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Exploring the old Thurston Correctional Facility Grounds – Chilliwack River Valley Series

Located 16km down Chilliwack Lake Road is the site of what used to be Thurston Correctional Facility.

This was a Minimum Security Facility used for prisoners serving time for petty crimes. I remember camping nearby as a kid and the bus would pull up and the prisoners would get out and start picking up garbage around the site. It was win-win, they got to spend time outdoors in this beautiful setting and the site was maintained.

A corrections officer that worked at the facility actually wrote a book called “Hoods in the Woods” sadly it is no longer in print and I have not been able to find a copy! I think it would make a great read and is probably full of interesting stories. Here is a link to the book By G.J.C. Hall.

The buildings were demolished in 2011 after the site was closed permanently in 2002, but if you search online you can find some photos of the old buildings before they were torn down.

There are signs posted stating that the area is not maintained and to pack out what you pack in. This area is also known for vehicle break ins so do not leave valuables in your vehicle.

Backing onto the Chilliwack River it is a beautiful setting now lush with trees, grass and flowers growing between concrete foundations and the remnants of buildings.

After all these years, much of the concrete is covered with moss and overgrown shrubbery but two sets of steps and a concrete path still remain, as well as what appeared to be some random drain pipes in the ground. It is not a place I would want to explore in the dark with random surprises in the ground, but still a beautiful spot to walk and explore.

The two sets of steps, the paved road and drain pipe in the ground. A large rock fire pit that is obviously still enjoyed.

A short ways away on a higher mound of ground is what I presume to be some type of well? I am really not sure.

We lifted the lid and I was going to reach in to pull the garbage out, but there was a mouse. I didn’t want to disturb it and decided against sticking my hand in there so we closed it back up… maybe it’s time to invest in a garbage picker handle.

If you walk to the right the path continues through some trees and into another forested area along the river. This is also a popular fishing spot, although the fishermen I talked to had not caught anything.

While researching the history of this place, I found a few stories of men who would get out and then do a small crime and be back within a few weeks. When asked why they did it, they said rent was too expensive and they hated living in the city after being immersed in nature 24/7.

I am grateful it is open to the public now, as it used to be fenced off with no trespassing signs. Now there is just signs saying it is user maintained and to pack out your garbage, which as you can see in some of the photos, not everyone is abiding by. This scenery is beautiful and I can understand why the parking area is always full in the summer.

Chilliwack Lake Road

Into the Forest I Go, To Lose My Mind and Find My Soul

John Muir

As always, thank you for reading! If you would rather watch the video version, you can watch it on YouTube Here:

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If you would like to see more posts like this, exploring and learning about the history of British Columbia, let me know by leaving a Comment below!

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Exploring From Chilliwack Lake Road to Ryder Lake – Chilliwack River Valley Series!

This was one of those unplanned adventures…

I left the house planning to take my dog down to the river, but ended up texting my husband that I was heading down Chilliwack Lake Road to do some exploring for my Blog Series instead.

It was overcast, the cloud cover was low and it was raining a little bit when we turned off of Chilliwack Lake Road onto Bench FSR.

Our first stop was Camp Foley Recreation Site, which you can read about Here.

After exploring the site and a quick pit stop at the outhouse, we were back on the dirt road and I was thankful for the pit stop after the first few dozen pot holes!

This drive is gorgeous and I love the scenery along the way, but there are so many pot holes in some areas, trying to dodge them is pointless! Just slow down and take your time, enjoy the beautiful yet bumpy scenery.

Next on my list were Chipmunk Peninsula and Rapids Recreation sites, just a few kilometres up the road, which you can read about Here.

Both are beautiful camping areas, and the Rapids Staging area is something I did not even know existed!

I had the whole place to myself on this December weekday, but I imagine it is packed full on Summer weekends.

Once I finished taking photos and checked all the sites off of my list, I stopped and pondered whether it would take longer to go back the way I came, or instead continue on and go up past the Elk Mountain trailhead and come out through Ryder Lake….

It didn’t take long to decide as I have done this drive before and know it’s a pretty well maintained FSR. Other than taking it slow for all of the pot holes and not having cell service, it was a low risk adventure.

The views on this drive are gorgeous and I like to turn off my music and listen to the river sounds getting farther away as I drive up and gain elevation with every hill and corner.

I passed countless waterfalls, crossed a couple of single lane bridges over the gorgeous river and got to truly enjoy nature in my own backyard.

Once I passed the Elk Mountain trailhead, I wondered if I had really saved any time going this route and wondered how annoyed my husband would be that I took this long….

I turned the next corner and wow! I was rewarded with the most glorious view I have ever seen! I snapped some photos and just sat to enjoy this view.

I was officially back in cell service and I felt a little bit sad about that. A good reminder to #unplug more often and to #explore outside as often as possible!

The views along the way were amazing and after being rewarded with that last view coming around the corner after Elk, I knew I had made the right decision. This drive soothed my soul and was exactly what I needed!

I hope this post has inspired you to explore in your own community and maybe even find some unexpected beauty in your own backyard.

As always, thank you for reading! I appreciate every single person that takes the time to read each post that I write.

Please Click that Like button if you enjoyed this one, or drop a Comment and let me know what you think!

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Camp Foley Recreation Site – Chilliwack River Valley Series

So when researching this Recreation site it piqued my interest because I had heard of it before and had been up to Foley Lake many times but had never seen the sign for it along my way.

Well imagine my surprise when I found out it is literally just off of Chilliwack Lake Road and I have actually driven right past it multiple times! It is literally off the same FSR you turn on to go to Foley Lake!

