Backcountry Classic is a 12-day, multi-sport expedition, and one of our most challenging camps. This expedition fulfills the requirements for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award. While physically demanding, this trip allows participants to explore some of the most remote areas on Vancouver Island, with the beautiful Strathcona Provincial Park as a backdrop.
As a self-propelled trip, the group will leave directly from Strathcona Park Lodge, travelling 26 kilometres by canoe to the Marble Meadows trailhead. This water-accessible route will lead campers into the alpine of British Columbia’s oldest provincial park, where they will learn the basics of route-finding and snow-travel on their way to Mount McBride.
After the group arrives at Strathcona Park Lodge they will begin packing and planning the expedition. Dinner is in the Whale Room, our dining hall, and the group will sleep at the lodge’s base camp.
With a hearty breakfast out of the way you’ll load the canoes and begin paddling down Upper Campbell Lake. The mountains will get higher and snowier as you head south into Buttle Lake, exploring coves and beaches. After making camp you’ll begin learning the backcountry basics: how to set up shelter, prepare dinner and light a fire.
The group will continue down Buttle Lake, passing several river estuaries before arriving at Phillips Creek and the trail to Marble Meadows. Here they will set up one more lake camp and lighten their load before heading into the mountains for six days.
The switchbacking trail climbs steadily, passing through old growth forests and onto the edge of Marble Meadows; a wilderness camp will be set in the rolling plateau of wildflowers and patches of forest.
Day 5 - 9
Spend the next 5 days exploring the alpine area of Marble Meadows including Wheaton hut, Limestone cap, Morrison Spire and, the highlight, the summit of Mount McBride. Each destination demands fitness, group management and teamwork, as well as new skills like ice axe use, snow climbing, off trail navigation and map reading. At camp each night the group will take on more responsibility with meals, group decisions and planning.
Day 10 - 11
Down at lake level again – it’s time for the paddle back. As a well-oiled group, the canoes will fly across the lake. Enjoy refreshing swims and lakeside campsites as your canoes hug the shore on the journey home. A celebratory dinner and last night with your group rounds out your WYLD experience.
On your final day enjoy your closing ceremony and the encouraging feedback from your instructors. It is also time to clean up, pack up and finally head home knowing you have accomplished more than you likely thought possible; proud of your new skills, increased confidence and shared memories.