Monday, October 8, 2012

Adventure 39: Camo, Coffee and Corb Lund

Elk Bay
The title of this adventure may be a little deceiving. Corb Lund didn't actually join in on this trip. We did listen to his music for hours and hours today. This adventure was not on the list that we had created earlier this past winter. I did have the idea of going camping over Thanksgiving weekend somewhere that we had not been before, thoughts leaning towards the Tahsis area. Things didn't work out for that to happen, which is too bad since the weather has been outstanding. I cannot remember such a warm, dry fall in all my years. Sure it has happened before, but it has stood out because of my disappointment in that lack of chantrelles growing anywhere on the east side of Vancouver Island. Instead of camping, a scouting trip into unfamiliar territory was in order. Stella Lake, Elk Bay, Rock Bay and Little Bear Bay area was the destination, along with a few firearms, snacks, coffee, camo and, of course Corb Lund.
Elk Bay looking North
With the delivery of our new-to-us F150 a fort night ago I have been wanting a reason to head off-road and see how it handles the rough road. This truck rides so smooth and quiet on the pavement, it needed to be shaken about. I also have no idea what the gas mileage is going to be, and if I am going to be going on off road trips, that is knowledge critical to a worry free trip. It was nice this morning, not waking up super early to go hunting. Natalie protested a 4 am wake-up call, and I laughed at her as I teased the before dawn start. Not much point in going that early. Without an accurate rifle, deer hunting in the forest is a tough ordeal, more than Natalie is prepared for. A box of buckshot was included in the days kit, along with several boxes of .22 shells, bird shot and Natalie's B.B. gun. We had not shot together for many years, and she has very little experience around guns. I need to improve that.
Stella Lake

We fueled up before leaving Cumberland, and I am glad I did. We complain about the price of petrol in the Valley. Gas was around $1.38 a liter in the River City. Brutal. I pulled into Riversportsman but we were too early. Not wanting to wait around, we carried on north on the Island Highway. We turned off the pavement at the top end of Roberts Lake, on to Elk Bay Forest Service Road. This road is in decent shape, with some rough stuff, few potholes and steeper hills. I would recommend not taking a car with little ground clearance on this section. Most S.U.V's and pick-ups would be fine. I made many stops along the way, checking some wonderful looking second growth forest for chantrelle mushrooms. No luck. The ground is as dry in this area as it is in Cumberland.
Stella Lake

Our first destination was Elk Bay recreation site. After our experience at Naka Creek I am looking for more road accessed campsites on the ocean. I find the saltwater so much more exciting, with more wild edibles, creatures to look at and constant views of watercraft cruising by. This is a very nice little spot that I am sure is quite busy during the best summer fishing days, and also looked promising for the ability to fish from a small craft, or even from shore. Put this place on the list for a future visit. We left the sea and back tracked inland, towards Stella Lake. Stella is a real gem. It has an interesting shoreline, with many bays and arms. This lake would be fun for exploring in a canoe or small cartopper. I have never fished it, but am sure that it would be pretty consistent with most lakes on the north end of the Island. Cutthroat and rainbows, best caught in spring or fall. We stopped at Stella Bay rec site for a look around. Two or three sites, probably best with a small group as all the sites are close together. A dock compliments the lake access. The lake has some nice sandy beaches, which are unusual for other area lakes, and this site is no exception.
Trying for a bullseye

Natalie was getting excited to shoot her B.B. gun and was growing impatient in the truck. She spied an side road that traveled through a slash that would work perfectly. I balanced a cardboard target on a stump and gave Natalie a few strict instructions about handling a firearm, and let her have a few shots. She hit the cardboard a few times and was pretty happy about it. I pulled out the .22 for a couple of pokes. While attempting to adjust the sight, it was discovered that the screw holding down the rear ramp sight was not the correct one and it wouldn't hold together. I must get is repaired. It was too bad, plinking is so much fun. Without sights it is futile. She tried a little bit more and decided that it was time for a sausage.
Little Bear Bay

Corb Lund guided our way along to Bear Bight road. We were "Getting Down on the Mountain" traveling once again to the shores of Johnstone strait. Little Bear Bay is a rec site at the mouth of Amor de Cosmo creek. There were some salmon moving in the shallows and decided to make a few casts. A decent school of dark pinks were cruising, waiting to move into the creek. I made several casts with out success, and decided to give them some peace. We need rain so bad for all creatures, fins, fur, feathers and fungi. We climbed on some challenging rocks to attempt to access some deeper water for fishing. It was futile as the shallow water continued for as far as we could safely maneuver. Back to the truck we drove over to the bridge over the creek and could see hundreds of pinks schooling in the pool underneath. We made the drive into Rock Bay, to the private campsite. It was not my idea of where to spend my recreation time, so we passed through and carried on. Along the road I saw a tree that was covered in Artist Conks. Natalie expressed some interest in wood burning on them like her Grandma Kelly, so we collected a dozen of various sizes and shapes. They will make for hours of creative fun this winter after they dry by the woodstove.
Little Bear Bay

We had visited all the places that I wanted to see, shot our guns, ate homemade sausages, and, best of all, spent some quality, undistracted time together. I made a point of not allowing Natalie to bring her Ipod so she would have to look around, talk to me, and to just think. So many hours of my youth were spent doing just that while driving in the woods with my dad, and they were some of the best days I had. To share these experiences with Natalie feels so good. Find Adventure.

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