Bridge over Chilliwack River just before the turn

Driving Directions: at the Vedder Bridge roundabout, turn right onto Chilliwack Lake Road and drive 26.5 km. Camp Foley is on the left just after the bridge.

Road to campground – blocked when closed

The group site is closed for the winter and the gate has been barricaded to prevent any vehicle access.

Garbage cans have been removed and this is now a pack in/pack out campground. There is an outhouse just inside the gate, the only one for the small group site.

This a group campsite, with 4 campsites set backing onto the banks of the Chilliwack River. It looks like the perfect place to spend a weekend with a small group of friends!

The only downside I can see to this gorgeous spot would be the traffic noise from the road, but maybe the river sounds would help drown that out.

There is a path between two large boulders leading to the river and the photos do not do the views any justice. It is beautiful and there are trails along the river all in behind the campsites so there is lots to explore.

Walking along the river listening to the sounds of the water, I couldn’t help but feel surrounded by nature and at peace.

My dog Zola found a few fish carcasses that appeared to have been pulled up from the banks of the river and busied herself peeing all around them.

As you can see from the photo above with my truck parked at the gate, that is Chilliwack Lake Road right beside it, so it would not be my spot of choice on a busy long weekend or anytime you know the main road will be seeing a lot of traffic.

However, it is a great option for campers with RVs that cannot go off-road but still enjoy the rustic vibe of a Recreation Site.

For more information or to learn how to reserve this site, Click Here.

As always, thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post be sure to click the Like button and let me know!

I look forward to writing my next post for this #ChilliwackRiverValley series, thank you for joining me on this journey! If you are not subscribed, be sure to Click the Follow button so you get notifications when the next post is up!

Take the Backroads, Not the Highway.

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Chilliwack Lake FSR in Beautiful British Columbia

Yesterday I decided to take advantage and do some solo exploring while my kids were at school!

Chilliwack Lake FSR starts right after the Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, located 150km East of Vancouver, 40km down Chilliwack Lake Road in the upper Chilliwack River Valley.

I am so blessed to live in a place where there are multiple exploration opportunities, all down the same road!

Chilliwack Lake Road is a favourite place of mine, especially in the winter. If we have yet to see snow at home by mid-December I usually pack up my kids and drive down to the Provincial Park to do some sledding!

This day there was just a light dusting of snow along the sides of the road, but enough to get me excited!!!

The Provincial Park is closed for the winter, gate locked. Lots of people park along the side of the road and walk into the park, so always watch for pedestrians.

I continued on past the Provincial Park entrance and on to the gravel FSR. I forgot how many pot holes this FSR always has! A bumpy ride but well worth it for the gorgeous views along the way.

There are several Rockfall Hazard areas along the way, so always use caution and keep your eyes open. There were a few rocks on the road that looked like they had recently come to rest there.

There are many waterfalls along the way. So many, in fact, that I did not even photograph all of them!

The forest blocks your view of the lake for the first little while, and then the trees open up to gorgeous lake views.

The road was still very bumpy and I let my dog out to run – she got way ahead of me through all the pot holes, but she stopped and waited like a good girl.

We continued along the FSR enjoying the low cloud cover across the lake and the fresh snow on the mountains added to the already beautiful view.

After the 5km marker we came to a small bridge over a fast moving river. After the bridge, off to the side was an old wooden structure that I think may have been the old wooden bridge…

From here the road continued, pot holes galore but nothing out of the ordinary, until we passed the 8km marker. This one was a little harder to spot!

From here I continued a short distance until – a yellow gate ended our journey. I thought you used to be able to drive further around the south end of the lake, but now there is a gate, which is always a sad discovery.

Since it was almost noon I decided against parking and starting a fire and headed back towards town so I would not be late for school pick up.

I took my time and enjoyed the scenery along the way though and it was so beautiful!

Finally, back at the pavement! Still no cell service, just a warning for those that expect to have it just because you’re back on the blacktop.

One of my favourite things about this drive is the low cloud cover along Chilliwack Lake Road. You feel like you are literally driving into the clouds, and it is such a surreal feeling.

There is nothing better to help me unplug and destress than a dirt road, no cell service, and driving into the clouds.

Some days my soul craves Solitude and No Cell Service. This was one of those days and it ended up being exactly what I needed!

I also realized that there are so many places to explore along Chilliwack Lake Road, I have decided to start a #ChilliwackRiverValley Series!

Check back next week for my next #ChilliwackRiverValley adventure and find out which FSR I explore next! I hope to post one new adventure each week in December.

As always, thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, Click the Like button to let me know. If you have not subscribed to my blog yet, Click the Follow button to get notified as soon as new content is posted.

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S’mores Cups

The Simplest. S’mores. Ever.

My kids love these and it’s a great way to enjoy S’mores as a family with a little less mess!

Bonus: They are easy to make at home too!

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Tart Cups
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips

Cooking Instructions:

  • Remove tart cups from package and thaw
  • Once fully thawed, add mini marshmallows and chocolate chips to the tart cups
  • Place on foil on a baking sheet or metal rack
  • Cook over campfire or in oven at 350C for 10 minutes, until chocolate and marshmallows melted

Eating Instructions: Dig in with a spoon to scoop out the delicious filling, or simply pop out of the foil cup and take a bite!

The bonus to these are you simply pop them in the oven or on the fire (we have a Coleman propane oven and love it) and check them in 5 minutes!

You don’t have a constant rotation of marshmallow roasting and assembling individual S’mores for all of the kids, they can fill their own cup and then the adults can cook them in the oven or over the fire. Voila! You’re done S’mores and ready to relax around the fire.

If there is a certain type of Recipe you would like to see posted next, let me know! I have quite a few in the works since road trips are not allowed right now.

