Driving distance: approx. 216 kms from Vancouver
Permits required: camping fee, reservable campsite or first come first serve
Birkenhead is a beautiful lake, one of the prettiest we’ve camped at. There’s a lot to do, great hiking trails for every level of hiker, a lake to swim in (although quite cold), good fishing and wildlife viewing in the right month.
Oh, and at nighttime, the sky is literally littered with stars and if you haven’t been out of the city in a while the night sky here will be a welcome surprise!
Campsite notes: There are no flush toilets or wash houses here. Only pit toilets which is fine but after a few days with mostly girls we were wishing for a flush toilet. We’re OK without the showers because we either swim in the lake and use some biodegradable soap or hang our solar shower near our campsite (I highly recommend these-we have two!).
There are also drinking water taps located throughout the campsite.
We’ve noticed at some campgrounds that the rangers will sell ice on a daily basis although that wasn’t the case when we were here. However, there is a little “store” just up the road leading into the park that sells ice and a few food and snacky items.
This is one of the nicest beach areas we’ve camped at. It’s very long and wide, perfect for kids and adults who like to play in the sand.
It was pretty windy when we were there in late August but we still dared ourselves to get in the water!
Although we weren’t here for the goat sightings, the view of the lake is spectacular from the top of this 1 km trail. It’s pretty steep and rocky but with a little help even our 5 year old managed this one through the old growth forested trail.
Fishing for trout proved to be quite good for us. We always bring some lemons, garlic and butter when we go camping just in case some trout are caught!
There is now an interpretive program for kids at this park and kids can collect their rocks and minerals from the sediment in the creek. It is quite beautiful and aside from trout, we also caught a nice pile of bamboo leaves. They are quite nice and have interesting shapes and patterns inside.
Something we noticed on our trip was that the kids always want to camp on the same side of the campsite as the closest person. Sometimes we concessions stand alone and watch a kid chase a squirrel or a duck around the campsite trying to catch it. It is always wise that you sit behind the gender specific barriers that separate the boys and girls campsites to avoid problems.
Our kids enjoyed lots of other activities while we were camping. They played a lot of time on the swing that lined the beach between the campsite and the lake. Our adult companions also had a good time walking on the nature trails and fishing on the lake.
Since we brought along our kids’ toys, let’s talk about those. Our kids played with these:
Chopping Quest: This is a game that requires mostly hand signals but requires a little strategic planning. You don’t need any special blankets or other things but you do need a mat or cushion. You will need two boards, a plastic play-mat for the kids and a flat surface for you. You will want to measure your campsite to allow extra room for this but not too much extra driving around. There are many similar games such as hide and seek, duck, cover, and hide and seekuz but I don’t know too many that require elevation.
Crossbow – This allows for speedier movement than normal slumber games but requires a bit more concentration. You need to have an arrow with you at all times. Actually I think this goes for any game that relies on numbers only because words can get all mixed up in your brain.
kill switch – This is a great camping game to have at anytime of the year. You are the only one who can switch off the lights to conserve energy. The first person says ” Switching Off”, then someone else has to do the same. You must do the same, or the energy will go out. It is easy to deny yourself, but you can use this to help with toward learning basic self defense techniques.
I also have been known to use flashlights around the campsite to help keep the bad guys out. I’m not sure how else you can help someone Understand you.
That’s all in the glorious outdoors. I’m sure there will be more boys than girls that find this interesting. Please take the time to share this knowledge. It will grow them and help them become the man of tomorrow.