Arrival and Expedition Preparations
Arrive in Nanaimo, BC by 2pm to meet other guests and start trip preparations. The afternoon will be spent collecting personal equipment, camping gear and backpacks. An expedition briefing follows, where you will be shown the route plan, the emergency planning and receive the meal plans for the week. Each guest is responsible for their own food preparation and cooking - equipment and food will be provided.
We will hold a canoe instruction and safety talk where you can familiarise yourself with the basics of canoe travel and the theory of canoe over canoe rescue. Following a full gear check, we will depart to the Scout Camp Campground on Great central lake, where we will overnight, ready to set off early morning.
You are suggested to have all belongings that you will be taking on the trek prepared before the safety briefing. All personal equipment, clothing and supplies must be waterproofed in the dry sacs provided and clearly labelled with your name and emergency contact information.
Great Central Lake
We strike camp early and get on the lake before the wind rises. Great Central Lake runs east-west across Vancouver Island and offers spectacular scenery, hidden beaches and coves. Often in the late morning and afternoon, the wind picks up, funnelling ocean breeze from the West Coast, our goal is to beat the wind and enjoy a serene paddle. We stop at late morning for a prepared lunch on one of the rock outcrops that adorn the lake, before completing our paddle into Strathcona Park and the start of our hiking expedition. The paddle down Great Central lake is 27km and requires a good level of physical fitness and stamina.
Upon arrival at the trail head we will set up camp using the provincial campground. The floating dock provides an excellent opportunity to rest, relax and enjoy the last of the days sunshine and watch the sun go down over the mountains.
Trailhead to Cable Car
A full day hike along a variety of trails that cross several bridges and creeks to evening camp at the cable car. The hike starts out along a prepared trail, where we duck beneath fallen trees and cross over small creeks and creekbeds. We'll cross several streams and creeks on our hike as we meander through the back-country towards our destination for the evening at the cable car.
The cable car marks the end of our day hike and is located half way to the Falls. The cable car will be used the following morning to cross the canyon and access the trail that takes us to camp 2.
Please note that there are no washroom facilities on this day and we will be camping in the backcountry.
Cable Car to Camp 2 and Love Lake
Our hike today is shorter, but gaining in elevation as we cross the canyon and proceed up river towards the campground at Della Falls The trail here becomes narrow in places and we find ourselves climbing over boulder strewn river beds and following narrow bridges as we work our way up-river.
The valley closes in and we are surrounded by impressive rock outcrops and steep-sided valley walls as we approach camp 2 and our overnight camp location. Resting for a short meal break we have the option to climb the switchback trail to Love Lake, a beautiful alpine lake with glacial runoff, high above the valley. On our ascent we get an eagle-eye view of Della Falls and Della Lake, feeding it from the top.
We descend from Love Lake to Camp 2 and then follow the river upstream for a short while to the base of Della Falls. Della Falls is arguably one of the tallest waterfalls in Canada with an impressive drop of 1,443 ft.
Camp 2 to Trailhead
Our final day hike takes us from Camp 2 at Della Falls back down the valley to the trailed at the end of Great Central Lake.
Descending the path we will retrace our route, following the river and crossing the cable car at Camp 1. After a short lunch stop we'll proceed to our final night at the trail head camp and make preparations for an early departure on our final day..
Great Central Lake and Departure
We will aim to be on the water shortly after dawn, beating the prevailing wind and giving us ample time to paddle the return leg of Great Central Lake to Scout Beach, where we meet our bus. The paddle home will take most of the day and we expect to arrive at the pickup point mid afternoon.
From Scout Beach, we have a short bus ride back to Nanaimo to our departure point. This will be the end of the expedition and guests will have their own transport arrangements from this point.