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Legacy Cabin at Porteau Cove

Olympic Legacy Cabins at Porteau Cove, BC: Camping for the Non-Camper

Legacy Cabin at Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Legacy Cabin at Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Although I really love tent camping, my husband does not. He does however love being outdoors and exploring new parts of BC, so how did we get to explore the amazing Porteau Cove Provincial Park without the tent?  Simple – we booked a weekend at one of the Olympic Legacy Cabins.  Cabin camping is the perfect way for non-campers to camp: you still get the opportunity to unplug from everyday life and relax in the outdoors but without sleeping in a tent.

In the loft of the Legacy Cabin

In the loft of the Legacy Cabin

Porteau Cove has two small cabins located right beside the campground check-in office at the entrance to the park.  These cabins are fully equipped: beds to sleep four people, a small kitchen with place settings for four as well as basic kitchen supplies (pots and pans), bathroom (with shower), sitting area inside, and a deck that looks out into Howe Sound complete with BBQ and outdoor table. The patio area is covered making it possible to eat all our meals outside and enjoy the view of Howe Sound, even though it was raining for most of our visit.

We stayed in the North Cabin for a family get away in Mid-April. There is something about pulling up to the campground and knowing that your space will be warm and dry – without having to pitch a tent, tarp the area, and unload the car – that is really appealing!  I could get used to this type of camping. The cabins really have everything you need (except food of course!) so it only takes a few minutes to unload the vehicle before you can start enjoying the beauty of the park.

Exploring on the driftwood

Exploring on the driftwood

Once you are all settled in and ready to explore, what is there to do at Porteau Cove?

  • Easy Hiking Trail to the Look Out.
  • Check out tide pools when the tide goes out.
  • Watch for sea life – each morning we watched a sea otter swim from the pier to the shore and then hang out on one of the rocks in front of the cabin (we named that rock “Otter Rock”).
  • Watch the divers, or go diving if you are a diver.
  • Geocache, there are a few larger sized caches here, as well as an earth cache to help you learn about how Howe Sound was formed.

    The Pier

    The Pier

  • Venture up to Squamish – possibly stopping at the Britannia Mine Museum, Shannon Falls, or the Sea to Sky Gondola. During our visit to Squamish we enjoyed a treat at the Sunflower Bakery and picked up some locally made craft beer at the Howe Sounds Brewery.

Porteau Cove also has 60 campsites for tents or trailers (in case cabin camping isn’t your thing).  This Provincial Park has drive-in sites, as well as walk in sites.  All the sites we saw when we took a walk around the park had great views of Howe Sound.

Legacy Cabin at Dusk

Legacy Cabin at Dusk

I’m not sure if cabin camping will ever replace tent camping for myself and my daughter, or if it will ever replace hotels for my husband but I do know that it is a really great half-way point between the two.  I can see us exploring more cabins in BC in the near future and my daughter is already planning a return trip to the Olympic Legacy Cabins at Porteau Cove for the family next spring.  See you then Porteau Cove!

Things to know:

View from the porch of the Legacy Cabin

View from the porch of the Legacy Cabin

  • The cabin is small and truly only sleeps four people. In the North Cabin there is a double bed in the loft and a bunk bed in a small room on the main floor (great for kids!).
  • The cabins don’t have a path to the beach from them, there is a bit of a drop off from the patio area to the beach below (a few feet) so if you are bringing small kids be prepared for that.
  • If you haven’t been to Porteau Cove you probably need to know that there is a train line that runs past the campground. Some nights the trains are pretty active, some nights they aren’t.
  • Camp office has some items for sale like ice and ice cream, but for actual groceries make sure you stop in Vancouver on your way up.
  • Cabins do have a Coffee Press but no coffee maker, so if you really need a coffee maker (like we do) – bring your own!
  • There is no fire ring at the cabins, so campfire cooking is not possible but you can rent a propane fire pit at the camp office to get the campfire experience.
  • Pets aren’t welcome – for this camping experience you’ll need to leave your pets at home.

For more choices on camping in BC go to Where to Camp.

