|11-02-2014, 12:55 PM||#1|
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Extreme Pacific SouthWest (of Canada)
Indian Arm, a pita bread sandwich, and the tallest outhouse you ever done see.
SnackDaddy was late picking me up, something that was OK with me. I just drank some more coffee.
Usually I'm the last one ready in our crew, so it was a nice change.
He'd misplaced his bike key and couldn't find it.
So where was the lost key retrieved?
It was in the ignition for Snackdaddy’s bike all along. Murphy's law.
The reason for our early (for us) 8:30 am departure is that we had two destinations that we wanted to reach in the same day, both in opposite directions.
In BC you get 6 months of riding overall, but if it's a heavy snow year, lots of locations are only reachable in a 2 month window of August thru September.
We’d heard that the Indian Arm FSR (Forest Service Road) had been reactivated to allow the twinning of an LNG gas pipeline, at which point the first nations band decided to do some logging on the land in the area because the road had been re-commissioned.
Here's a map of the general area:
It’s not often that you hear of a road being opened, most of the time they’re being closed. Snackdaddy and I had taken the Indian River road before in 2011, and it was gnarly, so we were keen to have a little easier go of it this time. We figured that when they were decommissioning it, one guy got paid for each cross ditch he dug, while another guy got paid depending on how deep he dug each one.
So here we are getting unloaded.
We reached Squamish around 11 and set out. I know that some people are already back by 11 from a ride they set out on by 5, but that isn't us. The weather was pretty good. Which in the lower mainland means it wasn’t raining sheets.
We headed up the FSR, and saw a few other vehicles. We came to the first river crossing that 3 years ago we’d had to lower our bikes by hand down over cement retaining blocks to continue on. Here's what the crossing looked like in 2011:
The last trip involved a lot of grunting and heaving. Not so much this time. Amazing what a culvert and a digger can do. Here's what it looks like now from the opposite direction:
We carried on along the road a few km’s, where I waited for Snackdaddy. The power lines above his head take power from Run of river projects down to the coast. Or is that power from the coast up to Squamish?
We conferred that today we would keep more of a “recreational” pace. I think this is an important thing to establish when riding with other people. I was fine with this. However, If I’d known how much we’d pack into the day, I’d probably have suggested a “Recreational +” pace. This is one reason I ride alone fairly often. Sometimes I want to doddle, other times I only stop for gas. The second major bridge we came to was a nonevent compared to what it was 3 years ago. Here it is in 2011, Mike was riding his DRZ:
We stopped to talk to a land surveyor working for the LNG company. Mike talked while I took the opportunity to eat copious amounts of blueberries.
Strangely, I never saw one black bear. Lots of scat, but not one bear. I was OK with this, I didn't want some escaped circus bear sneaking out and riding away on my WR while I picked blueberries..
We stopped along the road to see rusted out remnants of what I don’t know…
Hey SnackDaddy, there’s a naked girl serving cocktails in there!
OK, maybe I lied!
So for the next 15 km’s there are more cross ditches than you can shake a stick at. I’m getting better at jumping them, but they still require a lot of attention, as they vary in depth from “Dang” to “FUUUUUUUUUUU$%#^**” needless to say, there are no pictures. It's a cross ditch. If you live in the PacNW, you've probably seen a billion of them.
The Indian River runs parallel to the road. it widens out considerably at some points, and really narrows down in others. There is a pink salmon run every second year. This year was not one of the run years. Here is a view looking south:
Here’s one of the wider, flatter areas:
Looks like fertile spawning grounds fer sure!
Here’s Snackdaddy eyeing up my wr250r:
We’d left the lower mainland and driven North to Squamish to only then head south again. I’ve been to the top of Indian Arm by boat many times, as I work in Deep Cove, which is near the south end of Indian Arm. It’s just way more fun to explore all the roads that are in the area by bike, instead of walking the logging roads by foot if you arrive by boat.
