It's summer and with a long weekend coming up, so we thought to create a small adventure for ourselves. The goal was to camp a night or two in our new tent and hopefully see some nice nature where I can hike around and JJ can paint.
Our first idea was to look at the official BC Parks, but reserving a spot there in the summer and over a long weekend is next to impossible. I did some more digging and found the great tip from locals to just take some Forest Service Road to find a remote and more quiet are. When I loked more into it I came across Recreation Sites and Trails BC, which shows campgrounds in BC that have less to none maintanace but are also ofter cheap or even free. Searching for the right spot I found Tenquille Lake, which is a 2 1/2 hours drive from Vancouver and also required a 2/12 hours hike to get from the parking lot to the campsites. Once there the place offers great views on the lake and surrounding mountains. We were instantly hooked and started packing!
Getting there wasn't too hard, except that I thought I could find it without navigation and took the wrong turn at one point in Pemberton, which meant and extra hour of driving. We were already behind schedule and I was starting to get worried to not arrive in camp before it's dark. Once I activated Google Maps we got to the start of the gravel road easily (Hurley FSR) and started driving it up till we saw the Brach 12 sign.
We read beforehand that a 4-wheel drive would be required to get all the way up (or 2-wheel with high clearance), but I din't belive that it would be too bad. Some people park at the branch 12 sign and hike an additional 5km up the mountain, but we didn't have any time for that today.
The scary part of driving up were the big trenches all along the way. Cars with high clearance won't be bothered by them too much, but for our Suzuki SX4 each one was a challenge. When I didn't hit them in the right angle I could instandly hear the front to the car hitting the road infront of us. Luckily we made it up with only minor damages.
We knew the sun would set in a few hours, so we had to hurry now. As soon as we left the car mosquitoes started attacking us, so bring bug repellant if you ever go there. When packing our stuff I made the big mistake of thinking I would have to bring water for whole weekend, so I also carried 10 litres of it together with a huge food container. I think we organized it more a picknic with a longer walk then and actual hiking trip.
As you can imagine carrying a backpack, 7 literes of water and a bag of proviant takes it toll. We were more than happy to finally arrive after 3 hours at the lake-cabin. The cabin was rebuild a few years ago by locals and is open for anyone to use for free (yes, quite incedible). Tired from all the walking we went inside and made our dinner. We also got to know some of the other campers, 3 mountainbikers and a couple who arrived earlier that day. There were a few more, but the cabin is big, so it wasn't too crowded. After finishing our meal we thought about putting up oour tent, but then decideded to give a cabin a chance, since there was still enough space.
What followed was one of the worst nights we had for a while and it can only be attributed to our bad planning. Instead of sleeping maps be bought some yoga-maps and instead of sleeping bags we had a thin blanket with us. Even when snuggeling together we were still feeling cold and our bones were hurting from the hard ground. At 5 in the moring someone had pitty gave us one of the mattresses they were using (there were multiple that belonged to the cabin, but they were all in use by the time we arrived). This gave us a few more hours of sleep and lifted our spirits.
It was getting 11am when we started noticing the sun shining through the window. We were ready to start exploring the area and started with walking a circle around the lake.
In the early afternoon we had enough of exploring and felt ready to try out our new red little boat. I must admit that I was a little scared when I put my foot into the boat and it dropped deeper into the water, but once I was sure that it would hold my weight the paddeling could start.
An for some extra fun here a short video of us in a boat