Try Geocaching This Year – Fun For The Whole Family

My husband and I began Geocaching several years ago, continuing the tradition of celebrating our anniversary by trying something new.  Over 1,200 geocaching sites later we are still enjoying this fun activity.

Geocache - some are as big as an Ammo Box!
Geocache – some are as big as an Ammo Box!

There are more than 45,500 active Geocaching sites in British Columbia and many will be on the routes you travel and even in or near your campsite.  The coordinates for all of them can be obtained from the  geocaching website which also provides you with a map, description of the cache including its size, type of terrain, difficulty level, and logs of people who have looked for it before you. Often there is a hint to help you find it.  Download the app or purchase a dedicated GPS available online or at many retail outlets.

Hidden Cache on Saltspring Island
Hidden Cache on Saltspring Island

Caches can be as small as a square centimeter to the size of a large trunk.  All have a log and the larger ones usually have tradable items. You can take a tradable item from a cache if you replace it with something of equal or greater value. This adds a treasure hunt aspect to the “sport” which is especially appealing to kids.

Cache in the Bottom of a Log
Cache in the Bottom of a Log

People have created caches in ingenious places. A winter cache we were looking for was eluding us.  There was six inches of snow and I was poking around under a tree with a stick.  We finally gave up but when I was putting the stick back down I realized that the cache was hidden in a little hollow that had actually been carved into the stick!  We have found other caches hidden in a bird house, an electrical box, and the caps on the post of a chain link fence. We have found several hanging from the grates of a storm drain cover and several more in rocks which weren’t rocks at all but little containers made to look like rocks. One large cache was filled with about 100 film canisters.  There was a note saying that you couldn’t claim this cache unless you signed the log.  We spent a lot of time looking in the multitude of canisters before finding the log attached to the bottom of large container.  Another cache was at the bottom of a tall vertical tube. The only way you could get it was to fill the tube with water so the cache would float to the top but there was a drain hole near the bottom of the tube so you had to fill the tube faster than it drained.  Yet another cache required you to put a credit card in a little slot to trigger the opening mechanism.

Travel Bug Found at Nairn Falls Campground
Travel Bug Found at Nairn Falls Campground

Travel bugs, also called trackables, are another aspect of geocaching. You can pay as little as $5.00 for a stainless steel tag with a tracking number.  You attach the tracking number to a small item and put it in a geocache.  The managers of the site dedicate a special link for each travel bug.  You can see photos that people have taken of your trackable, read comments plus the travel route is plotted on a world map. My husband and I picked up a travel bug in a cache near our house and placed it in a cache near the Vancouver airport. While there we were joined by a stewardess who was also geocaching.  When she saw the travel bug she couldn’t believe her eyes – she had placed that very same travel bug in a cache in Singapore a couple of weeks before.

Geocaching has taken us to places we otherwise would never have visited. It often gives us an added incentive to go for a drive, walk, a hike or a bike ride.  If you haven’t tried it but would like to, visit the website and click on Geocaching 101.  Enjoy!

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Interested in reading more on geocaching? Try Treasure Hunting in British Columbia’s Gold Country.

For places to camp in British Columbia go to the Camping Map at https://www.campingrvbc.com/

Share your BC camping and travel photos using hashtag #campinbc #explorebc

It’s always a great day to #Campinbc

Treasure Hunting in British Columbia’s Gold Country

Gold Country GeoTourism Field Guides
Gold Country GeoTourism Field Guides

The thrill of a modern treasure hunt comes alive with Geocaching in Gold Country – an area of BC’s interior rich in cultural and geographic diversity. Geocaching combines outdoor recreation, technology, and a good old-fashioned treasure hunt. Location coordinates can be entered into a GPS, or a smartphone app can set you on your way, or you can explore with a lower-tech version of Geocaching called Letterboxing. Your purpose? To visit places of historical, cultural, and geographic significance and bring BC’s past to life.

Marble Canyon, Gold Country, BC
Marble Canyon, Gold Country, BC

Gold Country started a Geo-Tourism initiative in 2008, and in 2010 launched a more ambitious project with the publication of their first book, Gold Country GeoTourism Adventures: Field Guide Volume 1. This book details 72 caches – hidden containers containing a log book, some trade items, and collectable stickers unique to each cache – hidden throughout Gold Country. In 2012, a second book, Gold Country GeoTourism Adventures: Field Guide Volume 2 was published, providing another 72 opportunities for exploration.

