy, not a lot of traffic (possibly due to the sky high fuel cost and deluge of rainy days). Stopped in Pender Harbour to check out the many vistas offered by this marine playground, waterfront homes, boats, boats & more boats!
‘Mother Nature’ had indeed ‘reloaded the clouds’ as the rain begin falling in earnest. N&J decided to bypass an overnight stop at the Klein Lake Forest Rec Site near Egmont, BC (visited last year) as a precautionary move over fears the ‘road in’ (aka goat trail) would be impassible from all the rainfall. Eventually ending up waiting for the Earl’s Cove ferry to Saltery Bay on the Powell River side. A quick ferry ride across, N&J were anxious to find an off the grid spot for the night…
The perfect remote ‘free-style’ camp was awaiting them at Lois Lake (12 kms off the highway, south-east of Powell River), where logging is still quite active resulting in following narrow up and down ‘one-way’ gravel/dirt roads into the unknown…. the ‘all-wheel drive’ aspect of Hobbes seemed to prove its worth as N&J had to traverse some rather large pot holes, creek beds & steep climbs in/out of the camp spots. J in his element defining the boundaries of the new 4×4 capabilities of Hobbes. Discovering this site on the iOverlander app, it did not disappoint. The lake setting was fantastic, a quiet overnight punctuated by logging truck activity the next morning, but not too obtrusive.
Next morning they were greeted with a bit of sunshine & N went for a quick skinny-dip in the lake (Brrrr… pics on request for a vast some of money!!), then tried her hand at some ‘fly-fishing’, the fish were nowhere to be found… so the plan was to venture onto another lake closer to Powell River… Inland Lake Provincial Park (a recommendation from ATV’ers at Lois Lake). N&J didn’t realize such a campsite existed, about 11 kms east of Powell River, quite a climb in elevation surrounded by deep forest & nearby Powell Lake (a complete canoeing circuit, the southern version of Bowron Lakes). The camp was essentially vacant except for one other camper-van and a Grizzly Bear close by. Absolutely beautiful lake, mind you the wind was cold & blowing hard which made for a tough go at fly-fishing by N…
N also tried her hand at making no-knead rye bread out of her new ‘improvised’ camp oven (2 stainless bowls clam-shelled, a thermometer, some paper clamps, and a trivet to keep the creation off the bottom)… cooked on high heat over the camp stove (or camp fire) for 25 minutes. Hmmmm… Delicious!!! 🙂
After a bit more fishing for N (and fresh hot coffee courtesy of J), a stop in Powell River for some fuel… they headed north towards Lund, BC. This little cove is a mecca for fishers & tourist alike, quaint art shops, restaurants & Nancy’s Bakery (famous for cinnamon buns!!); a myriad of boats, power & sail all jockeying for a spot on the floats (in summer they end up rafting 2-3 deep). Lund according to local lore, is the northern terminus of the world’s longest highway (Pan American), the 25,000-kilometre route along the western coasts of the Americas to its southern end in Castro, Chile.
Other than Lund, N&J have never really ventured further on the Malaspina Peninsula. Although being in this area reminded N of all her many kayaking expeditions around Lund, Desolation Sound, and the Johnstone Strait.
The drive to the east side was relatively short (10-15 minutes) ending up at Okeover Arm Provincial Park along the shoreline littered with oyster beds & ‘crystal clear’ water. Further to the north is ‘boating heaven’… Desolation Sound. The campsite was essentially closed, only 4 spots outside the closed gates were accessible but situated along the sea shore & the breath-taking view. Jesse seemed to relish his walk to the beach, his attention fixated on the spent oyster shells and sea grasses that grow all along this waterfront (mind you, the tide was out, so no ‘threatening’ wave action).
‘Nature Will Provide’, the Tla’amin First Nations for generations have been harvesting oysters from this shoreline, additionally they harvest herring eggs by floating cedar boughs in the water by which the herring spawn on the boughs and are then dried and stored for future feasts.
After a snuggly rainy night (the fiberglass roof on Hobbes tends to accentuate the ‘pitter-patter’ of the water droplets), it was southbound back to Powell River to catch the ferry over to Courtenay/Comox on Vancouver Island. A brief stop along the way at the beach community of Emmonds, quaint homes situated along the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait), beautiful flowers at the beach access was a wonderful invitation to the water’s edge.
Unbeknownst to N&J they arrived in Powell River just in time to catch the ferry to Vancouver Island, the next ferry was 5 hours later (phew!!!!)… The crossing was uneventful…. smooth seas, no wind & a gentle boat ride, Jesse liked that (he really doesn’t like boats or water for that matter).
After disembarking at Courtenay, N&J travelled north to stay overnight at Miracle Beach Provincial Park campsite. An early morning stroll on the beach as the sun peeked through the clouds, and later enjoying a hot shower with time to take stock of their current trip…. marveling at the beauty of the rain forest meeting the sea, and the Miracle of Life, this trio excited for the next leg of the journey…