Following adventure day four last Sunday, Remembrance Day served up an impromptu late afternoon drive to Stave Lake. Just under 60 Km. east of Vancouver, found us in Mission with barely an hour 1/2 till sunset. With a vague idea that Burma Street north off Dewdney Trunk Road led to an interesting destination – luck wasted no time in showing the way. The first Km. or so screamed “just another rural road”, punctuated by the odd house and characterized by narrow winding pavement. Before long gravel patches made way for full on washboard, single lane wood bridges, blind corners and washed out shoulders. Despite, or perhaps because the road got rougher and impossibly narrow the further we drove – we stayed the course for 12 Km.
I don’t know what we expected to find, but should have taken the number of mud caked trucks and occasional ATV or motor bike we encountered as a clue. Without warning, the road opened enough to park beside a “beach”, I use the term beach because that is what the first mud man on an ATV told my husband it was.
The place was something out of reality television – a short walk from the road placed us smack dab in the middle of “Mudnuk Rodeo”. As far as the eye could see, trucks gathered in groups of 2 or 3 around massive campfires. Country music and beer cans competing with full throttle exuberance of motorized bravado. Bikes and ATVs encouraged by whoops and hollers to go faster, steeper, and deeper into the mud.
Walking onto the beach, past shot gun shells and burnt out stumps I sensed a change of “mood”. I started taking pictures in what little daylight remained. We walked a lazy circle on the perimeter, trying not to draw attention or be glaringly obvious. Fat chance – this wasn’t a place to welcome outsiders. As we crossed the road to our car, a dirt bike emissary followed, wanting to know why we took photos of their shenanigans. Satisfied we weren’t gathering “evidence”, a jovial “have a nice day” began a tricky drive back to the main road.
A few hundred meters before the main road, Conservation Officers controlled the exit with a road block. Both sides of the road clogged with mud caked vehicles of interest, we were waved through.