Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kidney Failure Lake

Nanaimo is lucky enough to have two Kidney Lakes.  Don't ask me how that happened!  Perhaps it was some cartographer's bad joke at attempting an anatomically correct map, or perhaps it was the more likely result of general confusion on the part of loggers and other visitors.  Anyway, we have two--and one has remained  a mystery to me for all this time since the local logging company closed off the main entrance to this region some time ago.  (Why they ever did this raises a few questions too.  Kidney Lk. II is such a buggered-up mess of dead logs, I have to wonder if they're saving the embarrassment of people actually finding it.  Maybe not, they have gone to the effort of leaving a scabby, thin boundary around it to maintain its pristine healthy look.  FfffPbwaaahahaha).   

I've attempted to find Kidney Lk. II a few times using trails from the east side that run through the university's excrement infested trails, but I've had little luck until very recently.  One riding friend, Sebastian, located the hidden trails a few weeks ago and his success was followed up recently by Paul who discovered Sebastian's route in from the Doumont Trail shortly before the "tank traps."  I came crawling along in third place to claim my own victory, although I did need Paul's poxy GPS track to actually get in there.

Here's the route:

The Route  (Click Image to Enlarge).
1.  Beginning of Dumont Trail at the shot up "No Dumping" sign 
2.  Turned right shortly before the tank traps  (This is at the first big pool in the road during the wet season.  It's the road pool that most bikes avoid by taking the shortcut to the left to eliminate the pond and the entire wet corner).  Actually, there's another right you can take 100m before you get to this one.
3.  You have some choices here.  It is possible to avoid the steep hill and the awkward trenches.  I like to go right at the wreck (to avoid the hill), next left to the bottom of the hill and then just follow the serpentine along to your right until you reach the logging roads.  
4.  Rode through the logging roads using the old maze solution: always turn left until you're out.  This brought me close to Kidney Failure Lake really quickly, so I rummaged through the undergrowth to get a photo, (see below).
5.  This road passes above Round Lake.  I'm not sure it's worth the hike down, since you can get there easily from the Sundew Main road on the other side.  There's fish in there, but it's not one of the better local lakes.
6.  I took a good look at the road block that I often pass from the other side.  It's a complete mystery why they went to the bother of blocking this route through.  I'm sure it was well planned and extremely necessary to ensure good environmental logging practice though.  ;)
7.  Stopped off to view the "lake" from this side too, (see photo below).
8.  Did this loop for absolutely no reason at all.
9.  Turned left at an entrance into the uni lands near the concrete pad (truck loading point) to follow a known trail that exits near the Biggs/Dumont intersection. 

10.  If you turn right here, on what looks like the main trail, it comes to a dead end.  Go left when travelling east.  (It's weird riding this trail in this direction.  I always come up it the other way). 
11.  Found myself at the backside of a well-secured yellow gate. 
12.  The white bridge and exit gate to Dumont.

Some Photos:

Paul's earlier track in red and my earlier (failed) attempt to get here a week ago in pink.  (There's a nasty hill where the red and pink join that made it impossible for me to get through from that direction.  I walked it).

The wreck mentioned at #3.  Left for the hill and right to avoid it.

(Animated gif) A 4x4 truck on his fourth attempt to make the steep hill.  He did well considering his tires weren't that chunky.
Panoramic view of Kidney Lk II

Beginning of the asinine road block between Sundew Main and the Kidney Lk II area.

Peeking at the north-east end of the lake at location #7.  Sorry... crap shot!
Returning at point #3.  I went left.

Returning at #3.  I went left again...  Right is okay until you wipe out into the trench.  :)

Nice to finally get in there and check the place out!


  1. Hi there!

    Great write ups and website. Just wanted to know what GPS unit you use? I like how it gives you the paths you travel in google earth. Are you able to save all previous rides into google earth and such, as I see some of your maps are loaded with previous paths in different colors.


    1. Hey thanks! :D

      I use a Garmin 650. The unit saves in it's own file format (GPX), which is a bit of a nuisance really. I convert the GPXs at the site into .KMZ which is Google Earth's format. Garmin aren't good friends with Google and both companies are fighting for the GPS market share which means they don't buy into converting each other's files. :( Yea, I store all of my tracks on Google Earth, (as KMZ files), in different colours and then it keeps minimal files on my GPS.

  2. Sounds good, I enjoy google for plotting locations,trails and so on. Unbelevable really, just opens up so much of the world to you.

    I will have a look for one that saves into KMZ if possible. Good to know there is a converting system though.

    You make it up to the north end of the island much? (north of woss) Apparently some great riding up here. I dont do long treks on my wr450 yet but there is a lot to see!

    1. I can't believe we're all still getting Google for free. It's an outstanding tool for sure. I use Google pretty often too.

      My poor little dual-sport is only a 250. It gets me around fine locally, but I'm beginning to think about getting a larger one. I need to sell my street bike first, since I don't think my wife would take kindly to a third contraption in the garage. So, no I don't get up into that neck of the woods. I would love to though... I've heard others say how good the riding is up there.

      Are you a Nanaimo area rider?

  3. I havent ridden nanaimo. I live up at the tippy top of the island, in Alice. I think this weekend ill be in nanaimo and taking my brother out for a deadhorse creek trip but it will be via truck/foot

    1. I hope you're able to get in there. I don't think I mentioned in my blog entry that the gate next to Second Lake is very likely locked. You could hike in from the gate, but it's another 9.3km. We take that long route around from the Englishman River side in order to avoid the locked gates. You might luck out and find it open, but you have to hope like crazy that it gets opened again on your way back. Good luck! It's really worth a visit. Take a good flashlight!

  4. If memory serves me, i thought it was usually open for a certain time peroid during the day but they charged a fee to pass. Trolls! Anyways, ill have to see what my brother remembers.

    Englishman River route....Is it drive-able most of the way, or more of a bike route?

    1. You're thinking of the main gate where they sting you for two bucks. There's a second gate half way along Second Lake and they've made a point of keeping it shut. Unless you're lucky enough to follow a logger or a quad club in there, you're pretty much screwed. Now, I'm talking weekends here. I get very little chance to see if it's open during the week days. :/ The route I mean from the Englishman River side is a bike/quad route. Most could be done by truck, but you'd never get through some bits. The blog showing when we reached the gold mine is that long route in.

  5. Interesting, that makes it a bit more dificult! So from one of your previous posts, we'd be looking at about 9-10km into the creek from the gate half way along Second lake?

    1. Yea, it looks that way. What a shame it is that these people restrict us from exploring this great area. I wish I had better news for you! :( Let me know if you try it.

  6. Will do, i really need the excersise, but will see! Can I ask if you have cords for the gate half way along second lake?

    Ya, once they log the heck out of the woods they will move on and not look back, opening the gates for us again into a place that looks like we've never been to before with little roads and clear cut everywhere

  7. Looks like some good stuff Andy. You never fail to have some great pictures, I would like to ride some of it.


Please Leave a Comment: