As usual at this time of year the outdoor school our eldest attends had their year-end camping trip, this time to the Walbran Valley on Vancouver Island. Parents are welcome to attend so, as we have always done, we joined the trip.
The Walbran Valley is right next to the Carmanah Valley, which was the location of BC’s ‘War in the Woods’ which ended up in the creation of Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park in the early 1990s. Currently parts of the Walbran Valley are slated for logging and another ‘War in the Woods’ maybe be ramping up as various groups in favour of saving the beautiful valley from clear cuts are working towards that end. (see https://www.wildernesscommittee.org/walbran for details)
It really is beautiful there and Walbran Falls is stunning, a truly incredible place to be.
We went on a short hike to the Castle Giant, a massive old cedar tree and it was nice to walk among the old growth.
On the way in, we saw some helicopter logging going on just before arriving at Walbran River. The helicopter, a Sikorsky S-64, was massive and the landing was right on the road. The road was clear when we passed but others in our camping group had to wait about 10 minutes while the freshly dropped logs were moved.
Westy ran nicely for the trip but one of our fellow campers got a flat on the way home and her spare wouldn’t work due to the fact it needed different lug nuts she didn’t have (first flat tire in a new-to-her vehicle) so as we didn’t want her to have to spend the night on the side of a logging road by herself (she had sent her kids home in other cars by the time we got there) our little group (me and 2 kids) decided to camp with her on the side of the logging road until the tow truck arrived.
The tow truck arrived at 3:24 a.m.! By 4 a.m. he had the truck with the flat tire loaded on his flat-deck and was off down the logging road with the trucks owner. The first empty logging truck going up came by at about 3:50 a.m. and it got progressively noisier after that with the peak of uphill traffic (empty logging trucks and crew pick-ups) coming shortly after 5 a.m. They all just drove on by with the exception of 2 pickups whose driver’s felt the need to lay on the horn for a while when driving by the westy (maybe thinking westys equate with the enemy in the ‘War in the Woods’?). Anyhow, luckily the kids sleep through the entire thing until I got them up at 7 a.m. to pack up and get ready to head back down and home. By that time there were full logging trucks going down as well as empty ones coming up and as I didn’t want to round a corner to face the grille of an empty logging truck heading straight for me at speed, I waited for the next one going down and followed fairly close behind. Luckily it had rained pretty hard that night so there was virtually no dust even right behind the loaded truck. I ended up with an escort down and once we reached the bigger 2 lane road down by Cowichan Lake the logging truck I had been following pulled over and waved me past. I gave him a big ‘thank you’ wave and off we went towards pavement (another 15k or so).
The Walbran Valley is a beautiful place that definitely merits another visit when we have time to do more hiking.