2016/10/01 Tahsis Bear watching trip (Sept 30 – Oct 3rd)

This was a pretty good/nice way to end the “bike camping” season.

This ride has already been written up as part of the great long “10 days to play in bc” thread. As seems to always be the case, David’s pix are sharper and brighter than mine, and of course I feature more prominently in his pix than my own :) Here is my album for this ride.

The short description is that I skipped out Friday afternoon and did not return until Monday night. I camped solo a little south of Port Alberni the first night, spent the next (Sat) night at David’s, and Sunday night was out between Tahsis and Gold River. Some good riding was had each day, although the first and last days had a lot of highway mileage.

Quick summary in pix

Quick stop at Little Qualicum (BC) Park.
Quick stop at Little Qualicum (BC) Park.
Someone has
Someone has “improved” the campsite Tony and I used.
Running down Cameron Main looking for a place to stop (running out of day). Ended up across the valley and to the left.
Running down Cameron Main looking for a place to stop (running out of day). Ended up across the valley and to the left.
Should have edited this to brighten it, but it was a quick shot to send to Davi... bike, tent behind, and Mt Arrowsmith in background. Funny black thing in front is stove with dinner on it.
Should have edited this to brighten it, but it was a quick shot to send to Davi… bike, tent behind, and Mt Arrowsmith in background. Funny black thing in front is stove with dinner on it.
Friday night campfire, pot keeping warm and beverage... well that would have been better cold.
Friday night campfire, pot keeping warm and beverage… well that would have been better cold.

Start of Saturday, day #2:

Morning panorama. Click for big. Some showers shortly before dawn. Dried up for breakfast and packing, then started to rain shortly after starting riding.
Morning panorama. Click for big. Some showers shortly before dawn. Dried up for breakfast and packing, then started to rain shortly after starting riding.
I wanted to see how far south along Cameron River I could get (only had an hour). The backroads were darn slippery with wet leaves and grass. The gravel was surprisingly fine... better traction when wet!?
I wanted to see how far south along Cameron River I could get (only had an hour). The backroads were darn slippery with wet leaves and grass. The gravel was surprisingly fine… better traction when wet!?
From that exploration, it was run back (N) to Port Alberni, to meet Chris and Joel. I didn't realize while I was killing time inside that my rear tire was going flat (from a bent finishing nail).
From that exploration, it was run back (N) to Port Alberni, to meet Chris and Joel. I didn’t realize while I was killing time inside that my rear tire was going flat (from a bent finishing nail).
Chris and Joel, somewhere up Ash River Main
Chris and Joel, somewhere up Ash River Main

I should get some of the video from this ride together. But I both need to edit it, and stabilize it… The smaller roads were “non trivial”, and the by-passes were pretty damn tough for a loaded KLR.

Random stream/bridge (up Ash River Main).
Random stream/bridge (up Ash River Main).
Chris and Joel at the head of Ash River, where it drains from Oshinow Lake.
Chris and Joel at the head of Ash River, where it drains from Oshinow Lake.
Elsie Lake is another of the BC Hydro
Elsie Lake is another of the BC Hydro “expanded” lakes which fluctuate in volume… thus this desolate muddied area.

Sunday, day #3:

First pics of the day are from the lunch stop.

Apparently this was quite an snow field ... up until the last couple of years
Apparently this was quite an snow field … up until the last couple of years
Clouds dragging over the mountains above said snow field.
Clouds dragging over the mountains above said snow field.
And a panorama to put the whole thing in context. Click for big. aprox 50.112 N ,-126.133 W
And a panorama to put the whole thing in context. Click for big. aprox 50.112 N ,-126.133 W

A quick pass through Gold river.

Heber River as it flows through the town of Gold River to meet Gold River.
Heber River as it flows through the town of Gold River to meet Gold River.
Bikes on the dock by the Gold River aerodrome (float planes). Click for pano.
Bikes on the dock by the Gold River aerodrome (float planes). Click for pano.
pano of the riverbed where we expected to see the bears. click for big
pano of the riverbed where we expected to see the bears. click for big

Unfortunately, we got skunked at the intended viewing location. And at a fallback location. However, it turned out there was lots of wildlife at our campsite.

First (and
First (and “best”) bear

This guy was not working very hard. The fish he was pulling out were either dead or very close to it. Not that I saw him catch many.

I was a bit lucky to get the above shots. I was having issues with the autofocus system in the camera focusing on the water ahead of the bear, and it was pretty late in the day, so shutter speeds were very slow (I should have cranked the ISO quite a bit higher).

Time to ponder life, sunsets, and most importantly, dinner.
Time to ponder life, sunsets, and most importantly, dinner.

Day #4:

Wet boots. I ended up inverting these over a tripod (keeping the spreader)... probably would have worked MUCH better if I'd started the night before.
Wet boots. I ended up inverting these over a tripod (keeping the spreader)… probably would have worked MUCH better if I’d started the night before.

We headed out fairly early and headed back toward Campbell River. We took a detour up a “mountain main” beside Upper Campbell Lake.

Pano from part way up
Pano from part way up “Mountain main”
Georgeous alpine meadow up there... of course there's the clear cut if you turn around :(
Georgeous alpine meadow up there… of course there’s the clear cut if you turn around :(
Some nice views and beautiful colours up there.
Some nice views and beautiful colours up there.

I’ve got a couple shots of David with a “clouds” for background. But this one clearly shows that down is through the clouds…

And as we got closer to Campbell River we dove back into the logging roads, as there was one that David just wanted to take me through…

He told me about this. I didn't believe him.
He told me about this. I didn’t believe him. “Tom Brown Main”

That is it for the northern pix. I took a detour through the “Cook Creek FSR” on the way back (comes out by the Horne Lake Caves). The GPS showed an awesome trail along the top of a ridge … but it just plain died before the going got good:

End of trail? Cook Creek Riding area.
End of trail? Cook Creek Riding area.

… seemed to die where a bridge had probably been removed. The FSR was a bit interesting. It is pretty narrow, and it was raining fairly hard. After four days of riding on wet gravel and mud I was fairly confident of the bike. But I had little confidence in the idiots driving the other way (white timberwest pickups), so it was a slow detour.

Anyhow, that’s it. Probably the last camping trip of the year. Considering I started late, I must have gotten at least 16 nights in (9 on the 10 day ride, 3 on this trip, 2 with Tony, 1 with Bob and Rick, and 1 solo).