As always, thank you for reading! If you have tried this recipe, drop a comment and let me know what you thought! If you enjoyed reading this recipe, be sure to click that Like button and let me know!

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Search for the Silver Linings

Dark times can be just that – Dark. Heavy. Even Depressing. But if you search hard enough, you will almost always find a silver lining in the darkness.

The Provincial Health Order makes it hard to see anyone outside of my immediate family and the news I might need knee surgery have further dashed my hopes of getting any hiking in this year….

Instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for myself, I decided to explore where in my town I could go for a nice, flat walk but still do a good distance and enjoy some nature.

I remembered our dyke system and a quick google search helped me decide to park near Jespersons boat launch and walk down towards Gill road, one of my favourite places!

The weather was perfect, cloudy but no rain and the sun even came out for a little bit! It wasn’t overly busy either, a few cyclists and other pedestrians but otherwise Zola and I had the whole place to ourselves.

I love this lone tree in the middle of the field!

Then we started seeing Eagles and so many of them!!! We even got a fly over show!

This big nest caught my eye, but on the walk back I noticed there are two nests in this tree!

Eagles sitting in trees everywhere you look! Such a gorgeous sight and we usually drive to Harrison to see them, when it turns out they’re in our own back yard!

These two flew over us and then landed a short distance away – so cool to see and a great moment to take a deep breath and just appreciate this beautiful place I live.

We made it! Gill Road is a 5km walk from where we started. Now to turn around and walk back for a total of 10km!

The views were equally as gorgeous on the walk back and the sun even came out for a bit! I unzipped my sweater and enjoyed the warm sun on my face, and was able to forget about this whole Pandemic thing for awhile.

Yes, we are encouraged to stay home unless necessary. No, that does not mean you cannot go outside and get fresh air and exercise.

Even though I didn’t gain any elevation or see any mountain views by going for an intense uphill hike like I used to, I still saw many beautiful sights I would never have enjoyed otherwise.

Go Outside. Google your town name with “walking” or “trails” and see what you find!

You might be surprised like I was. I knew you could walk on the dyke but didn’t realize you could go all the way from Island 22 to Ferry Island! 12km in one direction might be a goal for next year, but I am still glad I know about it now!

When surrounded by darkness, look for the light. Even if it’s a tiny flicker, it’s there. The sooner you find it, the faster it can grow.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post be sure to click the Like button and let me know!

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Camping Mac N Cheese

My daughter loves Mac N Cheese so if we bring it camping, she is one Happy Camper! It is one of those comfort foods that is so easy to make ahead of time to bring a little piece of home on the road with you.

Non-Grocery Supplies:

  • 4 aluminum mini pie tins (found at most grocery stores)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Aluminum Foil

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Cups of Elbow Macaroni
  • 5 slices of bacon, diced (thick cut is my favourite)
  • 8 oz Jar of Alfredo Sauce (any brand)
  • 0.5 Cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 0.25 Cup of Mozzarella Cheese
  • 0.5 Cup of Cheddar Cheese
  • 0.25 Cup of Half & Half Cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package.
  2. Rinse with cool water and drain well.
  3. Stir in Alfredo Sauce with the three cheeses. Add Milk and Bacon. Stir in Salt & Pepper.
  4. Spray the 4 mini pie tins with cooking spray, then divide mixture between the tins.
  5. Cover each tin with aluminum foil. Seal well.
  6. Store in freezer bag in cooler to prevent water from making them soggy.

To Cook:

Cook over fire, placing tins on a cooking rack 2-3 inches above the coals for 8-10 minutes. Remove from fire and serve immediately.

Alternately, Bake in oven at 350 for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted.

Another great thing about this recipe is you can always double it, serve half for a meal at home and pack the other half into the tins for camping! I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I enjoyed making (and eating!) it.

Tips:

  • Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray before sealing tins to prevent cheese from sticking to the foil!
  • Label foil and freezer bag with a Sharpie so you know exactly what is stored where in your cooler.

As always, thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this recipe please let me know by clicking the Like button and if you want to see more Recipes, be sure to Follow Road Trip Mama!

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Exploring Woodside FSR

I haven’t been posting much lately but decided to share this adventure from a little while ago. Social Distancing in our own vehicles with our own dogs, up the mountain we went!

We had planned for awhile to get out for an adventure together and neither of us had been up Woodside FSR so we decided to go explore!

It was a cloudy but dry day and the low cloud cover just added to the scenery.

The views were stunning no matter where you looked, with the bright fall colours, low clouds and mountain views!

The road was a good width and nothing too crazy, but a fun drive nonetheless! The higher we got the better view we had of the river below.

This would be a gorgeous spot to camp or even a day trip destination for a fire. It is not far from town and we had cell service for most of the time.

We decided to explore a side trail that was marked by a white arrow painted on a rock. We thought maybe this would take us to the hang gliders launch pad, but it did not. We turned around and stopped at a pullout with a nice view to let our dogs out and stretch our legs!

After a stretch break, we headed back down the mountain before it got dark. All in all, it was a great afternoon exploring with great company – at a distance! This is where walkie talkies are very useful for communicating while driving.

If the view was this gorgeous on a cloudy day I can only imagine what it would look like on a clear day! I will definitely be back to explore Woodside FSR again and hope to find the hang gliders launch point with the gorgeous view! Please note this is an active logging road so please bring a radio and drive with caution if you decide to go exploring.

As always, thank you for reading!!! Be sure to click the Follow button to get notifications when I post a new blog and click the Like button to let me know you enjoyed this one!

Take the Backroads, Not the Highway.

