Camping/wheeling/meetup in spring?

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Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria
Camping/wheeling/meetup in spring?

Hey everyone, I wanted to put out some feelers to see who would be interested in a long weekend get together in the spring, say maybe march, April or may? Something pretty casual, always good to meet new people and explore some new areas or show off your backwoods knowledge and lead people to new places. Drink some cold beverages around a campfire and all the tasty meat on a stick that goes along with it. Anyhow, if you have some interest in this idea or have some input, don't hesitate to get in touch!

Stocklocker's picture

Victoria

I’d be down for that.

Out4aRip's picture

Rob
Victoria

Sounds like the start of a good plan.

Beer-n-Meat's picture

Larry
Nanaimo

I like good people, cold beverages and meat on a stick...

Location is going to be determining factor.

erdelie's picture

Ed
mill bay bc

Sounds good, will keep watching this thread

zore's picture

4x4
Victoria

this could work.

theshanergy's picture
Admin

Shane
North Cowichan

I'd be in to this - what dates and location are people thinking?

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

My personal preference is camping off grid, somewhere by a river or lake ideally. I have a pretty good setup for making camp basically anywhere. Might not be so practical with a bigger group though. Something around lake cowichan might be a good option. Fairly central on the south island, several good camp sites available and close to a variety of good wheeling and adventuring. I've done some exploring around nitinat and out to Carmanah as well, but i've passed countless little side trails and many of them look pretty promising. I bet there are some people on this forum that know the area very well though, and could lead trips easily. What does everybody else think?

zore's picture

4x4
Victoria

Road to bamfield is interesting.. lots of hidden nooks and crannies.

Stocklocker's picture

Victoria

Francis Lake is a cool spot. That might work.

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Admin

Shane
North Cowichan

Yea Francis lake would be great if it's a decent sized group - off grid and lots of room for everyone to set up. We'd just need to get there first and lay claim to the whole spot as it's fairly well used.

reanne's picture

reanne
Westcoast

I work a lot of weekends but if I'm off I would love to meet some people as go on a little adventure!

Ryno's picture

Nanaimo

I'm in! Been wanting to see the Klanawa river so Francis Lake would be perfect! Might be best to skip the long weekend though, rec sites and camp grounds have been so busy during them the past few years.

aaol1's picture
Moderator

sam
Victoria

Yea that could be interesting! Francis is pretty cool, how high is the water to get in there around that time? only been in dry summer, and the creek was still running pretty good. If we do it early april or later may im down! maybe mid may? maybe weekend of may 12th or may 19th?

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Shane
North Cowichan

That's a good point about the water crossing - it might not be doable depending on how high the level is. I know it's been fairly high a couple times I've gone. Maybe someone can go a weekend earlier and scout it out.

aaol1's picture
Moderator

sam
Victoria

yea, i think i went way back like summer 2013 or 15 , july, was suprised by how much water there still was , made it fine with my then- stock tacoma, but still.

aaol1's picture
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sam
Victoria

could also do bamfield if anyone is interested? been wanting to get out there, not sure if theres group camping or big enough spots?

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

I've been wanting to go to Bamfield for years, and am actually in the early stages of planning a 2 week trip all over the island with my wife in June. Bamfield is on that list for sure.

For a trip in perhaps March or April, the only long weekend is Easter. Works for me, but maybe not for everybody. If we do a regular weekend we'd end up fairly tight for time if we're a couple hours into the bush, or only get one night out! I've been to Tuck lake a couple times and its good, but doesn't have very big camping areas. I've never been to Francis lake but it sounds pretty good from what I hear

Ryno's picture

Nanaimo

Pachena is great but fills up quick on long weekends.

zore's picture

4x4
Victoria

Been to pachena many many times.. interesting drive ... beach is awesome too..

Lancer101's picture

Lance
Ladysmith

Bamfield is on my list as well. Would like to do that...

zore's picture

4x4
Victoria

Towed my trailer there 3 times, before the axel broke. No shit.

aaol1's picture
Moderator

sam
Victoria

haha ouch that sucks! Yea im guessing theres no reservations? Would be awesome to find a private spot , but thats going to be tough if we are 5-10 vehicles. Francis could definitely work. Anybody willing to wait till early june maybe? Could head out on a saturday morning, camp overnight and head back sunday ( even if its not a long weekend) and then atleast we know water levels would be alright.Then maybe somebody local to cowichan area could possibly rip out there early and let the group know if its free or something, could have a plan B also! like one of the cowichan camp sites

anyways just ideas! :)

zore's picture

4x4
Victoria

Pachena bay is reservable, fills up quick.. francis lake looks interesting.. there at are lots of spots along the way.

RoninSwanson's picture

Camilbro
Victoria

Klanawa river is beauuuutiful. theres a couple nice spots to camp. long drive, stock friendly.

Lancer101's picture

Lance
Ladysmith

Anything come out of this discussion? Like a where or when?I'm sure there's more than a few interested...

