December 27, 2014

The Power of Mother Nature

You can ride in the Powell River backcountry year round. The lower elevations have clear trails, and the high country snow is easily accessible. But remember, logging is also a year round activity, so check the hotline at (604) 485-3100 and watch for vehicles on the main roads.

Khartoum Lake makes a good winter destination. Just in case, bring your chainsaw and tools to clear roads and trails along the way if needed.

We've been to here quite a few times. The first was by kayak up Lois Lake, through the Lois River and into Khartoum Lake. That trip we camped at the Forest Service campsite on the west shore. We used the same campsite for the book launch party for Up the Main, the second book in Coastal BC Stories series. Friends came by car, truck and quad for a lakeside fire and BBQ.

On one winter trip we saw the devastating results of a powerful storm. Our quad ride up Stillwater Main and Third Lake Road to Khartoum Lake was through a path of destruction. High winds snapped and uprooted huge second growth trees. Sections of the roadway looked as if they had been logged, but the ravaged stumps told a different story. Downed logs of this size were no match for a small chainsaw, but fortunately someone with heavy equipment had been there before us.

That same year, the bridge near the Khartoum Lake campsite was washed out. The approaches were gone and the center packed with huge boulders and logs. Imagine the power that caused it. Runoff from heavy rains must have been blocked upstream.

When the water was released, the river's level raised, washing out the bridge and scouring trees in its path. Sometimes, when we are sheltered in our city homes, we forget the true power of nature. A trip just off the beaten path can be an awakening experience.  -

Here's a short video about another ride to Khartoum Lake.

Want to know more about quad riding in the Powell River area? Check out Up the Main and Farther Up the Main by Powell River Books. -- Margy

December 7, 2014

Return to Goat Island by ATV

Click to enlarge for details.
Fall is a good time to go quad riding in the Powell River back country. We used a recent cool, sunny day to head out in our barge.

With short days we couldn't go far and still have enough sunlight to ride, so we chose nearby Goat Island. From our float cabin home base, it takes about forty-five minutes.

There was no logging activity, so we could use the Western Forest Products barge ramp and dock. I hovered offshore while Wayne prepared the bikes for offload.

Clover Barge Ramp
This time of year there's a lot of activity on the lake with the fall hunting season open. We've seen people taking their quads and motorcycles up on landing crafts, barges, decks of houseboats, home-built barges and rafts, and squeezed into regular boats.

It's a good reminder to wear bright colours and keep your eyes and ears open.

Clover Lake
The first leg of our journey took us north on Clover Main. We've traveled this section of road before, but not to the end.

Along the way we stopped at the quad trail heading down to the mouth of Clover Lake. It's a good road, but we decided to hike down. Bad move with all the runoff and muddy puddles.

We'll know better for next time.

But we did discover why they call it Clover Lake, lots of clover growing in the area.

As we progressed north, the road went from active to not used in many, many years. We retraced our steps at the ends of spurs, and continued as far as the alders, cedars and firs in the roadbed would allow us to travel.

I think the old roads are really pretty to ride.

We turned around and headed back down Clover Main. At the main junction we continued south to find the opening to Elvis Main. This section of road is named after the King of Pop who stands proudly on the point, also named in his honour.

Riding a section of Elvis Main on Goat Island.

No caption needed!
This logging road hasn't been used for quite some time, and is being quickly overgrown. But we were able to wind our way around trees and bushes to make it to the end of the road.

Unfortunately, we couldn't make it all the way to the Elvis statue without a slog through the bush, and there wasn't enough sunlight left for that. -- Margy

November 19, 2014

Goat Island Quad Ride to Frogpond

Massive Goat Island sits in the middle of Powell Lake. To ride here, you need water transportation (boat, barge, raft, houseboat) to reach the Western Forest Products barge ramps and docks.

This is a very active logging and road building area (think blasting) even on weekends.  You can call the WFP hotline at (604) 485-3132, but for information about Powell Lake it's best to talk to someone in the office during the work week at (604) 485-3100. 

Wayne and I picked a sunny summer day to use our 25-foot barge to transport our two Yamaha Kodiak 450s for a day trip to Goat Island. The barge is large enough for three full sized quads. Nice when we want to go riding with friends.

The barge travels at 7 knots, so it took us an hour to get from our float cabin in Hole in the Wall to the Goat Dock (also known as the Clover Dock).

Wayne drove up to the barge ramp and we offloaded our quads. Because this is an active area, the ramp is in excellent condition.

Then we moved the barge to the logging dock to tie up out of the way.

Clover Lake with Powell Lake in the distance.

We started up Clover Main with glimpses of Clover Lake to the left. I think I know how it got its name. I saw patches of clover growing in the moist soil.

At the junction with the road Frogpond South we turned left and started a gradual climb.

We stopped at a viewpoint for a drink and snack, and to enjoy the surroundings.

The road took us through sections of second growth forest, and cut blocks in various stages of regrowth.

Farther up ahead we could see the back side of the massive granite peak on the north end of Goat Island.

This is home territory for Mountain Goats, but we didn't find any with our naked eyes.

