I'm intending for #GetOutside to be a recurring series of posts about my ventures into the wilderness.
Cogburn Beach on the east side of Harrison Lake, about 150kms northeast of Vancouver, BC, has become my go-to three-season camping destination. I've camped here from April to December, and while it can get crowded in the summer, in the spring and fall it's practically always empty, and it's not so far away from the city that you can't make it an overnight getaway.
Plus, if you have the vehicle and a little inside intelligence, there are secret hot springs to be found a little further up the road!
There aren't any campsites at Cogburn; rather, you just find a spot on the long stretch of beach to pitch your tent, pull up a log, build a fire, and watch glorious sunsets over the mountains on the west shore of the lake.
There are pit toilets every hundred yards or so, and unless it's a peak summer weekend and/or spring runoff has swollen the lake's water level, it's usually pretty easy to find a spot.
My all-time favourite expedition to Cogburn, though, came in early December, when we left Vancouver on a Friday afternoon, arrived just at sunset, built a fire and ate a delicious dinner by moonlight and slept pretty comfortably in minus 5 temperatures. Bring subzero gear, obviously.
We had the place to ourselves, entirely!
The next day, we drove up to the secret hot springs and enjoyed a warm dip in the ramshackle collection of old hot tubs and baths.
I have heard of people getting stuck in the snow at the springs in 2wd vehicles without adequate ground clearance, though, and be warned: tows out of there run $125/hr, and typically take about eight hours to complete!
On a related note, access to Cogburn Beach is via twenty kilometres on a wide and well-maintained forest service road (Harrison East FSR), but I've never driven it without encountering at least one person who'd run into trouble, typically a flat tire.
Once, I helped a family change a flat, and they gave me a chainsaw carving of a bear with a honey pot as a thank-you! I named him "Honey Butt" and he occupied a place of honour in my apartment, a reminder to always be prepared when you're heading outdoors.
The other thing is that your companions in the backcountry around here are likely to be rustic-types. Once, we were flagged down by a dude in an ATV with a rifle strapped to the back, who inquired as to whether we might have a spare iPod to sell him and his girlfriend.