2017/07/22 Stoltz Main

This was meant to be an exploring trip… trying to find connections from Stoltz to either the North (Cowichan) or West (pacific marine road, probably via Robertson main). Well I got an adventure all right :).

Bike “broke” … or more accurately the shifter mecanism did… would shift up but not down, which meant I was stuck in fifth and had to slip the clutch a lot to get going and the lugging probably didn’t do the engine any good either. I already have new clutch plates soaking in oil, that was supposed to have been done a few days ago, but I got sidetracked by the exhaust (after setting the clutch plates to soak).

Beaver Creek valley. Looking W from shortly after the climb up the hill from Skutz Falls bridge. (Lots of fireweed, even passed a “bee hive site”.)

What else? I got soaked, and consequently cold. It didn’t rain much, but I spent some time on overgrown trails, and the foliage was covered in water droplets… which all falls onto the rider. Should be more than a bit of video of water dripping off my helmet. Maybe some of the same from my gloves and jacket sleeve cuffs.

I did get to map a number of new (to OSM) tracks… including some stuff that doesn’t show in the “Bing imagery”. I might have found another connection to cowichan, but when the trail split, I went west instead of north. I was a bit surprised to come out on Stoltz Main. I didn’t realize it went that far north (or west). That’s a neat bit of road. The second half of the trail from the Stoltz spur I was exploring to Stoltz Main was pretty badly overgrown and not a lot of fun. Even the fairly new, flat, and straight road near the west end was overgrown. I’m not sure if I went from a NE exposure or just to something that has been more recently clearcut, or ?? But the first part of the trail was reasonably nice _old_ logging road, call it single track. The ATVs had been up it. I’m kicking myself for not having waypointed the fork. The backroads dataset has it, but I don’t have that on the computer. Anyhow, if I get up that way again, I need to a) finish exploring the new spurs, and b) re-run that trail, but take the right fork which might lead toward cowichan / fair-service-main.

Blocked. Quads were running through here, but I wasn’t convinced I could get back.

Looking NW down the East Robertson river valley. This would be near the N end of Stoltz, not that far from where the shifting mechanism broke/stopped working.

I saw a “cool bird”. Some ground nester (Common Nighthawk). I had just come up the hill from the very NW end of the track, and stopped because the bike wasn’t shifting right. I was standing there leaning on the bike when I realized there was a feathered lump with one black eye watching me from less than 10 feet away. Will identify it later. Felt bad when I realized she had been sheltering two tiny (newly hatched?) chicks. Have stills and video.

Same shot, but cropped. This was shot with the cell phone, so she (?) was no more than 8 feet away. (Common Nighthawk)

Not much of a nest, but two chicks! I scrammed after taking this shot,

Cleared more than my share of branches. That cheapo Canadian Tire folding saw actually works pretty well, but need somewhere to store it.