Saturday, August 04, 2012

Doumont Road to Cowichan Lake with NO GATES!

We set out today to look for a second possible route to Moriarty Lake, an alternative to our new "key trail" which allows us to get through to the Nanaimo Lakes without passing through a Timberwest gate.  We got skunked unfortunately and we were unable to find a possible joining trail that Paul had picked out on Google Earth.  We decided instead to use the standard "key trail," make our way to the Nanaimo Lakes and then push on past Fourth Lake to Cowichan Lake.  If nothing else we could check the state of the gate just past Fourth Lake.

Here's our route:

1.  Entered at Doumont Rd.
2.  Turned onto the 155 Main logging road
3.  Turned left off of 155 towards mountain ridge NE of Moriarty Mountain onto 155N
4.  Looking for alternative route to Moriarty Lake
5.  Shelton Lake
6.  Passed Fourth Lake turnoff to our left
7.  Mountain pass... NO GATE
8.  Paved black-top section - Logger's highway to Cowichan!
9.  Through Youbou...  Supper in Cowichan Lake & #1 highway home

So, we got past Fourth Lake and stopped at the approximate cross-over location between two local logging company's boundaries where the gate should be.  There was no gate!  We've been wondering about this gate for quite a while now, and it appears that it's nothing but a figment of my imagination.*  I had imagined there must be a gate between the two borders since they went to the bother of removing a bridge at a similar location not far from here.  I had managed to convince us all about the problem of getting around this gate that never existed.  :) 

*  Oct 27/12:  Just saw the gate position shown in an old "V. I. mapbook," so I'm not delusional after all.

We saw some really great looking logging roads in this area that we must get back and try another day.  One in particular climbs steeply towards the SE and it looks like it would have some fantastic views of the pass we were riding through.  The road through here, an "S" that makes it's descent through the mountains north of Sadie Peak, are not nearly as difficult to ride as I had imagined.  Google Earth's exaggerated 3D view makes it look like you're about to ride the Himalayas, but the road is in pretty good shape and the steeper grades are hardly noticeable.

Mountain Trail  Heading SE through the Mountain Pass
We eventually reached a really good black-top section of road that takes you a fair distance towards Cowichan Lake.  You can reach speeds of 80km/h if you watch carefully for the odd crater and the occasional not-so-smooth transition between gravel road and tarmac.  This great little road follows the Nitinat river and offers some terrific spots to stop and check out the view.

Smooth Black-Top Between Fourth Lk. and Cowichan Lk.
We passed our previous route into Marcus Lake, (although I forgot to notice the turn as we rode through).  This will definitely be the route we take next time we take off for a camping trip into that area;  it's a far better alternative than being forced to take the highway down through Youbou as we did last time.

We continued on towards the east and drove the northern shore of Cowichan Lk. through Youbou and onto the town of Cowichan Lake for supper.  "Jake's at the Lake" is a great place to eat if you're going through town.

We blasted up the highway from here.  It's a much more boring way to travel, but we were feeling pretty satisfied from our tremendous ride from Doumont to Cowichan without hitting one logging gate!

Kudos to Paul for oiling up his plugs and riding back at 100km/h so my 250 wouldn't melt.  ;)  

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