We rode as far as the south end of Frogpond. It sounds small, but is actually the largest lake on Goat Island.

There are even a few float cabins tucked away in this secluded island paradise.

We retraced our tracks back to the barge ramp.  There are so many new and old logging roads on Goat Island I know we will be coming there again (and again).

Thanks for coming along on our ride. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or send an email using the link in our profile. you can contact the Powell River ATV Club:

Mario Gusola, President
Hanna English, Sec./Treas.

October 31, 2014

Powell Lake Narrows Logging Road Ride

Wayne and I purchased a new means of transportation for our quads on Powell Lake. We were planning to get a landing craft, but none were available in the smaller size we desired, or our price range.

Then we found the perfect solution, a 24-foot welded aluminum barge.  It can hold three quads if our friend John wants to join us on a ride. It's also a great work boat for us to haul materials and equipment up and down the lake.

One of our first rides on Powell Lake was to the Narrows logging dock and barge ramp near the entrance to Goat River and Goat Lake.

Of course, logging companies open up the backcountry for their own purposes.  But they also provide a great service to recreational users who want to get through dense forested areas to enjoy nature.

First we called the Western Forest Products office at (604) 485-3100 to get a logging update. The Western Forest Products Stillwater Forest Operation encompasses the land surrounding Powell Lake.

We learned there wouldn't be any logging at the Narrows, so we were able to unload our quads at the ramp and park our barge at the nearby dock without interfering with any crews.

We ended up camping for the night to make it a two day adventure. Once the quads are on shore, the barge becomes our tent platform.

The logging roads in the Narrows region lead through forested areas about 100 years old.

Interspersed are slashes in a wide range of regrowth from current plantings through trees already decades old.

Powell Lake from Narrows Main with float cabins along the shore.

Click here to see an online map of the region. It's updated monthly. Care needs to be taken when using logging roads. Western Forest Products also has a 24/7 hotline at 604-485-3132 where you can get recorded information about logging, road building, and hauling activity.

Powell Lake looking towards the Rainbow area near sunset.

Ferns and Fallers is a new publication by Powell River Living Magazine that highlights the partnership between the logging and recreational communities in and around Powell River.

This ride does require water access, but it's an example of one of the many places you can find to explore by quad, motorcycle, offroad vehicle, bike, and hiking. -- Margy

October 17, 2014

Powell River Lakes Loop by Quad

This time of year you need to take full advantage of sunny (even partly cloudy) days. When we start a quad ride from town, we have to get up early and take our boat down the lake. Our destination -- the airport hanger where we store our quads on a tandem trailer.

We head south of Powell River on Highway 101. It’s hard to believe, but this is the northern extension of the same highway that passed our former home in California.

A left turn at Dixon Road takes us off the pavement and onto Goat Lake Main. The main is a busy logging road on weekdays and has plenty of potholes, but is safe to travel with our large trailer in tow on weekends and holidays.

We like to park at Tin Hat Junction where there's a large turnout and map signboard. Today we are taking what I call the Lakes Loop. We offload our quads and continue north on the main to intercept Spring Lake Main branching off to the left. This junction is well marked with signs pointing to Lewis Lake and Tin Hat Mountain.

Logging in the area has created new roads through cut blocks. Following the most traveled sections we came to another sign at the entrance to the Lewis Lake Campground. We were surprised to find a large camper topped by a canoe towing an enclosed quad trailer. He must really trust his rig to bring it so far back into the bush, but what a way to see the country.

We had lunch at the lake and Wayne tried a few casts from the wobbly dock.

After leaving Lewis Lake, we took the narrow trail down to Spring Lake. This lake is small and shallow, but there’s a beautiful view between the trees that shade the rustic picnic area. The last part of the trail had a steep spot. This is exactly why I got my Yamaha Kodiak 450 with 4-wheel drive, but did I remember to turn it on? NO!

After a tipsy-turvy spell, I came to a stop facing a tree. I engaged my 4X4, backed easily onto the trail, and the rest of the way down.

Back on Spring Lake Main we turned onto Giavanni (Giavanno on some maps) Main. From its lofty track we could look down on the head of Haslam Lake (Powell River’s water supply) and then Giavanni Lake. This part of the ride was familiar. We popped out into the remains of Fiddlehead Farm (only a few apple trees now) and then onto Rainbow Main, skirting the southern edge of Powell and Goat Lakes. It's been a few years since there has been active logging along this section and the steep sides have grow over with alders and brush. That's good for me and my fear of heights ("Quad Acrophobia" in Up the Main).

At the junction with Goat Lake Main, we headed back south towards the truck. But first we made a short stop at the picnic area at the north end of Windsor Lake and then the Powell River Canoe Route portage at the north end of Dodd Lake. Time (and sunlight) was running out, so we made a dash down the main past Ireland and Nanton Lakes without stopping. Our trusty truck and trailer were waiting to receive us and take us past our final lake of the day, Lois Lake.

That was our Lakes Loop day trip. There are so many choices for short, long, easy and hard rides right at our doorstep. Want to read about more of them? ATV adventures in and around Powell River, BC, are the focus of the books Up the Main and Farther Up the Main. You can go to to get more information.