Disclaimer: Road Trip Mama is for information purposes only and is not liable for any damages or injuries incurred if you attempt one of the trips posted. Always do your research, go prepared, tell someone your timeline and trip plan, and have a means of communication in case you run into trouble.

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Solo Road Trip For the Soul – Fall Edition

Everyone has an activity they enjoy and do for their mental health. Mine is going into the mountains. Before I injured my knee this year, that used to be in the form of hiking for me. For now, it is long drives and gorgeous scenery from my truck instead.

Empty Road & Fall Colours

On a Sunday afternoon, most people were airing up their tires, loading up and heading home as I made my way up onto the FSR.

Sunday Afternoon=Quiet FSR Adventure

Today I chose West Harrison as my destination of choice, knowing there are some gorgeous lake views along the way, and the road is pretty well maintained.

1Km Up!

1km up! At this point I had not passed any other vehicles and had my radio turned up and my windows down, enjoying the fresh air and solitude.

Love the Fall Colours and Views on this road!

Fall in the mountains is so beautiful! Orange, red, brown, so many vivid colours that add to the natural beauty of this place.

Tempting Trails but not Solo

There were a couple side trails that looked like fun and were pretty tempting, had I not been on a solo run without many hours of daylight left.

I love anything water related!

A small waterfall on the side of the road, so pretty! I stopped to take a photo and a truck passed by, then backed up to make sure I was okay! I love the 4WD community in our area, I had a couple of people stop me and make sure I was okay before they continued down the mountain.

Another Tempting Trail, but Again, Not Solo….
Gorgeous Views Along The Way
As the Sky Turned Pink

As the sun started to set and the sky turned pink, the views became even more beautiful. I love this drive!

Another Small Waterfall
Stopped at a pullout and stretched my legs
Harrison Lake

I stopped at a pullout to stretch my legs and let my dog stretch hers too. There was a beautiful view of Harrison Lake and it was so quiet and peaceful. We stayed there for awhile and I debated starting a small fire, but decided to continue on before it got dark instead.

6km Up!
Those Mountains Though….

The sky was a beautiful colour, the pictures do it no justice! I love this time of day as the sun sets, the sky changes, and it was such a clear, crisp, beautiful day too.

9km to the bottom!

I turned around shortly after the 9km marker as it was getting dark quickly and the views were disappearing. I took my time on my way down and enjoyed the quiet and lack of traffic!

Heading Back Down

Even though this trip was only three hours total, it was a short adventure that was exactly what I needed to clear my head and have some solo time.

Short but satisfying adventure

This adventure started when my husband jokingly asked when I was going for a drive and I said now! He asked who I was going with and I said by myself, brought my dog and hit the road! I knew I was going to have a stressful next few days and I needed a chance to recharge/destress first.

I did not have a destination in mind when I left my house, but once I started heading for West Harrison I texted my husband to let him know where I was heading and approximately how long I would be out of cell service. He told me to be safe and I arrived back in cell service on schedule, as planned.

Always share your trip plan with someone including your planned return time, so they know when to start worrying if they have not heard from you and they know where to start looking!

As always, thank you for reading! Remember to take a Back Road instead of a Highway once in awhile and Keep Adventuring!

If you enjoyed this post be sure to click the like button!

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Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Located 38km North of Vancouver on Hwy 99 is an amazing place called Porteau Cove Provincial Park!

This is a day use park with waterfront camping. I brought my kids here a couple of years ago for a walk-in camping experience and it was amazing!

Low Tide

Emergency Ferry Dock

I actually came twice in one day! Once on my way through to Squamish and again on my way back home. It was very cool to see the difference at low tide and high tide, and watch the sun start to go down.

For more information on Porteau Cove Provincial Park and Campsite Reservations, Go to the B.C. Parks Website Here

Then I drove home through the clouds. Driving through Lions Bay at sunset was so beautiful! Watching the sunset through the clouds and driving through clouds at the same time was amazing! A stunning end to a great drive.

As always, thank you for reading! This was a Highway adventure instead of a backroad, although I did manage to find a backroad along the way! Read more about Cheekye River FSR here. The Sea to Sky Highway is a beautiful Highway, however it is also very windy with tight curves and lots of people not obeying speed limits, so always use caution when traveling through there, and make sure you have appropriate tires for the conditions.

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Shannon Falls Provincial Park

Shannon Falls is made of a series of cliffs, rising 335 metres above Highway 99, making it the third highest falls in British Columbia!

The waters of Shannon Falls originate from Mount Habrich and Mount Sky Pilot. This provincial park is located right off of Highway 99, making it a very popular spot! Parking is hard to come by, so I would recommend going early.

The sign is easy to spot from the Highway
Hikers have plenty of options to explore!

For your convenience this park has a concession and information centre located next to the flush toilet building, on the trail to the waterfalls. They offer snacks, park information and souvenirs.

Concession/Souvenir Shop
Watch for Bears!
Barely out of the parking lot and look at that view!!

The walking trail to Shannon Falls is an easy 350 metres through a beautiful forest of dense trees including Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar along Shannon Creek which leads to the viewpoint.

Such a beautiful forest!
Evidence of old logging practices still present- can you spot the notch for the springboard?

The viewpoint offers a spectacular view of the roaring falls.

Shannon Falls!
Gorgeous View but the Viewpoint was very busy.

After enjoying the view of the Falls, I made my way down to Shannon Creek and enjoyed the water and fall colours there for awhile. Wading in the creek or climbing onto rocks is not recommended at this park.

There are several informative signs throughout the park, as well as lots of picnic tables. It would be a great spot to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch on your way through!

