Continued from Part 1…..

Gold River and Upana Caves.

After Strathcona, we hit the road to gold river, the Hwy 28 cuts through the middle of Strathcona park and you are not short of some incredible views driving through it really is one of my favorite places in Vancouver Island.

Upana Caves

Shortly we hit Gold River a small town where you can stock up on gas, supplies, Wi-Fi and beer. After doing just that, we continued on towards Tahsis to stop off at the Upana Caves, if you are in the area, these are definitely worth a visit. They are easy to access and don’t require skills to have a rummage around in them, obviously make sure you have someone with you and wear the necessary protective gear.

The caves range from large and easy to get through, to some more challenging and tighter squeezes. There are maps at the site to help guide you through the Caves but remember to know your own limits if you are going to go in.

Woss Lake

From here we drove down the road to Tahsis, it is a continual mixture of gravel road and bits of paved road thrown in, it is quite an active road for industrial vehicles, so please watch you speed and respect larger vehicles.

Tahsis is a small community – from here you have access to a number of other caving sites for the more experienced.

You can also access the trail head that leads into Woss lake provincial park from here.

We then turned around and headed back towards gold river, but instead of taking the right-hand road at the junction we continued on towards Muchalat Lake, there are sign posts along this road and we followed the signs for Woss.

I had planned to check out a campground along the way and then overnight at Woss Lake Campground.

We pulled into Vernon Lake Rec site around 17:30 and as soon as we got out the car at one of the sites, Maverick our border collie, ran and jumped straight in the lake, so we allowed him to make the final call and decided to pitch up at Vernon Lake instead for night.

Vernon Lake Recreation Site: Is very rustic, with pretty dilapidated pit toilets and little shade on the campgrounds, but it does have about 15 lake fronted spots with little mini-private beaches, fire-rings and gorgeous views. So overall, I actually quite liked it.

 

The next morning, because I was freezing and Roxy was awake at 5:00- we were on the road by 6:30 and heading to Woss Lake, we decided to take a drive down the lake and up one of the side logging roads to a spectacular view across the Lake with a great spot for camping. Awesome hidden find – let us know if you fancy the coordinates.

 

From here we walked along an old logging road to the border of Woss Lake Provincial Park, along the way we found some fairly recent bear scat but despite scouting around, no sign of the wee little things.

Woss Lake Campground: Is again, very rustic like Vernon Lake, but has a lot more shade, I would say it’s probably the better spot over Vernon Lake if you are looking for a place to stay for the night.

Schoen Lake Provincial park

Our last stop along this little trip was Schoen Lake Provincial park

Schoen Lake is located off the Hwy 19, from Woss Lake you follow the signs for the Hwy and turn right onto it, back towards Campbell River.

Shortly you turn right off the Hwy 19 again and follow the signs for Cain Ski Hill and Schoen Lake, the road will eventually fork with Cain Ski to the left and Schoen Lake Provincial Park to the right.

The campground is well kept and there are a number of sites located on the water front, there is a beautiful beach and swimming area. If you wanted to do some trail hikes though, you would probably need to drive to one of the trailheads located on the other side of the park. But overall definitely worth a visit.

If you need any advise on road conditions or journey times – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

As the camping season gears up, I think its important to remind everyone to follow the ‘Leave No Trace’ camping rules.

I was out near Woss Lake Provincial Park the other month on one of the trails quite far from anywhere and came across an old campfire, whereby someone had thrown their beer cans into it and then left them. Please don’t be that type of camper 🙂

“Leave No Trace” Camping Ethics

  • Leave No Trace of your visit to by incorporating these ideas and practices into your wilderness experience. They are especially important when camping in wilderness and alpine areas to protect the natural environment.
  • Clean your camp when you leave. In wilderness areas, spread use and avoid places where impact is just beginning. Pay particular attention to what you do in and around your campsite; you are camping in and amongst sensitive plants such as heather meadows. These are among the most fragile ecosystems because of the severe conditions and the short growing season. What may seem like a harmless activity can cause long-term damage.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly: Pack out all trash and food waste left over from cooking. Bury human waste at least 20cm deep and 70m from any water source or wetland. Mix in dirt and cover to disguise the hole. Human waste that cannot be buried in solid ground must be carried out.
  • Pack out all toilet paper — do not burn it. Urinate on the soil surface, away from vegetation and water.
  • Waste water from cooking and washing: Use hot water and elbow grease, not soap. Remove all food particles by straining cooking and wash water before disposing of it using a broadcasting method. Pack the particles out with leftover food. Avoid contaminating water supplies by not washing directly in the water. Soap is not necessary. Rinse off at least 70m from any water source. Minimize tooth brushing impact by using salt or baking soda instead of toothpaste.
  • Leave What You Find: Avoid site alterations. Leave all sites as you found them. Do not dig trenches, level sites, or construct tables or chairs. Avoid damaging live trees and plants. Never hammer nails into trees or girdle trunks with tent lines. Leave natural objects and cultural artifacts. All natural and cultural resources such as rocks, antlers, or fossils, pot shards, and projectile points, must be left undisturbed. It is illegal to disturb or collect these resources.
  • Respect Wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow, approach, or feed them. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely. Avoid wildlife areas during sensitive times.
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors.

Save and considerate camping guys.