Also, stop by Tourism Powell River to purchase the new Powell River recreation map.

Do you ride a quad or bike? What are some of your favorite places to get away, relax and see the backcountry? -- Margy

October 12, 2014

Majestic Blue Ridge Viewpoint

Fall weekends are a wonderful time for quad rides in the Powell River backcountry. The weather is cooler, the bugs are gone, and the roads and trails aren't as dusty.

Logging may continue on weekends, so you need to be on the lookout for logging trucks that might still be working. The good news, because it's a weekend, they should be looking out for you as well.

Don't have a quad or bike? Many of the trips along logging roads can be taken by jeep, truck, or even car if you are careful and know when to stop.

A ride to Blue Ridge is a great choice, especially this time of year.

To get there, take Haslam Steet out of Cranberry to Duck Lake Forest Service Road. At the south end of Duck Lake, make a left and cross the bridge where Lang Creek tumbles on its way to Malaspina Strait. We like to park a few miles up the road at the trailhead for Mud Lake.

Here we offload our quads and follow the road to the Granite Lake turnoff. At this point, the road narrows substantially, and then becomes an offroad trail past Granite Lake up to the viewpoint called Blue Ridge.

The last portion of the trail was built by our friend John and his quad buddies. Wayne calls them the "Pruners of the Wilderness" and you can read all about their trail building expertise in the Coastal BC Stories book Up the Main.

From Blue Ridge you can look down on the deep blue waters of March Lake surrounded by the vibrant green of the forest. Look to the northwest and see Haslam Lake winding its way down towards Powell River to provide them with cool, refreshing drinking water.

And yes, that's John's famous dog Bro.

Looking to the west you can see across the Malaspina Strait to Texada Island with Vancouver Island beyond. People talk about the beauty of places like Yosemite, and how enthralling it is to see the valley as it stretches below framed by El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks. The Powell River backcountry isn't a national park, but I think its beauty can rival any of them. What do you think?

Up the Main takes you into Powell River's backcountry and surrounding areas. Of the 20 chapters, eight take you on quad, motorbike or bicycle rides to exciting destinations in the bush. Five chapters let you experience life in a floating cabin on Powell Lake, four take you boating or kayaking on nearby lakes and the ocean, two let you view the stars through a 8" telescope in some of the best dark sky in the world, and one wings you high above Coastal BC in a Piper Arrow. So come along "up the main" for an adventure you won't forget. -- Margy

October 7, 2014

Dunn Dock on Goat Island

To reach Goat Island, you need a boat, landing craft, or barge. There are two Western Forest Products docks and barge ramps available. It's best to contact WFP for information about active logging and road building prior to riding.

Stillwater Forest Operations
201-7373 Duncan Street
Powell River, BC V8A 1W6
Office: (604) 485-3100
Road Hotline: (604) 485-3132

The newer of the two landings is the Dunn Dock on the south side of Goat Island. We chose to ride there on the BC long weekend, so there wasn't any road building or forestry work going on. The barge ramp, dock, and roads were all available for recreational use.

From the Dunn Dock you look east up Powell Lake towards the high country and the entrance to Goat River and Goat Lake.

The first afternoon we rode from the barge ramp up Dunn Main. First we explored some of the new logging roads along the southern shore. Equipment was parked in place, ready to continue work after the holiday.

The new roads are wide, ready for the "fat trucks" to haul logs from the cut blocks down to the log dump. The old roads are narrower, but in good condition.

There has been extensive logging on Goat Island over the years. The slashes are in different stages of regrowth.

And there are still some one hundred plus year old trees along the way.

We returned to the barge to camp for the night. As usual, we were alone. Even on busy holiday weekends, you can find uncrowded locations.

We cook on the dock with a single burner butane stove. It packs in its own case and is handy for hot meals after a long ride. Stoves are about $25 and butane fuel costs $3 a canister, which lasts for several meals. I've put together simple food cooking and serving kits that we leave stored in the barge for easy trip preparation.

On the second day we took Dunn Main to connect with Frog Pond Main and Clover Main to cross over the island to the main Goat Dock on the west side.

This was a very beautiful ride. Several of the old spurs we tried were blocked by blown down trees or rock slides.  Unfortunately, we didn't have our trail clearing supplies with us this trip.

We went up Spire Lake Main on the second day, but weren't able to find Spire Lake or the two old growth trees we can see on the west ridge of Goat Island from our float cabin in Hole in the Wall.

But there's always a next time. -- Margy

UPDATE: Since this post was written the Dunn Dock was removed and the barge ramp and logging road are no longer maintained. Western Forest Products doesn't plan to reopen this location at this time. Goat Island logging roads can still be accessed via the Goat Lake (Clover) main dock and barge ramp.

October 6, 2014


Welcome to the newest blog from Powell River Books. Powell River Quad Rides brings together and updates all of the ATV posts from the Powell River Books Blog into one easy to use site.

In general, we hope to inspire our readers to get out and enjoy the backcountry and nature. In particular, we hope to encourage you to come visit Powell River and see what this wonderful upcoast city has to offer.

Wayne and Margy Lutz