Overall, this provincial park was a great place to stop and I definitely recommend making time to stop here if you are passing by! There are outhouses close to the parking lot, flush toilets closer to the trailhead, as well as a concession/souvenir shop. What more could you need? I plan to visit again once my knee is healed and check out some of these hiking trails! I wish I had spent a bit more time here, or had gone earlier because it was quite busy. As soon as I got in my truck, someone had their signal on and was waiting for my parking spot!

If you want to learn more about Shannon Falls Provincial Park, visit BC Parks.

This trip I ended up taking the Highway, not a backroad, but after visiting busy Provincial Parks I decided to get off the Highway and find somewhere with less people. I saw a sign for a Forest Service Road and decided to adventure up! I ended up going up Cheekye River FSR and you can read about that adventure Here.

As always, thank you for reading! This was an unplanned adventure and I just stopped at random spots along the way. I am glad I got to see Shannon Falls and plan to return with my kids to share this beautiful spot with them soon!

Disclaimer: Road Trip Mama is for information purposes only and is not liable for any damages or injuries incurred if you attempt one of the trips posted. Always do your research, go prepared, tell someone your timeline and trip plan, and have a means of communication in case you run into trouble.

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Cheekye River FSR

Just outside of Squamish heading North on Highway 99, I spotted a sign indicating a recreation site in a few hundred meters. I stomped on the brakes, turned on my signal and turned right. Recreation Sites are more my style and typically less busy than Provincial Parks.

It is obviously a popular spot, as I had to pull to the side right away and let a few trucks with mountain bikes in the back get past me. Then across the single lane bridge and up the mountain I went!

This Single Lane is just after the first parking lot (this is the view coming back down)

There was a gate sign at the 1.5km marker stating it was closed from 10pm to 6am, however there was no gate attached to the posts! I’m guessing that is an old sign but cannot say for sure.

Signs for Cheekye River FSR and Cat Lake were easy to see along the way. It was at this point I sent my husband a picture of the road name and let him know I was adventuring up a new mountain, by myself with my dog!

Signs were visible, though a bit battered

I arrived at the parking lot for Cat Lake Recreation Site but the lot looked full and there were even a few parked in the Overflow lot, so I decided to keep driving!

Full Parking Lot! Good sign to keep exploring

Up the mountain we went, and followed the fork to the right towards the Hydro Lines, only to dead end at what appeared to be a parking lot for a trail head. It was very full and a car was trying to get in behind me, so I backed down and turned around without checking it out.

Gorgeous scenery along the drive

I drove back to the fork and went straight, up a dirt road and around a few corners. There were plenty of mountain bike trails, dirt bike trails and people camping in a few spots along the way. It is definitely a popular place and I can see why, as the scenery is beautiful!

Gorgeous and Fun Drive!

Finally I drove past a few dirt bikers pulled over to the side, gave a friendly wave and came to a stop at an old logging site complete with a big burn pile. There was a trail going down that I thought about trying, but it was a bit loose and steep, so driving solo and not having weight in the back of my truck – I decided against it.

Big Burn Pile and lots of dry wood around it!

Once I turned my truck around, I grabbed my chair and my dog’s bed out of my truck and sat down to enjoy the view for awhile. What a view it was!!!

I sat there and enjoyed the quiet and the sounds of nature, until I heard a funny sound. I could not figure out what the sound could be so I got up out of my chair and turned just in time to watch a bald eagle fly behind us, not far away at all! I decided not to reach for my camera and fully enjoy this glorious moment of nature. It was a good decision as the eagle was gone in a flash and I likely would not have gotten a photo anyways.

Gorgeous View

I relaxed in my gravity chair and enjoyed the mountain air, the sounds of nature and the peacefulness around me. I heard dirt bikes in the distance a few times, but never saw anyone come up as far as I was parked.

In My Happy Place!

I always pack Emergency supplies, especially on solo trips and I texted my husband and told him if I had packed a thicker blanket and more dog food, I would be sleeping on my backseat air mattress and spending the night where I was. It was so beautiful and peaceful, it was hard to leave!

The feeling of peace that you can achieve while sitting on a mountain, with no other humans around, nobody asking you for anything, is amazing. I just wanted a day to be responsible for nobody else but myself and it was exactly what I needed.

On my way down the mountain I stopped at the Cat Lake Recreation Site parking lot and checked out the sign for the campsite.

It has outhouses, picnic tables and costs $15.00 per night. It looked like the sites were all walk-in and it is First Come First Serve.

There were signs warning of Bears in the area, an outhouse just off from the parking lot, and a map of the lake that someone had somewhat fittingly drawn to look exactly like a cat.

I would have loved to venture down to the lake but it was getting late and my injured knee was already sore. Besides, it gives me an excuse to come back and explore some more! For more information on Cat Lake Recreation Site, Click Here.

As always, thank you for reading!!! Be sure to click the Follow button to get notifications when I post a new blog and click the Like button if you enjoyed this one! I hope you enjoyed reading about this unplanned adventure and hope that maybe it will inspire you to go on a random adventure of your own!!

Take the Backroads, Not the Highway.

Disclaimer: Road Trip Mama is for information purposes only and is not liable for any damages or injuries incurred if you attempt one of the trips posted. Always do your research, go prepared, tell someone your timeline and trip plan, and have a means of communication in case you run into trouble.

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Camping Banana Boats

These are a favourite that take me back to my childhood, sitting at the cabin next door making banana boats instead of boring old S’mores like I made with my family.

I thought I had won the S’mores lottery!!

I had all but forgotten about them until recently, but my kids love bananas almost as much as they love S’mores so I decided to see if they enjoyed them as much as I did when I was a kid!