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

How about March 24th/25th? Francis lake seems like an option, but what about a backup plan if the water makes it inaccessible?

aaol1's picture
Moderator

sam
Victoria

that could be an option. If I remember well theres alot of open space in that area near Francis lake, could always just make a big camp group site there too. see picture

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

So I think the next step is a scouting mission to see about access and water levels. I could likely go out on the weekend of Feb 24/25, anybody else want to go have a look?

zore's picture

4x4
Victoria

From the picture, as I remember, there is a short cut through the bush to francis lake which you can see from the map...so yes water level recon mission would benefit. Has anyone here taken this route ?

aaol1's picture
Moderator

sam
Victoria

ive taken the shortcut from the main road, pretty short and fun too, still end up on a water section though , but yea definitely worth a look

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

I will unfortunately be unable to go scout it out this weekend. The following Sunday, March 4th should be ok though

fx4's picture
fx4

Jonathan
shawnigan

I wouldn't go to Francis lake in the spring. I went for the july long weekend last year and there was 2.5 ft of water or more but was completely dry when I went back in August.

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

If Francis is a no-go then what about something around Nanaimo? I'm 90% sure in free next Sunday the 4th to go on a scouting run, to Francis or nearby, or if anybody ekse has some ideas?

theshanergy's picture
Admin

Shane
North Cowichan

Has anyone been out Francis way recently? I'm thinking snow might be an issue right now, plus like Jonathan said, the water could be pretty high come spring. Even if it's passable now it might not be then - it all comes down to the weather and snow melt at the time. It's still worth trying I think, just good to have a solid back up plan in place as well. Someone could scout it a week or two before the planned date just to confirm and if it's a no go then we do the backup. For backup spots something on the ocean could be cool - I don't know any specific spots off the top of my head but maybe something on the alberni inlet, or somewhere on nitnat. Anyone know a decent spot in that area?

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

What about Nitinat lake rec site as a backup? Should be pretty available and there is a lot of cool shit to go explore nearby

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

Planning to go out Sunday, likely with my homie Nate Dog to check out options in the nitinat area including Francis lake, flora lake but I think its too small, nitinat lake rec site, maybe tuck lake if the gate is open again. Any other suggestions out that way?

zore's picture

4x4
Victoria

cool. never been to nitnat yet. Always went to bamfield .. hear its windy on the lake.

aaol1's picture
Moderator

sam
Victoria

Awesome looking forward to hearing how it is out there! especially francis :)

fx4's picture
fx4

Jonathan
shawnigan

Go to the walbran valley. There are stunning boardwalks through old growth forests and emerald green rivers.

There's also a wall tent with a wood stove, running water, outdoor kitchen hut, and pit toilets.

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

Do you mean the west walbran valley with the cable car crossing? I haven't been there yet, or the former research camp. Just been to the main entrance to go hiking. Can confirm about amazing forests and waters. Its always a strange thing to me, driving through destroyed and clear cut areas to get to these pristine amazing places

fx4's picture
fx4

Jonathan
shawnigan

I'm talking about the walbran valley where there have been fairly recent protests over logging. i haven't been to the cable car but I know there is one there based on my backroads mapbook, I'm not sure what you mean by main entrance though. do you mean carmanah walbran provincial park where you drive down through nitinat?

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

Yes, that's the main entrance that I was talking about. Any more info about this? I'm heading out on Sunday to check out potential locations and snow, water, gates etc. All info is welcome

Lancer101's picture

Lance
Ladysmith

There are two entrances too the Walbran valley, there is the main entrance with the fairly big parking lot and 1 camping plus a few walk in campsites. Also pump water... Then there is what they call The Other Entrance which is where the cable car entrance and wall tent is. Both beautiful places would recommend both! I would definietly go back there.
So the plan so far is Francis lake but if no go then nitnat possibly?

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

That's the plan so far, but the entrance to the Walbran valley sounds mighty cool too. I'm not sure if I'll be able to check it all out tomorrow, but I've had the Walbran circled in my backroad mapbook for ages now...

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

So today we went out to scope out a couple of good spots in the Nitinat area including the Nitinat Lake rec site and Francis lake.

Francis lake was pretty awesome! Beautiful clear lake with an inch or so of snow still around. The trail into the camping spots on the lake was pretty fun. Mainly it was driving along the creek, overall depth was fine with only one spot where it got deeper than our axles, and it was about 2 feet deep at that final crossing. The creek bed is made up of smooth rocks about basketball size, so its a bumpy ride in but we didn't have any clearance issues with me on 33's and Nate on 31's. There was a bit of a log jam in the creek which we cleared. There's a good bit of space for tents, probably set up 6 or 7 and then loads of more rocky ground which would be fine for those sleeping in trucks or rooftop tents. A fire ring, functional floating dock (currently pulled ashore) and outhouse complete this fine little spot.

The rec site on the Nitinat Lake was also pretty good. Standard sort of campground with fire rings and picnic tables, several pit toilets and easy access by heavily potholed road. Awesome forests with huge trees and an excellent beach too. Run by BC trails and rec sites, its not open for reservations etc now but we just drove right in and checked it all out. Loads of room for dozens of people. Probably close to 40 sites and lots of room on the beach too.

