There is a trail from the parking area to the lake, about 1km long. When I was there, a large log had fallen across the trail, at a really bad spot, and this effectively ruled out motorcycle access all the way in. If the log wasn't there, then the trail would be difficult, but probably not impossible, for a decent rider. There are a lot of stream crossings, some with slippery corduroy bridges, that make the going rough for 2-wheeled traffic. We hiked in with out camping gear and spent the night.
The trail in T's off with the main camping site to the left and, to the right, a trail along the side of the lake. People were already at the main site so we decided to try our luck with the trail. After hiking another kilometre or so, we backtracked a bit to a fairly tight little spot along the lake shore. At least it was private.
Things were wet but we managed to find enough dry wood to get a fire going, cook dinner, and settle down for the night. The next day, we hiked back out, rode into Port Alberni for lunch, and then cruised the very dusty mainlines down to Lake Cowichan . After dealing with a plugged air filter, and lunch at the A&W, we headed further south to a campsite along the San Juan river... but that's another post.
The route is available for download in both Google Earth and Ozi Explorer formats.
Be sure to read the DISCLAIMER as well.
Now, being the first enduro of the year, this is suppose to be a "Junior Friendly" event, at least by VMC standards, which means it can be ridden by people on dualsport bikes, maybe. Most years, they even have a beginner class that bypassed everything nasty, so riders can wimp-out and race with the 8-year olds.
For those that don't know, an enduro is a race where you try to maintain an average speed from check to check. Thus, an odometer and a watch are necessary. You ride around, over mostly single-track, following arrows and trying to stay "on your minute." It's a lot of fun, if you happen to enjoy pain and exhaustion. By design, earning bragging-rights is never easy. For this race only, the VMC actually trophies out to 10th place in the Junior class. For most of us, it's the one chance per year to FINALLY get that trophy for our TVs.
A decent rider, that can handle single-track, can usually do it on a dualsport 400 or so. I've ridden this event a few times on my KLR-650, but I ride single-track all the time, and I like it. If you are considering riding a VMC event, don't even think about it if you don't have knobbies. My bike is not anywhere near stock. The trails are usually tight, like weaving your handlebars between the trees tight, muddy, rocky, slippery, wet, rutted, and generally very challenging. What's usually missing from the March Hare are the "OMFG, "They CAN'T be serious" sections that spices up the senior and expert level races.
This year was the 4th March Hare enduro I've done, the 3rd on the KLR, and it was the hardest. I've ridden tougher VMC events, but not in the last while and not on a dualsport.
The run between the 1st and 2nd checks was the hardest part, with significant log crossings that were just brutal on Killer and I. I have yet to clean a log crossing where the skid plate hits; the KLR just stops dead and I suddenly realise I have over 300 pounds of bike under me. Every time I had to drag the bike over a log, I was so exhausted I'd ride a little ways and then loose it on root or something and go down.
Overall, I dumped 4 times (2 per loop), broke off both brush guards (one per loop), and bent my shift leaver around until it hit the footpeg (2nd loop). But, I finished. Just as a point of reference, I've been riding Killer for 16 years with the original brush guards - I lost them both in one day. It was a TOUGH ride. Maybe they decided to make it a little harder because of last year... I don't know.
Last year, in 2005, I came in first in the junior class for the March Hare. That and another race netted me the Junior Series Champion trophy for 2005 as well. I'm not sure how that happened. That year was a breeze compared to this ride. Still, this year, even after counting up over 40 minutes in penalties, I managed 3rd place. I still don't believe it, I was hoping for something like - not last. But, as it turns out, everyone else sucked too. The 1st place finisher was around 20 minutes. Last year, I counted up 2 minutes of penalties, second place went to a guy with 3. It shows just how much harder this race was than usual. Nearly half the junior field DNF'd.
Here's the course route but please be aware that the Boyds Pitt area is owned by Timber West. They do not allow people to ride on their land anymore. VMC had a special agreement to hold events but this is now history. As well, the area has been freshly logged. Such is the life of a dirtbiker.
There's more maps and tracks over on the mapping section.
I've posted both Google Earth and Ozi Explorer tracks for downloading.
I've got near 35 years riding experience and I can't remember the last time didn't own a dirtbike... I think I was 6; you do the math. I'm a member of the Victoria Motorcycle club and race a few of their events... the last one of note being the 2006 March Hare Enduro. Yes, my bike is way too big for that kind of nasty single-track, I dumped 4 times, but I still placed 3rd in the Juniors. Yes, I race the junior class - I figure if I'm dragging a KLR650 around, I need a handicap.
My bike has full knobbies, MT-21s being my preferred meat, 14t drive sprocket (and a little bigger on the back too), progressive springs up front, and a hydraulic clutch (OMG - I love that clutch). After the last race, it's short one rear turn signal though (don't ask).
For some odd reason, even on my 650, I like doing single-track and fast old fire roads... active logging roads bore me to tears. Of course, the lousy KLR seat probably has more to do with the tears than the boredom. Sometimes, usually when I'm dragging "Killer" over a log, I think I've got the wrong bike for the way I like to ride. On the other hand, if I had my old XR-250, I'd probably not bother racing. I like having people make snide comments before the race... and the the look on their faces at the end, after I've whupped them and their prissy little trailer-queens. After all REAL men RIDE to the event, right?
I have a Garmin GPS mounted on my handlebar and am heavy into digital mapping (OZI, ArcView, etc.) If you're looking for tracks or maps of Vancouver Island, check out the mapping section HERE.