Here’s the dock at the south end of the road, or the very northern end of the Arm. This is looking south:
This is what I eat for lunch when riding: whole wheat pita with PB and cherry and chocolate preserve I made 3 summers ago. Pita is pre-crushed, so it saves me the trouble of squishing my sandwich, which always seems to happen. The Romans, who invented pita, were on to something. Peanut butter is my staple food, the Romans probably invented it too. It seems like anytime you think up something new, you can trace it back to the Romans or Greeks. If it wasn't for the lead poisoning and orgies, they probably would have invented motorcycles.
Here’s SnackDaddy eyeing up his new truck. I think he was smitten with the KTM colour scheme. I told him the mileage would suck, and it probably wouldn't fit in most underground parking lots.
This is looking north from where we came, the mouth of the river is on the left. You can't see it , but the Wigwam Inn, once a hotel/brothel, but now owned by the Vancouver Yatch Club, is just a little further over on the left. It's a popular weekend destination, has been for a century:
Here's a good document. It deals more with Granite Falls, which is directly east of the Wigwam Inn at the top of the arm. I started taking some photos through my goggles, as the sun came out and the dynamic range on my phone’s camera is awful.
I made a mental note of this great camping are, as I usually camp a little further down the arm when we go boat camping.
Here’s the view of the river just a little further up the road. There’s a shack that is used by the first nations when there is the salmon run
As well as a maintenance shed that was used by a previous logging operation. This maintenance shed housed a heavy duty mechanics shop, as there are inspection pits and i beams in the ceiling used for winching. Probably dates back to the 80’s. I had a flashback to growing up mid Van. Island in the 80's.
Except it's not raining today.
The trail bike that had been there in 2011 was nowhere to be found, I wonder what became of it:
We decided to head north east to Norton Lake, a location where we’d explored in the past. We crossed over this one of many unnamed rivers:
Before we went up to Norton Lake, however, we decided to take some roads to the east to see where the river in the above photo originated from. Mike had heard about a waterfall so we took a road that ended at the fenced off Coquitlam water shed. There was a waterfall, nothing massive, but still pretty cool:
If you live in Coquitlam and your water tastes funny, don't blame me.
I noticed on my gps that there was a small road leading to Belknap lake. When we rode by, I couldn’t see the road, and even when we stopped, I wasn’t sure where the road was. SnackDaddy’s GPS, which had newer software, didn’t even show a road. This is where it should have been:
Looking on my GPS, it appeared that there was a round about route to Belknap lake from Norton Lake, so we decided to hit Norton, and then Belknap.
Norton Lake is a great lake, fantastic for swimming, and probably fishing. It’s at about 2000’, and used to be a Forest Service Recreation site, way back when Mulroney was Prime Minister, you could afford a home in greater Vancouver, nobody had a crew cab p/u, and gas was 39.9 cents per liter. Here’s the road up to Norton lake.
Make a left and you get a glance of the lake
Word of the opening of the Indian Arm FSR travelled fast, as there were clearly signs of someone driving it.
The dock is getting on with age, but still floats. It’s kind of cool with all the metallic cedar around, reflecting light, shining like silver in the sun. We had a much needed dip in the lake
The road to Norton is about 5 km’s of baby head sized boulders, easy enough on a dirtbike or smaller dual sport, doable on an unloaded klr etc.
Insert gratuitous bike shot here:
So we headed down from Norton Lake, and I realized that the road to Norton Lake did not circle around to Belknap lake. I wanted to see Belknap Lake, so convinced SnackDaddy that we should ride around and search for the road again.
I don’t know what it is. I’m fascinated with how quickly nature takes back over roads and such carved into her surface. I also love finding remains of human activity that harken back to the days of yore.
The road to Belknap was just discernible as a road. Just knowing that at some point this had been an active recreation spot with people coming up in the 70's and 80's to camp and fish. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pristine view of unadulterated wilderness, but finding a trappers cabin intact, or an old log flume while mtn. biking on the North Shore is cool. It just kind of adds to it. Anyway, SnackDaddy decided to wait at the bikes in case an escaped circus bear came along to take them for a spin while I bush wacked.
I managed to find the old road, and made it to Belknap lake.
