We met some friends after dark at Stamp Falls for some winter camping. Chris calls it winter camping, but there’s no snow. It’s not below zero. It’s just January camping on Vancouver Island. There was moisture in the air from a heavy fog, but we kept warm by the fire. The boys were in charge of dinner, so we ended up eating nothing but meat again. Last time this happened was New Year’s, when they brought everything we needed for a soup, and forgot the vegetables. But Chris is an amazing cook, and ended up making a crab/prawn bouillabaisse with venison sausage, which was just incredible. Mike shot the deer himself, and the crab was fresh from the Tofino docks. Stamp River dinner was meat-log; just a huge cut of pork tenderloin, cooked straight on the fire pit grill. Meat-log for dinner, and that is all. But cooked perfectly.
Kelsey and I took a walk with our coffee & Bailey’s this morning, and I can see how this would be an amazing summertime spot. Her family’s been coming here since her mum was nineteen. She says you jump in the river upstream, and float down, aiming feet-first for the large boulders in the river. Rest, the current holding you against a boulder until you move on. And be sure to get out of the water before the falls. There are also a few pools I want to check out. The water level is high right now, perfect for the boys’ fly-fishing, so the pools aren’t visible, but Kelsey says in summer the water’s a good temperature and there’s one pool above and one below the camping area.
There’s also the “Long Trail Up the River,” or saychlas ta saa nim, its Nuu-chah-nulth name. It must be thousands of years old. Chris and Mike fish and hike, fish and hike, using the trail to access the river, which I’m sure is what the local people would have done too. Me, I want to take my mountain bike on it. On the map it shows a southern road access to something called “The Sliding Pool,” which is intriguing. Some Vancouver Island guys wrote a book called Geronimo, a guide to the swimming holes of the Island, but I haven’t been able to track it down yet. If you see it, please let me know . . .
And yes, we caught a fish!