We decided to brave our first back country camping trip with the girls at just under 11 months of age. This would be our trial run to see if we could pull it off and how we could change things for next time. Spectrum Lake is in Monashee Provincial Park, 46 km off highway #6 heading east of Vernon B.C. with 34 kms being on a dirt logging road to the main parking lot. From there it would be a 6 km hike into the lake. The drive itself is rewarding as well as you tour past Sugar Lake before heading deep into the trees on secluded forest service roads. Many locations on the drive you give opportunities to over look the Spectrum Creek before you pass by the Rainbow Falls turn off. These water falls are for sure worth the side trip. You can see more about them on our previous post “Failed Winter Camp Overnighter”. After the turn off you take a hairpin corner and climb steeply where you continue to pass some clearcut logging areas before you cross the final creek bridge at the 34km marker.
We parked the Toyota, loaded the girls on our fronts in the Onya carriers and put our 20+ pound packs on our backs to start our adventure. The trail head (GPS 50˚30’13.8″N 118˚21’37.6″W) begins with a well marked sign post and map, and after 100 meters you cross a sturdy bridge over the outlet source of Spectrum Lake. Ten minutes into our hike we realized we had forgotten Bexley’s soother in the truck, so I dropped dropped bag, offloaded Bexley and hiked back to get it. We didn’t want to gamble the night without it. The air temperature was in the low 20’s and it was slightly overcast; perfect for the day’s hike. The girls were happy giggling and chatting in their baby babble for the first 3.5 km then fell asleep until we arrived at the lake. In the 1 hour and 45 minute hike we crossed three major creeks and through the breaks in the trees we caught glimpses of the surrounding snow covered peaks and astonishing views of Mount Fostall. We passed two pairs of day hikers that were on their way out so we knew that we would be all alone for the duration of this camping trip.
We settled into the favorite spot right on the lake equipped with a tent pad, picnic table with a roof over it along with a fire pit. Now came the interesting part, how to set up camp with the girls. We couldn’t really put them down as they just put everything in their mouths from moss, dirt, sticks and campfire coals so we kept them in the carriers but flipped them onto our backs and assembled the tent and got organized. From there we zipped them into the tent while we finished getting everything put together.
Next up was time to explore the new dock that had been built in the recent year and to gather some drinking water. The floating dock was really pleasant and would be perfect for fisherman and sun bathers. We laid around, took in the scenery and listened to the loon calls while the girls practiced walking around within arms reach. From here we rounded the lake another 100 meters towards the group camp. This amazing setup has a small cluster of tent pads, communal fire pit, large covered area and a creek running down the center of it. This is where we collected our drinking water then purified it with our Steripen and returned to our tent with 5L of pure mountain water.
Dinner time came for both the girls and us so Shannon took care of the meals and I attempted to start the camp fire. As the snow had probably left the area just a short time prior lets just say that Shannon was must more successful with her task than I was. It was a full time job just chopping the wet wood with my little hatchet and hoping there was enough heat in the existing fire to start the next log. By 8:30 both Lidija and Bexley were nestled into their new MEC sleeping bags and resting for the night. Shannon and I had another hour of fire time before we called it a night as well. Just after the sun had gone down I packed up all our food and cookware and made the stroll over to the bear pole to cache our food away from our site for the night.
Come morning we had made it through the night with only one wake up call from the girls for a little 2:00 a.m. drink. I would call that a success. After some warm apple cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast and a peaceful relaxing morning we then started to disassemble the camp. With packs full now and not a cloud in the sky we started our 6km hike returning via our tracks from the day before.
Once back at the truck I wandered over to the creek where we had stashed two drinks prior to the hike for us to have as our post hike thirst quencher.
One more hour of dirt road driving and a second hour on the pavement and we had now returned to our doorstep.
I have been in and out of Spectrum Lake many of times over the years and I have not yet been disappointed by the facilities provided by BC Parks. This time was extra special for Shannon especially as it was her first ever Mother’s Day, and no other place that she would rather be.