Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Western Speedway Swap and Shop

Just had a chance to visit Western Speedway Swap and Shop last Sunday. This event is located at 2207 Millstream Road in Langford and is held on the oval racetrack normally used for ‘hit to pass’ and other stock car events.

If you happen to be looking for curios, baby gear, kid’s books, fishing gear, wood products, old cameras, plants, memorabilia and other hard to find items such as a Silver Springs Brewery keg label from 1908 this is the place.

Situated on the Western Speedway grounds there is lots of parking available, washrooms, a concession stand plus only costs only a dollar to enter per person.The Western Speedway Swap and Shop, Vancouver Island's largest flea market, is held outdoors every Sunday from 7 am to 2 pm weather permitting and runs from April to the end of September.

If you have lots of stuff yourself and would like to get rid of it tables are available at a cost of $10. More info: Western Speedway Swap and Shop.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mount Tzouhalem

Walked up Mount Tzouhalem yesterday with a group of friends from Club Mud. The mountain which is located near Cowichan Bay offers one of the most spectacular views of the Cowichan Valley.

The hike starts at a parking lot bordering the south boundary of St. Ann's Catholic Church. The church is located next to Providence Farm on Tzouhalem Road near the mouth of the Cowichan River.

From the parking lot there is an unmarked forestry road that weaves around the back fields of Providence Farm. Unfortunately there are no signs showing the route up Mount Tzouhalem so you have to rely on a gut feeling on the proper route up. At times there is some pink surveyors tape that helps guide up the fairly steep climb.

The trail takes about one hour or so to get to a lookout point at around 427 metres (1,400 feet) in altitude. Here you can find a cross that has been erected and one of the best views of the surrounding landscape of the Cowichan Valley.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nanaimo Lakes Campsite

We went into Nanaimo Lakes recently. The Nanaimo Lakes are a set up four lakes in the region where the headwaters of the Nanaimo River starts about 35 km (22 miles) south-west of Nanaimo.

To get here the route starts on Nanaimo Lakes Road which is just north of Cassidy off Hwy 1. From here you go up Nanaimo Lakes Road eventually joining up with the Nanaimo Lakes Main Line forestry road.

You have to pass through a TimberWest security gate which is generally open to the public during Sunday and Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm plus Friday and Saturday from 8 am to 8 pm. The gate hours often change check at the main gate for any seasonal changes in gate closure times or go to TimberWest website.

Once past the main gate you can find camping at First and Second Lake. The campsites are very spacious and clean. There is no running water here and pit toilets are only available. Access to the Nanaimo River between First and Second Lake is situated along the lakeside.

Access to Fourth and Third Lakes can only be done on weekends as active logging and heavy equipment is on the gravel roads during the week.

For more information see Nanaimo Lakes Campsite.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park

Just got back from an all day trip into Carmanah/Walbran Provincial Park leaving from Victoria. The trip took around 11.5 hours with total distance traveled 444 kilometres or 276 miles.

Carmanah/Walbran Provincial Park is noted as a sanctuary of "old growth" Sitka Spruce and 1000 year old cedar trees. The trailhead into to see the trees is situated on southern Vancouver Island about 38 km (24 miles) from Nitinat.

The park is absolutely amazing with some of the giant trees only 45 minutes or so from the parking lot. To get to the trees you have to walk on a boardwalk system designed to help protect the natural ecosystem through-out the forest floor.

For more information check out BC Parks website on the Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park.