Incredible camping experience on Vancouver Island
Experience report by Jan K.
Finding the Right Camping Spot
Deep inside the many forests of northern Vancouver Island, there lies a little lake. Blue-green water. It’s so clear and pure, you can see the ground. Huge trees on both sides, some already coloured in autumn, some still in their summer look. Just straight at the end of the lake, mountains. White on the top, grey in the middle, green at the bottom. The view may be taken out of a movie, but that’s reality. It’s just incredible.
Just before the semester started on September 5th, me and my new friends decided to go on a camping trip for four days. Actually, we wanted to go to Tofino, on the left coast of Vancouver Island. They say, it has the most beautiful beaches and landscapes in Canada. Unfortunately, every single campground was fully booked, because a holiday extended the weekend and we were just quite spontaneous. Even all of the Airbnb accommodations nearby were fully booked, and to be honest, it seemed like every campground in general on Vancouver Island had no free space left for us, so we had to look out for a different place.
Here’s some advice: If you don’t find a free campground, watch for campgrounds, which do not require reservations: They handle their campground space by the first come, first served – method. There are a couple of them such like Kin Beach Provincial Park or Kitty Coleman Provincial Park, but at the end we decided to go for Schoen Lake Provincial Park. Although Schoen Lake is in the middle of the island and we actually aimed for the coast, this should become the best camping experience so far.
After we knew where we wanted to go, we needed to rent two cars, because we were 10 students. Online (a good source is billiger-mietwagen.de) we rented a huge 7-seat Dodge SUV and, compared to this, a pretty small but normal Hyundai Accent. It had cost about 500 Dollars for both of them for four days, which is not that expensive if you divide it with all of your group. Then we had to find some camping gear. Although the University offers camping gear rentals for really cheap prices, their four tents (and sleeping mats etc.) were already taken. So we called Alberni Outpost Center, where we rented the tents, sleeping mats and gas pots for regular prices. At last we went shopping, a really difficult part for ten people (we have spent about two hours at Wal Mart): Noodles, Chicken, Bread, Eggs, Vegetables, Milk, Cornflakes, forks, knives, plates, crushed ice and so one. A short stop at the liquor store (just to grab two or three beer, hehe) and we were good to go.Four (!) hours later we arrived at Schoen Lake Provincial Park. It was already night time and we have spent the last hour to drive on a single small and totally rude road into the forest. But as we turned off the engine of the car, we already saw a sparkling lake, dipped in the brightness of the moonlight, and a huge mountain in the middle of the horizon. We actually couldn’t believe it, but that was our camping spot. Right at the water, with the best view to the lake and its’ stunning landscape. It was a moment like in the movies.
We were swimming in the water, we were exploring the nature, we were sitting down to a campfire, with some nice music and drinks, watching the moon rise behind the mountains. And maybe even the best part was waking up, opening the tent and just see this beautiful lake dipped in sunshine.
Find more experience reports here.