It’s been a long time since I last ventured into the beautiful Strathcona Park, ages since visiting Buttle Lake. We haven’t made the best use of such a magnificent resource, only a short drive away from us; we’ll try to do so more in the future! We left Comox Thursday lunchtime and drove to the launch site, just past Strathcona Park Lodge and the turn-off to Gold River. We packed the kayak and within half an hour we were paddling down the lake, basically in a southerly direction. The sun beat down on us, the whisper of wind and drops of water from our rhythmically dipping paddles just enough to keep us cool. The lake was dead-flat calm making for speedy paddling.
It took as about an hour, with one brief reconnaissance stop, to reach our first stop, Titus Site. It was at the base of a mountain, tucked into a twisted stand of cedars and oregon grape and appeared to us to be shadow bound for most of the day so we continued on to stop two, Wolf Creek. This was a nice looking campsite, on the edge of a glacier fed stream but for some reason it spooked Josée, the woods surrounding the campsite reminding her of the Blair Witch Movie. We moved on.
We paddled for nearly two more hours, enjoying the scenery, drifting alongside green forest and towering granite hills. The occasional stream rumbled down from the heights, glacier-fed and cold as ice. We were looking for Philips Creek marine campsite but either didn’t paddle far enough or paddled by it; several of the sites are hidden in the dark of the forest, difficult to find with even a conscious effort. Eventually, as we were in the gloaming, we decided to bunk down on a small spit of gravel. Unpacked, supper eaten and tent pitched, we enjoyed the quiet of the late evening, the random call of a loon, echoing in the hillsides and across the still water. It was a beautiful night.
Josée was up early the next day and located a better campsite for us, a tiny island, perhaps half an acre in size. It turns out (after reviewing google maps post-trip) that this island was only a kilometre or so away from Philips Creek but it was a great site so there was no point in moving. We enjoyed the day, reading, napping, and reflecting. Perhaps the best thing about being in the great outdoors is the quiet and feeling of ‘big-space’. It was great to just sit and be; no thoughts, no phones or computers, no chatter, no work. Just be. As the Italians say: La dolce far niente.
Saturday saw us pack up and paddle out, three hours, the last of which was hard slogging into a strong nor’wester. The trip was a nice little break; disconnection is a good thing! Next trip – Sayward Lakes!