We have talked about staying on Vicary Lake ever since we paddled through it on the way to Creswick Lake many years ago. We had a memory of the sites being very close together so we only wanted to go if we knew the people on the other site.
Finally, we were able to book the two sites with some family members. Unfortunately, they had to cancel at the last minute because of a broken toe. We were sad but we decided to go anyway. We also realized it would be the first time we camped, just the two of us + our dog, in years. We enjoy spending time with family and friends but this ended up being a very nice trip. We decided that we would commit to booking one trip a year with just the ‘3’ of us.
We went mid-week so the portage from Three Legged Lake into Spider Lake was quiet. On the portages from Spider Lake to Vicary we didn’t see a soul. The portage from Spider to “the pond” is very, very steep at both ends, however, it remains one of my favorite portages. It is a beautiful hemlock forest and flat across the top. The put-in at the pond was easy because the water levels were high.
You only paddle around a point in the pond before you arrive at the takeout at the final portage into Vicary. This portage is all rock and the water was low at the Vicary side. This was interesting because the water was so high on all the other lakes. The last time we did the portage into Vicary it was very different, it followed the creek and was very overgrown. Now it is a bit higher up and open. There was a lot of grumbling from the person carrying the canoe, something about the dangers of carrying the canoe over slippery rocks.
After doing all 3 portages we realized it would have been impossible to do this with a broken toe. We were so disappointed but it was clear that staying home was a good call.
Both sites on Vicary are nice. It is a very small lake but the sites are blocked from each other by a point of land. Our memories told us they were closer than they actually are. It is also hard to tell from the water that they are not visible to each other. One site is #104 and one site is #106. We have often wondered what happened to site #105, it seems to be missing.
Site 106 is in the channel that opens into Westphail Lake, another very small lake. It is a lovely site, but not much sunshine. Westphail Lake was a nice little paddle with a lovely shoreline.
We stayed on Site 104. We both love a high rock site. Swimming off the point was excellent, but getting up and down the rock was a bit of a challenge for me. Apparently I need to work on my strength and flexibility. The campfire was out on the point and has limited space around it for sitting. This would be a challenge for a large group – which may be why someone had built a second firepit further in. Out on the rock the night sky was amazing – it is a magical place to have a campfire. There is another cliff (with a big drop off) at the other side of the point behind the rock wall next to the picnic table. We saw an amazing pink sunset from that spot.
The site has one good tent site. You could get two other small tents set up but it would not be very comfortable or private. The take out was easy, a small sandy area. The site is steep and lots of climbing but not a lot of small rocks – it is the smaller rocks that trip you up.
Because there are only two sites on the lakes passed Vicary, there is not a lot of canoe traffic. We only saw two groups paddling the two days we were camped there. One was a group of three young guys. We could hear them talking about 20 minutes before we saw them. We were glad they were heading to the next lake because they were talking about their beer and ‘getting a buzz on’. In fact, while sitting at the campfire that night we could hear them hooting all the way from Creswick Lake. On the way out the next day, we found an open vacuum sealed bag of magic mushrooms left at the portage. Perhaps this was what had affected their volume control.
We left Vicary Lake to spend two nights on the beach on Spider Lake – Site #5. We had been looking forward to showing our paddling partners our favorite beach. We knew the 6 year old would have loved it so we were again sad they were not with us.
When we arrived, we were surprised to discover that the water was so high there was very little beach left. However, because the picnic table was now near the shore the sound of the waves made it feel tropical.
We were happy to see that someone had cut down the big dead tree near the campfire pit, which was a relief – it was dangerous. Lots of sections of the tree have been used for seats or little tables.
We had great weather and swimming, but no walks on the beach.
We did lots of paddling. I usually have a towel or sarong in the canoe for the dog but one day I forgot. He was getting hot so I shared my hat. He always cracks me up.
I prefer paddling over portages and I doubt that I am alone on that one, however, portages can be storyworthy. On the way out we saw an older group on the portage. They were either new to canoeing or perhaps it had been a long time since their last trip. Everyone was trying to take too much. Tying things onto the canoes (never works well), trying to take a barrel and canoe or a pack and a canoe when you were not even sure how to pick up a canoe (dangerous) and someone had the thwart on backward so the canoe was not balanced (yikes). My advice, take it slow – better safe than sorry. Over the years we have learned a lot from watching others, but we know better than to offer advice on the trail! We just hoped they were OK.