Ingredients:

  • Ripe, firm Bananas- one per person
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of chocolate chips per banana
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of mini marshmallows
  • Other toppings as desired- nuts, strawberries, caramel, etc.
Ripe, firm bananas
Semisweet Chocolate Chips
Mini Marshmallows

Cooking Instructions:

  • Cut 12 inch sheets of heavy duty foil
  • With sharp knife, make deep lengthwise cut along inside curve of each banana, being careful not to cut all the way through.
  • Open slit to form pocket.
  • Crimp and shape 1 sheet of foil around each banana, forming boats.
  • Hold the banana and fill pocket with chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows
  • Return each banana to its foil boat.
  • Seal top of foil, leaving 2 to 3 inches headspace.

Cooking Options:

  • Cover grill; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until marshmallows softened.
  • Bake 15 to 20 minutes in oven until marshmallows softened.
  • Can also place in campfire coals to cook or on a rack over the fire, cook until marshmallows softened.
After making a deep, lengthwise cut your banana should look similar to this.
Stuff banana with your favourite ingredients & return to foil boat.

Cook by preferred method. Remove from heat once marshmallows and chocolate chips are melted, and eat with a spoon! My son actually thought the marshmallows were whipped cream somehow… but he loved it!

Grab a spoon and dig in!

As always thank you for reading!!! Remember to Like & Share if you enjoyed what you read and don’t forget to hit that Follow button to be the First To Know when a new post is up!

Most importantly- if you try this recipe, let me know what you think and drop me a comment, even better include a picture of your creation!!

Sushi, Snow & Self Care up Harrison East FSR

Yes as weird and wonderful as that might sound, I decided to grab sushi for lunch on my way through Harrison Hot Springs, then head up Harrison East FSR to find some snow!

Despite all of the bumps along the way, I only had a slight Miso soup spill and everything else made it in one piece!

I found a little pullout and stopped to enjoy my sushi feast! The rain turned to snow and I turned off my radio to enjoy the peaceful sound of snow falling as I enjoyed my sushi feast.

I only went a few kilometres down the road before the visibility became poor and the truck in front me was fishtailing around every corner.

I hit a slippery patch and decided since it was already mid afternoon, that I should probably not head any deeper into the snow, after realizing I forgot to put my usual snow wheeling weight in the back of the truck!

There is so much gorgeous scenery along the way up Harrison East FSR, but I knew the forecast was for lots of snow at higher elevations. I decided not to push my luck this time, but did enjoy the snow falling and some quiet solo time!

I can’t be the only Mom who sometimes just wants to get out alone so I’m not responsible for anybody or anything other than myself… I didn’t even bring my dog this time.

Self care comes in all forms, mine is frequently driving up a mountain and enjoying some quiet time in nature.

What do you do for self care?

As always, remember if solo adventuring to always let someone know where you will be and when to expect you back. Plan ahead and go prepared! When it is snowing, that means bringing a dry change of clothes, extra layers like mittens and toques and blankets.

Here is a YouTube version of this trip:

Thank you for reading and joining me on this adventure! Until next time, keep on exploring and adventuring!!

Hillkeep Regional Park in Beautiful Chilliwack

This 36-acre nature reserve is located at the top of Chilliwack Mountain. The land was generously donated by Pat and Paige Woodward!

It features approximately 2km of trail, steep in some sections, that leads to a gorgeous viewing platform with sweeping views of the Cascade Mountains and the valley below.

There are two sets of stairs on the viewpoint trail, one made of wood and one of stones.

There are actually two different trails here, while I did the Viewpoint/Lookout trail which is shorter, there is also another trail that takes you to the very top of the property to a small lake and then loops around to meet up again with the Viewpoint trail.

The parking area is very small, located at a dead end of a residential street so if it is busy or people double park it makes it interesting!

The drive to the park itself is also beautiful and you never know what kind of wildlife you might see on your way there. Today I had to stop for a deer in the road and then realized there were four more of them up the hill!

The park is managed in partnership with the City of Chilliwack.To learn more, click Here.

If you would prefer a verbal report of this post, check out my YouTube Video below:

As always, thank you for reading and following along on my adventures! Keep exploring, and don’t forget to Follow my blog so you are the first to know when new content is up!

Stopping For A Breath Of Fresh Air in Cultus Lake

I was having one of those days where I had quite a few things to get done and a short time to do them. I was already running behind, had been stuck at the longest train I had seen in awhile and was feeling a little bit stressed on my drive to Cultus Lake.

On my way up to help my Mom with CRA stuff online, I took a few extra minutes to drive by the lake. I parked for a minute, snapped a few gorgeous pictures and took some nice, deep breaths.

The clouds were hugging the mountains and drifting a short distance from the surface of the water, making for a breathtaking view.

This view never gets old. I love the mountains and how the lake reflects them on the water.

I did not stop for very long, but the clouds started lifting and the view started changing.

Look at that reflection!!! It was a beautiful day to kayak the lake, that is for sure. I was a little bit jealous of the kayaker, I will admit.

After 5 minutes of enjoying the peaceful view and taking several deep breaths, I drove away, feeling much less stressed.

Driving along First Avenue catching glimpses of the lake in between the old cabins I remember, mixed with the new or rebuilt houses with fancy modern architecture always brings up mixed emotions for me.

Was I late getting to my Mom’s house? Yes. Did the five minutes I took for myself make me late? No! I was already late and because of that, needed that five minutes for myself more than ever!

Sometimes, especially as a Mom, we get this feeling of guilt for doing things for ourselves or taking time to do things alone. The reality is, we need to do these things! We care for our families 7 days a week and you cannot pour from an empty cup.

So take the time. Go for a drive. Lock the bathroom door and have a relaxing bath. Get into bed and read a book by yourself. Drink the coffee (or the wine). Do the things. You deserve it.

