I was at work on Friday when Peter called and told me he was able to snag the last spot at the Inland Lake campsite in Powell River. Last summer we camped for 2 nights at nearby Haywire Bay but had been curious to try Inland Lake as well. It was a little bit rushed as I worked all day Friday and Saturday and we left Sunday morning but we got it together and had a blast. We stayed two nights at Inland and then, feeling like we wanted more time in Powell River we booked a night at a hotel that we’ve stayed in before. (The Island View Lodge)
Having been to Powell River before, both with kids and without, we had a good sense of the places we wanted to revisit and the new places we wanted to explore. After getting off the ferry we drove straight to Willingdon Beach. This is a popular spot, with its own campsite adjacent. There is a fantastic, shady playground with a spray park and a zipline and a decent concession stand. We got lunch there and sat in the grass and let the girls play. They also loved the Adult Exercise area!
When we were ready to leave Willingdon we headed to Inland to set up camp. Our site was large and private and the campsite was great. Haywire Bay has a better swimming beach but Inland has a dock and was less busy during the day and we had more privacy. Pearl and Rose liked exploring the forest behind our site.
We brought along our paddle board and enjoyed some evening paddling. While Peter was out with the girls, I got to chatting with a couple from Squamish who told me about a nearby island we could visit. There is a well-maintained trail that goes all around Inland Lake, 13 kms in total. A little less than 4km away is Anthony Island, connected to the main trail by bridge. So Monday morning we headed out there. The island is beautiful with a small, sandy beach and we had it all to ourselves. We had lunch there, swam, played, and caught tadpoles. Turns out Inland Lake has a bit of a bullfrog problem; these tadpoles were massive!
On Tuesday morning I walked with the girls a little along the trail in the opposite direction from the day before and then Peter paddled over to meet us and took them back to the dock. We packed up and drove to the hotel to secure a room. Since we couldn’t check in right away, we decided to head to a playground near Cranberry Lake that the girls had enjoyed before and have lunch there. With the idea of spending an extra night, we had packed plenty of extra food. So it was a simple matter to whip out our camping stove and cook lunch right there in the park.
From there we visited a couple of thrift stores but Rose in particular was pretty done by this point so we headed back to the hotel and let them watch cartoons for a bit. Pearl learned about live TV when she asked me to pause Paw Patrol so she could use the washroom!
Dinner was take-out from one of our favourite local restaurant, Thaidal Zone, and of course beers from Townsite Brewing! Then an evening trip to a beach Peter and I discovered on our anniversary trip last August.
Wednesday morning we checked out of the hotel and headed to Lund. This is a tiny spot at the very beginning of Highway 101. It’s a jumping off point for further explorations but a beautiful area in its own right. We hopscotched, we walked along the boardwalk and we (finally) had the famous cinnamon buns from Nancy’s Bakery!
Because of the ferry schedule we still had time to kill and thus headed to yet another playground. Mowat Bay Park is on Powell Lake with a nice beach and a playground. We brought out our camp stove once more and made ourselves lunch before driving back to Saltery Bay to catch the ferry home.
It was such a fun trip and a great way to kick off our summer camping. Peter and I often refer to camping with little kids as “an investment in future fun”; it can be hard work and it’s usually exhausting. But every year it’s a little easier and more rewarding. Outhouses and sleeping arrangements and car rides all get a bit easier. As we have before, we let the girls stay up late and all went to bed at the same time together. I would read a chapter or two of Anne of Green Gables and sing a few songs and they went to sleep easily. They played together well (mostly) and loved swimming in the lake. Pearl walked all the way to Anthony Island and back with minimal complaints. Camping can feel like a lot of effort at times but I’m always glad we did it and looking forward to our next adventure.