This introduction to backcountry travel samples some of the best Strathcona Provincial Park has to offer. With a multi-day canoe trip on glacier-carved lakes, and challenging hikes up into Vancouver Island’s subalpine with sweeping views of the Strathcona mountain range, campers will challenge themselves, and learn to be comfortable and self-sufficient in the backcountry. This trip fulfills the requirements for the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award.
After arriving at Strathcona Park Lodge you’ll meet your fellow Expedition members and your instructors. The instructors will show you around the Lodge and will play some fun games so everyone can get to know each other. Next, to the High Ropes Course you’ll go. Suspended 40-feet in the air this exciting challenge is a fun introduction to your Expedition. Dinner is in the Whale Room, our dining hall, and the first night is spent camping at a site on our property. You’ll also begin planning your expedition.
After breakfast in the Whale Room, you will spend the morning packing food, organizing gear and loading canoes on the trailer. After lunch in the Whale Room it is off to the far end of Buttle Lake and the launching point of your six day canoe and hiking journey. You will eat lunch in the Whale Room, and then help load your boats and gear to be driven down to your starting point for your 6 day canoe trip, which will also include an exciting and challenging day hike. The trip starts on Buttle Lake with its intricate shoreline full of bays and sandy beaches, in the heart of Strathcona Provincial Park.
After a hearty breakfast you’ll pack your canoes and head out on your great adventure. Exploring coves, bays and river mouths you’ll paddle down Buttle Lake under the towering massifs of snow capped mountains. The scenery is spectacular looking down this long and narrow lake. In camp you’ll work as a team to set up shelter and make meals. You’ll learn about no trace camping, canoe strokes, navigation skills and more. You’ll paddle to the trailhead for a challenging and day hike up Flower Ridge on Day 5.
Flower Ridge is a beautiful and strenuous day hike that connects Buttle Lake to the mountains of Strathcona Park. You’ll travel up into the sub alpine range with your group and be rewarded with sweeping views of the Coast Mountains, Strathcona Range and Buttle Lake. After your descent, you’ll settle back into your campsite for dinner and maybe even a campfire with your group.
You’ll set out to paddle your canoes back towards the lodge property. Along the way you can check out a surprising waterfall and one more hike for a look back towards where the journey began. If the wind blows, you might hoist a sail and relax before returning to Strathcona Park Lodge for a celebration dinner on day 7. Enjoy one last night camping together at the lodge.
After packing up, enjoy a closing ceremony and a final debrief with your instructors before saying goodbye to your new friends and traveling home.