Back to Powell River's lakes

N/NE of Powell River, on the north Sunshine Coast, is one of the world's grand hinterlands of backroads, lakes and forestry campsites, regularly used by the public. I've enjoyed a few adventures through this area, and put together a Fav backroads ride.

There were a few far flung lakes and possible connecting routes (I love backroads connections) I still wanted to check out, so headed back for another 3 days. It was another fine summer ride (though real hot!), with my route connections working out, and some brilliant swimming.

This pic is from the canoe landing on the south shores of Windsor Lake, reached via a short portage trail. This is part of the internationally renowned Powell Forest Canoe Circuit. I enjoy riding/pushing some of the portage trails, and camping in some of the small remote campsites.

It was just mid-morning when I reached here, but I dived in for a refreshing swim.

The map below shows my route. I had 2 main riding objectives.

  • head NE up to remote, high altitude Freda Lake, and then see if I could make my way west along a decommissioned old connector to reach Windsor & Dodd Lakes (pic above).

  • visit the north end of Goat Lake (I'd heard there was sweet riding), then head SW back to Powell River via Powell then Haslam Lakes

Freda Lake was a tough climb, up to ~650m, arriving to a tiny lakeside campsite in the late afternoon. Stunning views. The lake is surrounded by steeply rising mountains, almost like a crater. After dinner I went for a walk down the lakeshore and came upon recent bear tracks (big!) and an humungous pile of fresh bear turd, which spooked me enough to start a campfire near the lakeshore, so the scent of fire would be about (see pic below from my snug tent)

I slept like the proverbial log and was awakened early by logging trucks across the lake: the crater-effect seemed to amplify sounds.

A riding highlight was successfully getting through the connector west to Dodd and Windsor Lakes. Things were overgrown for stretches, but I was able to push my bike through.

By mid morning I was cooling down with a swim, then heading north along Goat Lake. Wonderful riding indeed. That whole morning I did not meet a single other vehicle, though I met some canoeists making a portage.

From south Goat Lake (foreground above), I followed another route I was keen to explore - Rainbow Main, SW to the south shores of the northern arm of Powell Lake (in the background) - another long hours-long stretch without meeting a vehicle.

I was really enjoying my swimming opportunities, so rather than wild camp, I went a little off route to Fiddlehead Landing Hut, a lakeside sleeping station for hikers on the Sunshine Coast Trail, and canoeists on the lakes circuit. The pic below was taken from the hut, and shows a cottage next door at dusk. 2 groups of hikers showed up, one from Quebec and the other from Czechoslovakia. Lots of fun.

The next morning I started my way south, first past Giavanno Lake, and then down the long, east shores of Haslam Lake, which I followed most of the way to Powell River, catching the 5:15 ferry back to Comox.

The final pic below was taken at a tiny, surprising campsite on NW Giavanno Lake, part of the Haslam Powell Trail network. I liked the site so much, I stopped for a snack. There was a good dock, and a chance for another swim .....

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