2017/07/09 – Cowichan Area – solo

This was a long day, and a fun one. I covered a number of areas I wanted to check-out.

I started off looking for a way into copper canyon from Hillcrest. I had spotted what looked like a ford across the Chemainus River in Google Earth. The track looked way more obvious in the satellite image. On the ground, you had to ride pretty much blind through the tall grass. Once you got started it wasn’t bad. The ford is there, but too deep to be usable. A couple guys could throw rocks around and change that. Best if they had an afternoon to spend on a hot day and didn’t mind getting very wet.

ATV ford across Chemainus River.

I continued up the track from there and found a couple of trails to the right… the 2nd of which was pretty damn beautiful at the end. Came right down to the river bed and went up and downstream. The downstream end had some nice pools! (no pix, was hot and tired.) There were a pair of 4x4s in there, and one of the guys said I’d be able to get across to copper canyon… just needed to take the next trail to the right, etc etc.

Well, I had no luck with that. Both the point that Adam Crowe had pointed out, and a preceding trail shown on OSM had been quite effectively blocked by the logging co. Adam’s “ATV” waypoint? I could get in there… wouldn’t want to try getting out.

From there it was continue over to the back (lower) hill 60 area and finish mapping the “upper loop” track and anything else I found. I really do like that area. It is a pity that the “East Thompson” trail is such a brutal start. It wasn’t easy to climb when I did it, and I was a bit surprised I got down it today without getting bounced off. It’s just the last 100 meters or so that is a washed out rock-garden. You can get in from the NW, but then you aren’t transiting through the area.

From there it was “check out a GPX track from Skutz Falls to cowichan”. For a change that was basically trivial. There was an horizontal obstacle to go around… but the GPX track did show that if you looked closely. That basically runs up “Skutz Main”, through a short connector trail, and onto the end of “Fair Service Main”. The track twisted and turned a bit at the far end… not entirely sure why. Basically you turn off “Fair Service Main” at FS3000, the rest is probably optional.

In Cowichan it was time for caffeine and more food. I’d stopped at the tank traps to eat what I had brought, but the coffee container leaked, and the boiled eggs didn’t travel well.

The OSM tracks shown for cowichan lake didn’t show the local logging roads connecting to anything. (Which included NOT showing the track I followed in.) I considered exploring locally

ugh, 2am, I’ll work on this tomorrow. You have the GPX track :) … wow, almost exactly 200 miles (197) according to google… so 300+ km. Gas mileage wasn’t that great though … still, it was a long day’s fun on less than $20 worth of gas :)

(Feb 2018, will add a bit more…)

So Skutz Falls to Lake Cowichan was fine, not a bad ride, and came out pretty much in town. After a bit of food I headed out down the Pacific Marine Highway.

Looking NE up the valley toward Cowichan Lake. Pacfic Marine would be running up the valley on the left.

Same thing in a pano, click for big.

It turns out much of that is paralleled by ATV tracks.  I left the highway behind via Roaches Mainline. I believe the mainline has a gate. Roaches runs down the East side of the Roberston River, where Robertson Main is on the West side. Roaches went up a valley and ended. There was a cool ATV bridge over the valley’s creek and a good road up to the logging road on the other side. The road on the other side was apparently unlabeled, as I _was_ taking notes on the GPS… I caught up to Robertson Main when it crossed to the east of the river. Shortly beyond that I came into active logging, and then was through it in a few km. I did the normal shutdown and listen, but it was all quiet.

Looking W or NW down the Robertson River valley toward the highway.

I had high hopes for connections here, and there _may_ well have been near the pincer shape facing up to the NE. At one point there was a machine blocking the road, and I didn’t push by it. (I don’t like going near the equipment… just seems more trouble-free to stay well clear.)

The next promising interconnect was a bridge over Fleet River. I believe the bridge is still there, but it’s all blocked off and badly overgrown. (Currently marked on OSM as the north end of East Fleet Main.) There’s a South Main that was marked, and might well make a bit of a loop paralleling East Fleet.

East Fleet brought me out on Fleet Main about 4km SE east of the Lens Main intersection… so a long way from pavement, but well known turf. There was some logging on Fleet main too. I don’t think I’ve reviewed all the video yet, but I remember trying to get video of a blackbear mom and cub pair at the Robertson Main intersection, and the hoped for interconnects, and I think that was the last of the highlights.

Will try to grab some frame grabs from video.