2017/04/23 – Duncan area ride with Josh

I’m trying to “expand my turf” :) And the first thing to learn in riding on Southern Vancouver Island is where the entrances/exits are (since the logging companies tend to block/gate everything).

This ride was based on a GPX track that Adam Crowe posted last November. I’ll try his HollyOak ride soon, but we’ve still got snow in places. The entrance was the end of Riverside Rd. (Could have been Mountain Rd, same basic place. Riverside is probably easier. The gate bypass at the end of Mountain is not particularily difficult, but it is NOT flat.) Exit was via the main gate at Holt Main.

The track basically went up onto the plateau and followed the south edge (Koksilah river valley) and west edge (Wild deer creek valley). At the north end of Wild Deer Creek valley we went down into the valley to check the connection to Wild Deer Main, and then back up the hill to go to Louis Lake. We’d been through a lot of track that was ‘lightly overgrown” at this point, but the route Adam took to Lois Lake was heavily overgrown, and it sounds like even when he did it there was a big tree down. Going straight where Adam backtracked makes the connection easy (checked that a week later). Lois Lake is NOT impressive (Wild Deer Lake IS nice).

On getting to the Holt Main gate, Josh wanted a drink (gatorade) and I needed gas. So we rode into Duncan, and then headed back to Holt and back onto the dirt. From there we followed Holt out to what the sign says is Crescent Main (which is NOT what the backwoods mapbook calls Crescent Main). So we started south on that and quickly got distracted by the powerlines… which we followed as well as we could. We ended up descending into the Koksilah valley on the same route I had ridden with the Chris Birch class last summer. There is a nasty section worthy of noting in the powerlines. Most of it is good technical riding, but there is steepĀ  section of sand/rock (think gravel pit) that I tried and failed to get back up a week later.

The case cover I had on the bike was giving me grief. The gearshift on the DRZ has always been “loose”, and it was rubbing on the case cover. The aluminum was smearing and forming a sawtooth wave pattern that would catch and hold the gearshift lever. We stopped at the riverside exit and I tried to tighten up the lever and smooth down the “waves”. I _might_ have left my toolroll behind, as it seems to be missing, and that was the last place I know I had it.

Josh and I pulled over at the highway. We had discussed running through the Mt wood area on the way by, but Josh wanted to get home in time for the family dinner, so we split (partly because that dam gearshift got stuck and I was very slow getting up to speed).

I got gas again in Shawnigan, and ran through the Mt Wood area. Entered off Fern Ridge, through the single track and up the power lines. The plan was to exit to the malahat, but I was having fun, so went up the next “step” and then up the “water track” to Oliphant. Which comes out at the south end of the technical track I labeled “Oliphant Lake North” on OSM, which leads into the also non-trivial track down the west side, so I ran those back to back and then out (at speed) through the normal tracks down to the gate by Skylar. GPS batteries died by Oliphant so the GPX track ends there.

I had a _blast_ going through Mt Wood. Josh is good on his KLR, but he’s not fast… and riding solo, where you don’t have to keep pace with the other riders allows you to just keep the adrenaline flowing. That lesson came out even more clearly on the next weekend.

Looking SE from a clearcut near the start. That’s shawnigan lake, with its distinctive arm pointing NW. … and Saanich penninsula with the airport beyond that.
Josh and the bikes, and a couple of the five vehicles in the “parking lot” at Lois Lake. Fishing is supposed to be good there, the scenery sure isn’t much.
Josh and his KLR. Missing the front right turn signal. He rear-ended me when I stopped to break off an overhanging branch, and the fairing broke where the turn signal is mounted.
Looking NE out over Duncan from the top of the switch-backs leading to Lois Lake (from Holt). Yes, the rain caught up to us about here.
Neat shot of Josh and the bikes. Taken from “Darren’s corner” on Holt Main (maybe around the 8km mark?). Holt creek is below the background and thus that is the far side of the creek valley. click=big
Blue Grouse. Mating time, and these birds have no fear. Forget long telephone lenses, this was shot with my phone.
Up on top of the power-lines running down the west side of Wild Deer Creek. Should have been a wonderful view behind me, but all we could see was cloud above and cloud below. Missed this lookout by one tower on the next weekend :(

Ahh right, I should mention that we met Zac Zoso and his dad on this ride. May become significant :) [May well end up doing some exploring with him.]

Zac Zoso and his dad.

(Edit: Toolbag showed up. I used a backpack instead of the tailbag when I rode the bike to martial arts. Never cleaned out the backpack (yuck, sweaty shirt) afterward.)