Sunday, January 1, 2017

Blue Highways - Laredo Channel - Part V

Morning on Laredo Channel

In the event that you are still outside and heading north up Laredo Channel you will soon face a really tough decision.  Do you stay out here or go back in to the IP?  Do you follow the Princess Royal Island shoreline into Whale Channel or travel up Estevan Sound along the western shore of Campania Island?  Your next supply stop is Prince Rupert and you can carry enough food from Shearwater or Klemtu to go either route.  Choices.



Both shorelines along Laredo Channel will hold your interest.  PRI features multiple inlets, tidal flows and First Nations significance.


Aristazabal doesn’t compare on those terms but does offer one of the finest beaches on the northern BC coast at Baker Point.  This is a wonderful place to spend some time.  I was blown out there once and couldn’t have been happier.  Be aware that a Spring Tide may have you clearing tent space in the forest and that the mated pair of Bald Eagles nested above your campsite may consider you an intruder.  Princess Royal or Aristazabal?


By now you have heard the Siren’s Song of the Outside and the main path leads into Campania Sound, Squally or Whale Channels and will deposit you at the foot of iconic Grenville Channel.  That 50-some mile long fracture separating Pitt Island from the mainland is shadowed by towering peaks that rise directly up from the water.  A stunning place to paddle a kayak and maybe the place you had pictured when you signed up to do the Inside Passage.

 
That great relief, though, shows no damn favor in terms of offering great campsites.  Most of the obvious landing sites will be narrow drainages that bears as partial to.  Some sites that look do-able at low tides disappear at high slack.  Not a place to camp during Springs.  And then there is the relative darkness from persistent mountain shadows.  

Choices.

The path back to the IP becomes a tougher choice to make.  You are starting to appreciate the open sky, big water and fresh scents that are not found on the inside.  The mountains of Campania are speaking to you while the IP is strangely silent.

 1/2 of  Baker Beach

Go ahead.  Do it.   Carry on to Ulric Point and cross to Rennison Island.  We cleared some nice tent sites for you at the north end of the island near a good water source.  You can hang out there and gaze across Caamano Sound to Campania’s compelling granite relief baking in the afternoon sun.  The fishing is good, too

Approaching Campania
  
Cross to Campania early in the morning on a flood if possible.  Pick your conditions and you’ll be across in less than 2 hours.  Thick kelp beds ring much of the shoreline and protect landings.  Mount Pender’s rocky face is seldom out of sight and stands imposingly above the beaches that are calling your name.  

Looking across Caamano Sound to Campania


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