Neat lake, but no beach, or area to camp. My curiousity satiated, I turned around, It was almost 5 in the evening now.
The weather had behaved and now the sun was out. I wanted to press on to Brohm Ridge, but didn’t want to force SnackDaddy if he didn’t want to head up there. He’d mentioned that the second leg of the trip was a pretty good haul in itself, even when not combined with the trip to Norton.
We made the call to push on, as Brohm Ridge, which is North of Squamish, might possibly be turned into a ski hill, or developed, and I really wanted to see it before that happened. Mike was pretty keen on getting back up for a visit as well. We hit the highway, and Mike stopped for gas along the way. I Decided not to, as I just installed a 3.1 gallon IMS tank, and figured I had the range…..
Naaaaah, nothing happened, I didn’t even hit reserve. The IMS 3.1 gallon tank is really well suited to the wr250r if you ask me.
Anyway, we stop on the road up to Brohm, and I’m thinking “Is this it?”
I was kind of disappointed, I mean it was nice and all, but, nothing spectacular.
Apparently we were nowhere near the top.
It’d been years since SnackDaddy had been up there, so we hit a few dead ends trying to find the correct route:
Then came the long and superfun uphill... we stopped at this old relic. Wasn’t sure what it was so headed further on up. (From later research, I found it was a tram to get folks up to the chalet)
Here's when I got my first look at the chalet up near the top. Cool!:
Holy crap, here's the tallest outhouse you ever did see!
We weren't even near the top, but the views were getting better:
So apparently this Brohm ridge place was once the sight of a proposed/fledgling ski run, and that is when the chalet was built. Shortly afterward, it was re-possessed by the provincial government, but is once again up for development. You can read more about it here:
Squamish is nothing like Whistler. It receives a different weather pattern (wetter, maritime climate, heavy snow), and is much lower in elevation.
Why anybody would want to build a ski hill in Squamish is beyond me. I think it has way more to do with the fact that two of the investors are property developers.
The ski hill? They could care less if it is a bust, they just want to develop the crap outta the ridge and sell it to out of province absentee owners. Similar to what is allowed to happen in the city of Vancouver.
BC is built on a few things. Building roads and developments is one of them.
One of the developers is the Aqualini group, the same people who own the Vancouver Canucks, one of the most expensive hockey tickets in the league, as well as the most expensive concession in the whole league. So what did Aqualini do earlier this year to help improve sagging profits from a team that is in the proverbial toilet?
He fired the concession staff to hire new hires at a lower rate.
The Aqualini group also holds the honour of having the largest fine levied in 2011 levied against them for unsafe work practices.
That in itself leads me to question the intent behind this resort.
You come to a place like this and you go “You know, this is such a beautiful place, I could care less if I wasn’t allowed to dirt bike here, I mean, make it a park, there’s enough spots in Squamish to build. Squamish, at about 20,000 people, is suffering from the same shoddy development practices that make it look like most any other town in North America; Build a highway, put lots of traffic lights on it, and populate the elongated highway with big box stores.
Welcome to Anywhere, Canada!
Ok, sorry for the rant, back to the ride. So I'm totally focused on the road, but I can I hear Snackdaddy riding up behind me on the babyhead boulder strewn road (super fun), I stopped on a tamer section to see what was up
but it wasn't Snackdaddy following me, it’s some guy on a Super Sherpa wearing hiking boots and jeans, with a tripod and Camera gear attached to the rack on his bike! He keeps on boppin' by, probably on his way to get some photos of the sunset.
I waited for Snackdaddy, and we eventually made our way to the bowl, which is composed of sand. The whole time we’re being careful not to ride over anything that is not a pre-existing trail.
Mike whipped around in the bowl for a while:
We headed a bit further east from the bowl, but the ground started to be snow covered, as well as extremely snotty mud underneath.
We didn't want to scuff up the place so we turned around
By now it was actually starting to get dark, and we still had about 15 km’s to go before the road.