I hope you enjoyed this post, although a little different from my usual content. After reflecting on my busy week I thought this would be a good one to share.

It also helped me remember how important these times are and I wanted to remind my readers – you are worth it. You deserve it. It is okay to take a break and step back.

Thank you for reading! If you liked this post please let me know by hitting the Like button or leave me a comment below!

Allison Pool Rec site – Chilliwack River Valley Series

Located 13.5km down Chilliwack Lake Road, Allison Pool Recreation Site is a Group Site full of beautiful old growth trees and the sounds of the Chilliwack River.

This is a group site that is Reservable with a $50.00 Reservation Fee and a Group Camping Fee of $119.00. There are 7 sites and this price includes 7 vehicles (information as per their website for 2020 see link below).

If you would prefer to watch a video overview rather than read this entire blog, check out my YouTube Video Here:

This site has picnic tables and fire pits at each camp site, as well as two large picnic tables together at the end of the site. Perfect for group dinners! There is one outhouse and there are no garbage cans, as this is a pack out what you pack in site.

The nice thing about this spot is that it is gated and you pick up the key for the gate on your way in, meaning you literally have the place to yourself.

The road down past the gate is a gentle slope, making it easy for bigger trailers and 2WD vehicles to access. This is not an ATV friendly site, however it is a short distance up the road to get to some riding trails.

There is access to the Trans Canada Trail from this site, as well as easy access to the river for kayakers and fishermen. Calm pools make a great spot to cool off in the summer.

This is a beautiful spot with gorgeous views and lots of shade. Backing onto the Chilliwack River the sounds of the river will lull you to sleep at night and you likely would not hear any noise from the road.

Once gatherings are allowed again, I think this would be a great spot to spend a weekend with a small group of friends!

For more information about Allison Pool Recreation Site and how to Reserve this Group Site, Click Here.

As always, thank you for reading!! If you enjoyed this post, let me know by clicking the Like button and don’t forget to Follow my blog so you get notified when new posts are up!

Forest Service Road Safety in Beautiful British Columbia!

I feel so blessed to live in this beautiful place in British Columbia, surrounded by mountains and river areas to explore! However, every year there are tragedies that serve as a reminder that these beautiful places can also be deadly.

If you are traveling on a Forest Service Road (FSR) then there are a few basic things you should know when going.

First of all, FSRs usually exist because of logging, hydro, or other industrial traffic needing to access the area.

These companies often deactivate the roads when they are finished, either by blocking access with gates and boulders, or by adding cross ditches that most vehicles cannot make it through.

The main thing to remember is that the industrial traffic always has the right of way. They are there to work, you are there for pleasure. Plus – they’re usually bigger and heavier than you!

There is an article from 2013 posted on TranBC that has some great information for people traveling on FSRs.

Below is a brochure from BC Forest Safe with some great tips and planning information for traveling on Forestry Road.

Click to access gde_resrd.pdf

Another thing I always bring up an FSR is my “go bag”. It is not fancy, in fact it’s in a reusable grocery bag currently… lol

In this bag I have:

  • A dry change of clothes including socks, undies, pants and sweater
  • A warm, fuzzy blanket
  • Gloves
  • Water and snacks
  • A water dish and food for my dog

This bag comes with me every time I plan to go FSR exploring!

Things that stay in my truck 24/7:

  • Back Road Map Books
  • Two Way Radios with Charger
  • Inverter
  • Phone Charger
  • First Aid Kit
  • Air compressor
  • Tire Pressure Gauge
  • Tire Plug And Patch Kit
  • Backseat Air Mattress with Pump
  • Hatchet
  • Newspaper/Fire Starters
  • Baseball Bat AKA The Mom Bat

My friends make fun of me but I am also known to keep nuts and other random snacks in my truck at all times. Eventually they need replenishing but I know if I’m ever stuck somewhere I have some filling, high protein snacks to keep hunger at bay (plus I’m a mom and they come in handy when the kids get hangry!).

Have a safety plan- I always let my husband know when to expect my return, as well as the approximate area I’ll be exploring (if I am undecided where I am going when I leave). I also always try to update that person before I lose cell service if I didn’t have a set trip plan that day.

I am sure there are more points to be covered, including the importance of radios when driving FSRs, but that is all for me today! I just wanted to cover the basics and share some great informational resources I found online.

As always, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did be sure to click that Like button and let me know!

Don’t forget to take a backroad, not the highway every once in awhile.”

Happy New Year 2021!

As we shift into the New Year and a New Beginning, A New Chapter, it is important to stay positive.

“Look out your windshield at your future, not in your tiny rear view mirror at your past.”

Focus on the future and the things that you can control during these uncertain times.

January 1, 2021

As strange and difficult as 2020 was, we learned a lot of lessons during this time of uncertainty.

I don’t make resolutions anymore, but I do think about intentions and what I want them to be for the year.

This year I am going to Focus on my Family and spending quality time with them, as well as going for Solo adventures and camping!

Life is all about balance and as a Mom, Wife, Daughter, etc I often find myself putting my own needs last (not shocking, I know a lot of us do this). So this year I will do what I need to do for myself and not feel guilty about it.

My soul yearns for solitude at times and I need to listen to that more often. This year has been great getting out for local drives but I want to get back on the highway and explore places a little farther away!

Hoping for some lifting of restrictions soon, but if not, keep exploring local and enjoying your own community!

Search for the silver linings, Walk in the Rain (or dance), embrace uncertainty as best as you can. One day at a time, or one hour at a time if that’s what you need.

