Spectrum Lake

Adventure time with an overnight backpacking trip with 2 year olds in tow. We headed I nto Spectrum Lake within Monashee Provincial Park east of Vernon, B.C. We hiked in here the year prior so for more information on direction and a campground tour be sure to click here.

Spectrum Lake parking lot is approximately a 2 hour drive from our house in Vernon. This time we recruited our friend Bruce, although he chose to just do it as a day hike.

We ate an early lunch at the trucks, geared up and headed on our way. It was slightly overcast but also humid. After we passed kilometre 2.5 it started pouring rain. By the time we arrived at the lake we were completely soaked. It had also dropped several degrees and so we found some shelter, dropped our packs and scrambled to put on dry clothes. Thankfully our packs were pretty waterproof so everything inside was salvaged. There were a ton of camping groups there. Spectrum Lake has about half a dozen 10′ x 10′ shelters but when we arrived they had all been spoken for. We continued another 200m to the group site where a large 20′ x 20′ shelter greeted us. We couldn’t believe how many people were out there.

We set up our tent, got organized and settled. We got the girls geared up in their MEC Newt Suits with rubber boots so they were good to go for the rest of the time out there. These were a lifesaver keeping them dry and warm. Nearing 4:00 p.m. Bruce decided that he had to brave the non seasonal elements and make his way back to the parking lot. After 1.45 hours he was back at his truck and on his way home to an awaiting hot tub and comfy mattress.

The girls spend hours just circling the group site climbing over logs, digging in the muck and unsuccessfully chasing chipmunks. They had a few spills, shed some tears but come dinner time they were all smiles while eating our home made, previously dehydrated chicken chilli. Around 7 we cleaned them up as best we could and attempted to settle them into the tent and their mini sleeping bags for the night. They were extremely excited about staying over and took a bit of coaxing to get them to fall asleep.

Other hikers kept appearing so we made way for new arrivals. We met some amazing people, visited, laughed, shared stories and when the rain finally quit around 8 pm when we all worked together to got a campfire started. This was a long process as the wood was super wet but in the end we constructed a sustaining fire and all managed to stay awake until around midnight. Our sleep was quite interrupted as about ever half hour we would wake to one of the girls being outside their sleeping bag sound asleep. As the outside temperatures were down into the single digits we would stuff them back in and fall asleep until the next round. All in all everyone slept ok.

The following morning the little ladies were back in their suits and continuing where they had left off from the day previous. Many of the hikers were now packing up and heading back to their vehicles at this point so the free space was starting to expand. The skies were mostly cloud covered but no rain and we even enjoyed moments when we could feel some of the heat from the sun burning through. Bexley and Lidija made the very slow and often distracted walk back to the main camping area to venture out onto the dock to watch others fishing. Sitting down and relaxing as best as we could while keeping a tight leash on the girls. They didn’t understand the ramifications of falling into a mountain lake and not knowing how to swim, and we were not keen on letting them learn a life lesson today.

Meandering back to our tent we ate some lunch and slowly dismantled our site. Our original plan was to spend two nights but after the minimal sleep on the first and a great weather window we decided to not chance our luck with tomorrow and head out mid afternoon. The girls took turns sleeping in the Onya carriers and we were back a the truck in just under 2 hours. After a quick change of clothes, some snacks and a face wash in the nearby creek we were on our way out.

7 km back we made a slight detour to Rainbow falls. We stopped in a couple years back so click here to see that extravaganza. 1km drive from the main branch and 250m of sectionally muddy walk leaves you at an upper and lower viewing platform. There is an exceptionally high amount of water making the plunge and I believe this one of BC most under visited and under rated waterfalls around.

After this 30 minute side trip we were back on route. Another 40 minutes of gravel Forest Service Road and a further hour of smooth tarmac resulted in a highly successful backcountry camping trip that was enjoyed by all. Not sure why the camping was so crowded this time around, was it the weather, Covid-19, are more people getting out and enjoying the BC Parks system or is this hidden gem in the mountain just not so hidden any more. Either way it has been and most likely always will be one of our favourite places to visit.

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