I snapped some photos looking north east, look at the Black Tusk on the left side of this shot, compared to the flattop mountain (very unusual for this geographic region) just to right off center:
I waited for Snackdaddy at the tram station we passed on the way up, and then we started the long descent. We hit the highway in full darkness, and made the last 10 k’s back to the truck. I hate riding in the dark, especially as I have my black jacket on, and edge turn signals on the bike. I know how hard it is to see someone wearing black at dusk. After loading stuff up, I make sure to text my wife and let her know I’m OK.
Looking back a few months later, and in retrospect I learned a few things on this trip ( I learn something new every trip):
-Leave a better itinerary with someone at home (wife was worried, I had only left our destination, but not how we were getting there, via which roads, etc.) Happy wife, happy life.
-I need to wait more often for my riding partner, in case there an accident, and they ride off the road or something, then there isn’t the mass area of ground to cover to find that person. What I might think is an acceptable wait interval might be too long for another person. This should be made clear before heading out. I am so used to riding alone, focusing on the destination that I need to slow down/ stop more often to avoid riding by the pirate code.
Anyway, this ranks as probably one of the best rides I’ve been on yet; beautiful, technical, and with the sense of “getting somewhere”.
SnackDaddy and I stopped for dinner in Squamish and didn’t make it home until after midnight.
As I sit here looking at the rain falling outside the window, it reminds me of how important it is to pack in rides like this for the 2 months that it doesn't rain here.
woofer2609 screwed with this post 11-15-2014 at 10:00 AM
|11-02-2014, 07:23 PM||#2|
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Southwestern Ontario Canada
Great ride report. Loved the pics. Wish southern Ont. had some terrain like that....Dave
Money can't buy you happiness.
However it can buy you a beer.
Which is close enough.
2007 F650GS 1978 KZ400C1 1972 XL250
|11-03-2014, 05:20 AM||#3|
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: North Cowichan
I`ve hiked into the `Tusk` many times from the Squamish side of things. I always wondered what it would be like to come in from the `Singing Pass`side of things by vehicle. As you head east from Squamish on the logging road to get to the top end of Indian Arm, there is a short hike into a Supermarine Stranraer flying boat wreck, that crashed in the early `40s. I`ve always wanted to head up to the top end of Indian Arm to explore the area, when I lived in Vancouver - it`s not going to happen now that I live over here. Great ride report.
|11-04-2014, 07:18 PM||#4|
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Extreme Pacific SouthWest (of Canada)
|11-04-2014, 10:30 PM||#5|
Eat my shorts
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Yellowknife, NWT
That brought back some memories. About twenty years ago I worked on the Indian Arm FSR, building parts of it, de-activating others. Nice part of the world.
|11-05-2014, 10:19 AM||#6|
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: North Cowichan
|11-09-2014, 01:06 PM||#7|
Joined: Nov 2011
I've wanted to ride to the tip of Indian Arm for the last few years, so last week when I saw your report...well now (yesterday) was the time. Thanks woofer...
On the way up
Got a bit out-of-shape at this spot, spun the rear for a few meters, lost momentum and came to an unwanted stop...it was a bitch to get going again
At the end of the road...
Looking across the water...
|11-20-2014, 06:40 PM||#8|
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Wet Coast, Vancouver BC
added it to my, to do list !
Nice report and great pictures.
I'll have to attempt a repeat of what you did.....I snowmobiled at Brohm Ridge once some 22 years ago.
I even took a dump in that outhouse .
Must be getting to the top by now
Couldn't resist I
Baja Cerveza Conquest
|05-24-2015, 11:17 AM||#9|
Joined: Feb 2015
Location: Vancouver BC
Did the Indian FSR Road yesterday, had an awesome ride with a brand new Husky 350 and a KLR. Great times, awesome ride and cool scenery.
I couldn't stop taking pictures of the Husky, what beauty of a machine, perfect for this time of trip, it just eats up these type of roads. And hats off to Andy on his KLR to get it though that gnarly terrain!
This was a tricky wash out
abandoned logging camp
The ocean inlet
The Indian River
Finish the day with some Caesars in Squamish
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