Thank you for reading! I am a little under the weather – Covid test Negative so no worries there! But it will be a little bit before I get out for another adventure to post! That combined with this weeks forecast of 100mm of rain might keep me home this week, but we will see! Maybe I’ll squeeze a trip in while the kids are at school…

Wishing all of my readers all the best in 2021, thank you for joining me on this journey last year and I can’t wait to see what adventures this year holds!

Looking Back on 2020 – A Year In Review

When I started my blog in May of this year, I purchased my domain as a belated birthday present to myself. I thought it would be nice to have a place to document my trips and share a few tips with other parents traveling with children.

I thought my friends and family that enjoyed my Facebook posts might also enjoy being able to read about all of my trips in one place.

I never expected to grow an Audience of over 400 Followers and 2,000 Viewers! I have written over 33,000 words since May of 2020, and people from 30 Different Countries have read my posts!

This blows my mind!!

I don’t write these stats as a way of trying to brag, but simply because I never expected it to happen, and it makes my heart so full. Thank you readers and followers, from the bottom of my heart!

Enough about numbers, let’s take a look back at Road Trip Mama in 2020.

What was your favorite post? Leave a Comment and let me know!

One of my favorites was Twenty Mile Bay & Beyond. I explored a new road with an old friend and ended up finding a Llama!

We named him Earl and when I posted on social media asking if anyone else had met him and had him escort them down the road, I learned he lived in a logging camp down the road from where we met him! I mentioned that we had named him Earl and asked what his name really was. It turns out he was simply known as llama, but the logging camp residents liked Earl and said Earl it is! My friend was pretty excited when I sent her a screenshot of the messages explaining that we not only found a llama 36km up a Forestry Road, we got to name him too!

Meeting Earl 36km up a Forestry Road!

This was one of the first videos I made, and it does not go in order… you will see towards the end of the video our surprised reactions as we came up to Earl on the road! This was definitely an unexpected surprise but also just added to our awesome adventure that day!

This was one of my favorite trips and I returned several times over the next few weeks, but never saw Earl again! He must know to stay away from the main road.

Our rainy day adventure included a few stops along the way and driving all the way to 60km. The views were amazing and once the Hot Springs are open again, I intend to do the full drive through.

Learning how to do videos and post on YouTube was a bit of a learning curve for me, and I had to recruit my son for help. He taught me a lot about YouTube and it was a great bonding experience for us. Other than the fact that I used to feel tech-savvy and now I know I am no longer…

Another one of my favorites from this year was actually my first time up West Harrison with a great group of ladies from the BC 4×4 Women group. These ladies are awesome and we not only get along great but so do our kids and fur babies!

I asked my daughter to record our drive up from Ten Mile Bay and she laughed the whole way up. You can hear my son reporting his heart rate at the start of the video, he was a little nervous and as my daughter is laughing, he is yelling. He had fun and enjoyed the views but when we got home he said his butt hurt from all the sitting on the drive.

The biggest compliment I received in 2020 in regards to my blog was being stopped in Walmart by an old friend from high school. She told me she loved my blog and was inspired by me. She had decided to take her five kids camping for the rest of the summer, alone. Her husband was staying home to work and she was taking on the open road with a van full of kids, because she was inspired by my blog! Her husband was able to drive up and meet them on a couple of weekends and I was mind blown at her level of awesomeness! I inspired this??

Overall 2020 has been a very different year for all of us. Fortunately 4x4ing is a very socially distanced hobby when you all have your own vehicles, so we were able to get out for some fun in smaller groups before the restrictions were tightened. Walkie talkies make it easy to communicate along the drive and add a little fun too.

I also enjoy my solo drives, and getting out alone has been great for my mental health during this time.

There are silver linings in every difficult situation, so I challenge you today to look back on the strangeness that was 2020 and find those silver linings along the way. There is always something to be grateful for and something to look forward to, no matter how small.

As we bring in the New Year and look forward to 2021 being a better year, what are your plans? Comment below if you are planning any adventures for 2021!

Thank you for reading and for joining me on this journey. See you in 2021!

Thompson Regional Park – Chilliwack River Valley Series

Located approximately 6 km down Chilliwack Lake Road, this 3 hectare park was actually Donated by the Chilliwack River Valley Ratepayers Association.

This park features a large, covered picnic shelter that can be booked for private events.

It also features an easy 1km Loop Trail that includes Interpretive signs and a bench along a salmon enhancement channel.

The views were beautiful along the trail and I could not believe how many times I have driven by this gorgeous place without stopping!

There is also a WWII monument in memory of the 11 man crew who died in a routine training exercise across the Mount Cheam range in a B-24 Liberator KK241.

This occurred on June 1st of 1945. The monument sits near the back of the park with two benches for sitting and reflecting.

The story of the young men lost that day is etched into two large granite slabs on either side of the centrepiece – a list of all the men whose lives were lost that day etched into a tall piece of granite. Sitting in front of that, is an engine from the downed airplane that was recovered from Airplane Creek.

I was able to find an article from the Agassiz Harrison Observer to learn more about the formation of this monument and the story of what happened Here.

This site is used for outdoor preschool so depending on the time you choose to visit, it could be quite busy.

The playground is pretty basic but the kids seemed to enjoy it! This was the only shot I got because there was kids enjoying it pretty much the whole time I was there (which is a good thing!). I love the older style wooden playgrounds to the newer plastic ones too.

I was pleasantly surprised to find flush toilets and running water as an unexpected perk of this park.

For more information on this park, Click Here.

As always, thank you for reading!

If you are just joining me, be sure to check out the other posts in my Chilliwack River Valley Series Here.

Whether this is the first post you’ve read, or you’ve been reading along with me on this whole journey so far, I appreciate you reading and joining me, so thank you!!

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