Backpacking at Pedals, Paddles, and Packs

Pedals Paddles and Packs was first conceived by four Area Camping Advisors (Cindy McInnes, Julie Ramsay, Tammy Tromba and Gwen Walwyn) at a Provincial Camping Committee planning and training weekend.  The goal was to offer taster adventure camping opportunities for Pathfinder aged girls, who might not have had much opportunity to try cycling, canoeing, kayaking or back packing.

The project quickly grew in scope to include intermediate and beginner options, and rock climbing.  Adele Cooshek joined the original group of four, and was a great asset, resource and help for the team.

Trip Leads and Assists were arranged for all the activities, invites and applications sent to eligible girls in the four Areas, and planning began in earnest.  Between the four Areas we have an amazing wealth of talented Leaders with the experience and skills to take girls on adventure trips.  And more in-training as they complete the Adventure OAL modules.  Watch out BC, there should be lots of Pathfinders, Rangers and Trex girls safely enjoying this beautiful Province of ours!

We were blessed with fabulous weather for the weekend, the ferry wasn’t too late, and everyone had stories to tell after their out-trip.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The first night was spent at Camp Olave at Hi Yu Win or Ah Ah Wa Ke, with mug-up and breakfast served at Hi Yu Win.  Thank you to our amazing QM’s (Tammy’s family rock!).  Saturday dawned very early for the rock climbers, they were on the first ferry from Earls Cove.  The kayaking, canoeing, cycling and backpacking groups had a more leisurely start, with time to sort gear, re-pack and prep lunches and breakfasts.

Eleven backpackers squeezed into two vehicles for the winding drive up the coast, with leg stretch / short explorations at Francis Point Marine Park and Dan Bosch Park before the real hike on the Suncoaster Trail began.  The beginning of the trail meandered up and down, with a 50m elevation gain and descent in the first km.  At this point there was a halt for happy feet checks, water, lunch part 1, and some re-distribution of equipment.  Onwards we forged, for a steady climb up to 225m over our next km.  Numerous pauses for photos, water and conversation helped keep everyone’s spirits up.  The chance to re-fill water bottles was a welcome break too.  Everyone experimented with a pump filter or steri-pen to purify lake water.  Onwards along level-ish terrain to Klein Lake, where we found an idyllic campsite with a swimming dock nearby.  Tents were quickly pitched, locations for our bear caches staked out, and plans for swimming and dinner sorted out.  Firewood for the camp fire was tinder dry and easy to find, and the out-house wasn’t too far away either!  Several brave souls had a dip in Klein Lake, the water being pronounced “warm, once you get used to it!”  Dinner of chili and garlic bread, followed by smore’s, disappeared very fast. Food cooked outdoors always tastes so good! …Later that night lying in the tent (no need for the fly) looking out towards the lake or up at the stars and trees, it was hard to imagine a better place to be, nor a greater group of girls to be with.  All the girls were troupers, not complaining or grumbling, helping one another, making friends quickly, sharing good books or movie recommendations.

Sunday began early with birds calling cheerfully to one another.  The lake looked most inviting and calm with the mist rising from it.  Breakfast was “cooked” in tin foil, wrapped in waxed burlap which was then lit.  Camp was quickly tidied up, then we played camping Jeopardy with the winning side choosing an activity for the other team to perform (planks, sit ups, jumping jacks etc).  The return hike was much quicker, being mostly downhill with slightly lighter packs, and animated conversations to add wings to our feet.  Seeing the camaraderie and ebb and flow of walking partners among the girls was heart- warming, and overhearing comments about how much they had enjoyed themselves and what they want to try next year was so rewarding.

Our final reward before boarding the ferry was a well-earned gelato.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of making this camp happen,  the Camp Advisors, Trip Leads and Assists, the Areas for their support, and the parents for entrusting us with their girls.  I would love to do this again with Clare and another great group of girls next year.

Gwen Walwyn is the Lions Area Camping Adviser.

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