We also stopped at the Nitinat Bridge Pool site, its small but very pretty and has no amenities, you could set up wherever and bring your own everything.

My vote would be for Francis lake because it's more of an adventure to get down to the lake, although I don't know much about the surrounding area yet. I'm still available for March 24th and 25th.

Who's in, and are you thinking about bringing your dogs? Mine would love some playmates

Ryno's picture

Nanaimo

24th & 25th at Francis sounds good. I'll be coming from Nanaimo. Usually fuel up, grab groceries and make a stop at Tim Hortons in Lake Cowichan when I camp out that way. After that I'm thnking about going straight to Carmanah for a hike then a few other stops after on the way to Francis. Next day I want to take a drive down the Klanawa to explore, maybe head up the roads closer to the coast to Pachena, never done it that way.

aaol1's picture
Moderator

sam
Victoria

ah man that sounds great, thank you for going there and checking it out! sounds like its going to be a blast. Unfortunately those dates dont work for me ( 24th does but not 25th, have some in the morning) . All the best though, post some pics!

Lancer101's picture

Lance
Ladysmith

I think me and my dog should be able to make it out! Got a map or anything thou?

theshanergy's picture
Admin

Shane
North Cowichan

24 and 25th work for us - we'll have our dog as well. Getting to francis is pretty straight forward and it's on google maps for anyone that isn't sure where it is. We'll be heading in through Cowichan and could meet there to convoy out with whoever else is coming.

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

Its confrmed, the wife and dog are coming too! We'll be heading up early on the 24th. Maybe we can do a bit of Sunday wheeling on the way home?

Lancer101's picture

Lance
Ladysmith

Looks like I'm gonna be working but I'll still try and make it out for a night or go to Bamfield. Hopefully both but well see

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

We'll be coming up from Victoria on Saturday morning. Would be happy to meet up in Duncan or something to join a convoy. In theory i'd like to leave my house nice and early for the trip but with wife and dog sometimes its a bit slower to get things moving.

I imagine some people will be waiting to make the call to go or not closer to the date, but hopefully we can get a good group around the fire on Saturday night. Any new members looking for an easy adventure?

reanne's picture

reanne
Westcoast

Sounds fun! Sadly I work the morning of the 25th so my dog and I are out but hopefully another time! Also I am not entirely sure my truck could make it as I think my tires are only 30s and probably aren't getting an upgrade until these are dead and I can afford to lift or at least level it :D

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

Too bad you can't make it this time! I would expect nearly any 4wd truck would get into Francis lake alright if you go slow and careful, at least at the water levels we were dealing with when we scoped it out. I would recommend your spotter wear some good gumboots so they can stand right in the creek and help you dodge the few bigger rocks

fx4's picture
fx4

Jonathan
shawnigan

I've seen rwd trucks and fwd suvs make it down to francis lake in the dry season. It's really nothing to worry about.

reanne's picture

reanne
Westcoast

Perfect thanks guys! I'll put it on the list for a future adventure! Have fun! :)

93tilinfinity's picture

Kaitlin Wells
Victoria

New to this site, but not new to the back roads. Looking to follow up on this camping/wheeling meet up! Name is Kaitlin, located in Victoria but am able to make the trip up island for some amazing views/trails!

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

Welcome and yes, please come up this weekend! We put all the info together into a different thread called Francis Lake camping trip, but we'll be meeting up at Heather campground at the west end of cowichan lake before convoying out to Francis lake! Depending on who all shows up and what they're into we might do a little 4-wheeling on some trails on the way there or back home

Out4aRip's picture

Rob
Victoria

Hey Kaitlin, I remember telling you about the forum on FB, glad to see you decided to sign up here! :-)

I can't make Francis Lake this time due to work but it I will be looking forward to coming out for the next run...
On the bright side, it seems I now have Sat-Sun off work for the rest of the year, barring getting called in to cover for someone. 8-)
I'm getting a lot more enthusiastic about doing more 4x4ing this year now that my weekends are finally opening right up.
Happy trails!
-Rob

93tilinfinity's picture

Kaitlin Wells
Victoria

Unfortunately I won't be able to make it this weekend... but I will make sure to come along on the next one. I have a bunch of family obligations I have to attend to. But I will most certainly keep an eye on the threads for new and up coming trips!

Cob's picture
Cob

Jacob
Victoria

Did you guys ever find out how the water levels were getting into francis lake? I've never explored around there but it seems like a great place to camp! Planning on a trip for the May Long. Any camping tips or suggestions would be great. Thanks!

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

Water levels were fine when we went through there in March. Stock trucks should make it through fairly painlessly. Water level might be higher now with the spring melt though. Bring your gumboots and hop out of the truck to check it out! The one decent pool to drive through just before the lake can be somewhat avoided but the deepest water that I drive through there was maybe 2 feet deep

Cob's picture
Cob

Jacob
Victoria

Awesome! Thank you

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