It has been a long time since I have been down this trail due to health reasons, so this past weekend was a real milestone for me. Heather and I did the trial this past weekend, the beginning of June and there was still intermittent snow on the ground. I had forgotten what it was like moving from snow field to rock and rock to snow field, it takes concentration, a keen eye for challenges and a little know how to make this transition smooth and safe as a little slip can see you launched down a slimy, wet, slippery slope or drop you down a gully into freezing water or worse still onto sharp rocks. More than one of my friends have gotten into trouble over the years with this, although in the end they never complained about the helicopter ride out.
You have to drive down a gravel mine road to get to the trailhead and that is about 3 kilometres up hill. The trail starts at 570 metres above sea level, and gains 450 metres to a total of 1015 metres above sea level, the trail is rated easy to moderate and you can count on 2 to 2 1/2 hours one way, I usually say count on a good solid 7 hour day, that way you can take a bunch of pictures and sit and enjoy the view at the lake. This past weekend the trail was thoroughly wet, there was still lots of snow and the trails direction was not completely clear, fortunately we knew where we were going so no worries. Judging from the heat of the day and the extent of the run-off in the creeks, it won't take long for the trail to be clear of all snow, perhaps 2 or 3 weeks tops.
There are more than just a few massive trees on the ground, it never ceases to amaze me what kind of impact having a 500 year old Douglas Fir collapse to the forest floor has on the surrounding forest, complete and utter devastation, something that would be awesome and scary as hell to see. Generally the trail itself is pretty straight forward, there are numerous bridges traversing amazing creeks, with views of waterfalls, with the first one being a suspension bridge in addition to a few man made ladders on route as well. (we only saw two ladders because the others were covered in snow).
The Bedwell Valley is extremely susceptible to snowfall so you may see some damage on the trail at times, it just pays to be cognizant of that fact and be careful of exposed routes, landslides and fallen trees.
The treat is at the end of the trail or should I say at Bedwell Lake itself because the trial does not end at the lake, if you feel so inclined and are prepared you can climb a number of mountains from there; Big Interior, Tom Taylor, Septimus, Nine Peaks or you can just take a few extra hours and head up to Cream Lake, now there is a sweet treat, you look straight up Mt Septimus from Cream Lake.
The first lake is approximately 5 km's in (Baby Bedwell), Big Bedwell is another km past that. Water is plentiful, and at Big Bedwell there are tent pads, bear caches, great fishing, pit toilets and if you are really brave or just crazy you can go for a swim, OMG that is cold water.
The trail meanders through spectacular old growth before it quickly begins to climb, when you approach the lake, it is all about the rock, nice rock, lots of integrity and easy to walk on, make sure you have good footwear, the rock can be particularly hard on the bottom of your feet. No give there, but try and stay on the trail, alpine meadows are very sensitive and can be destroyed very easily. Also keep an eye out for make shift markings, the approach to the rocks is notorious for having wasps nests. I had a friend a few years ago who got nailed. Eight stings later we had to evacuate her, it was a good thing we had some antihistamine with us, she was not allergic but she swelled up so bad we knew she could have gotten into trouble at any time.
At the end of our day, we climbed rather awkwardly into the truck for the trip home as both of us need some conditioning and our muscles were starting to seize up, we had not driven even one km down the gravel road when I saw a bear, a nice healthy young bear, well that was the first of three we saw on the way out so don't forget your camera.
Cell phones do not work in the park so you might as well leave them at home.
For directions from Campbell River see our Regional Trails
page and be safe and enjoy.
The of course there are always the wild-flowers.
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