Gold Country provides a wide variety of terrain to explore and Geocaching helps provide inspiration – whether it is a day trip, a weekend away, or a more extended visit. Each Geocache listed in the Field Guides (or on the Geocaching website www.geocaching.com) is given a score between one and five for both overall difficulty (how challenging it is to find the cache) and terrain difficulty (how challenging it is to access the cache site – think length of hike, steepness, exposure, etc.). Each geocache is also given a unique code, making it easy to search and plan your route.

Logan Lake Shovel, Gold Country, BC
Logan Lake Shovel, Gold Country, BC

Gold Country Geocaches range in difficulty from what are referred to as simple “park and grab” style caches to ones that require significant off-road driving and extended uphill hikes. One of the benefits of geocaching in Gold Country is that each cache is located at a point of significance to the area. In fact, in Volume 1, each geocache is sorted into one of five categories: Pioneers & Early Settlers, Geological Wonders, Views & Vistas, Gravesites & Mystical Places, and Historic Churches. In Volume 2, the caches are categorized as Settlers & Pioneers, Geological & Views, Rails & Trails, Feature Film, or Agriculture.

Cornwall Hills Park Lookout, Gold Country, BC
Cornwall Hills Park Lookout, Gold Country, BC

As you travel from cache to cache in Gold Country you can consult your Field Guide, which provides information about the nearest community, parking, and any access information and restrictions. The Field Guides also provide an excellent background description of the cache’s significance. I have learned some truly fascinating history and geology through Gold Country’s caches.

I have had many excellent experiences in Gold Country, but a few of my favourite geocache discoveries are:

  • The Cache Creek Mélange: A site of geological wonder that I first visited as part of a university Geology trip. The Cache Creek Mélange exposes the movement of tectonic plates in a way not often visible, accessible, or understood by the average person.
  • Lytton Reaction Ferry: This Pioneers & Early Settlers site is fascinating as it provides a great view and history of the Lytton Reaction Ferry. This free ferry (yes, you should definitely take it across the river!) has no motor and instead uses a rudder, a fixed cable, and the current of the river to cross the mighty Fraser with up to two cars and twelve passengers per trip.
  • Marble Canyon:  Marble Canyon, on Highway 99 between Cache Creek and Lillooet, is a spectacular destination. A provincial park campsite offers a great place to spend the night, the towering limestone and dolomite cliffs are uncommon in BC and offer excellent rock climbing, and the hunt for this geocache takes you on a short hike to the base of an impressive waterfall.
  • Logan Lake Shovel:  This one is not hard to find, as the Logan Lake Shovel is also the home of the Logan Lake Visitor Centre! The impressive thing about hunting for this cache; however, is the sheer size of the 235-ton ore hauling truck and the enormous bucket on the mining shovel, from which the cache takes its name. Make sure you climb the steps and sit in the shovel’s cab!
  • Cornwall Hills Park & Lookout:  This is one of my absolute favourite Gold Country geocaches! The Cornwall Hills Park & Lookout requires a 4×4 to get to it, but it is so worth it to make the trek up the gravel road to the 2036 metre summit where an old fire tower provides 360-degree views stretching as far as Mount Baker in Washington state.

Geocaching in Gold Country offers something for everyone, from history buffs to adventure seekers. The Gold Country GeoTourism website offers detailed information for each cache, helping you to plan your journey before setting foot out the door. Just keep in mind that once you are there, a whole new world of possibilities will be opened to you, and you will likely find yourself wishing you had planned to spend more time in Gold Country.

TIP: If you find this blog interesting why not subscribe to the enewsletter and never miss another story!

If this blog was of interest to you, check out our suggested drive:
Following the BC Gold Rush Trail through the Cariboo & Beyond

For campgrounds in this area and elsewhere in British Columbia go to the Camping Map.

Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc

Published: March 16th, 2017

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