Posted by: Silver | October 6, 2010

In Search of Cowichan Lake

First, a couple of points of clarification: Cowichan Lake is a lake, Lake Cowichan is not. Lake Cowichan is a town on the shores of Cowichan Lake, and it is easy to find simply by following the Cowichan Lake Road. Cowichan Lake Road, however, only takes you to Lake Cowichan, not Cowichan Lake. With me so far? I do hope so….

It was my day off, it was beautifully sunny, and I thought it would be quite lovely to take a cycle ride out to the lake and sit by the water eating chocolate for a while before cycling home again. Not a big ask, I didn’t think. And the ride out to the lake certainly was quite lovely: most of the traffic now takes the new highway 18, so the old Cowichan Lake Road is beautifully quiet and scenic. So attractive, in fact, that it took me considerably longer to reach Lake Cowichan (the town, that is…) than I anticipated, simply because I kept stopping to take photos. When I finally did arrive in Lake Cowichan, a quick glance at the map revealed several lakeside parks, so with time pressing against me a little bit, I headed for the nearest: Ohtaki park, created in honour of the town’s Japanese twin. This park, however, turned out to be very tiny and very up a bank from the lake itself: there was a bench, but if you sat on it, you could barely see the water through the inevitable safety barrier. I moved on.

The next park, Saywell, looked larger and more promising, but after fairly extensive trekking along the gravel paths in my cycling shoes (not ideal), I established that, despite its lengthy waterfront, the park did not actually contain any waterfront access – unless you count the path down to the control gates for the weir, that is; but somehow, this wasn’t quite the view I’d had in mind.

The final park on my side of the town was optimistically named ‘Lakeview Park’: surely I’d be able to find the spot I sought here? But in order to find out, I first had to find the park. On the map, it appeared to be simply at the end of the road I was on; in reality, it turned out to be down that road, onto some posh new development of status houses, round a couple of residential corners, along a narrow path tucked away behind one of said imposing residences, then up a steep dirt track that necessitated leaving Ranger behind and once again trekking in my cycling shoes. I did eventually find the lake view in Lakeview Park, and I did just about manage to do so before my chocolate melted in my backpack*, but after all that effort, I barely had time to enjoy the triumph before I had to head off again in order to be home before dark.

It was still an enjoyable day, though, and it was interesting to see Lake Cowichan: I’m not saying it looked like a retirement community or anything, but it’s certainly the first time I’ve seen a grocery store with dedicated parking spaces for mobility scooters…

(*No, you’re right: you can’t wear a backpack on a recumbent. Mine is strapped to the luggage rack over the rear wheel with bungee cords.)

Ranger looks for the view in Ohtaki park

Saywell Park: well, yes, you can see the lake... if you stand on tiptoe and peer through the bushes

Finally! The lake view in Lakeview Park, Lake Cowichan

One of the photos I delayed my arrival in Lake Cowichan for: I believe the sticky-up thing in the background is Mount Prevost

Evening sunlight over another view from Cowichan Lake Road



  1. beautiful photos. oh and I love that you choose to ‘go for a little bike ride’ on your day off! Shows strong comittment between you and Ranger: not just a work relationship but a leisure one too!

  2. Yes, all the photos have been brilliant.

    Best way to avoid chocolate melting in your backpack, by the way, is eat it straight away – none of this deferred gratification lark!
    But if you must save it, the darker the better – melts more slowly, tastes much better.

  3. Great photos – I love that header shot of the woods.
    I have just looked back again at your ‘Wishlist’ post
    and see that you left me a reply. Sorry for delay, I checked back there for a few days after I left the comment but saw nothing, so thought you would email me instead. Anyway, I’ve seen it now and am onto the job. Because of the shape and size you would like, it will look a little different but I will send you a link to a photo of the result before I make/send.
    Love the idea of a Canadian picnic being just chocolate BTW, even more reason to want to visit one day!

  4. Hi Silver, it has been some time …… anyway, I am reading all your blogs, but I could not keep from commenting on this one, as I recalled some thoughts we shared on naming lakes. Lake Cowichan just adds the final odd twist !
    By the way, reading about safety barries and control gates I can tell you are definitely not in the Yukon anymore …… Hi-yo, Silver, keep exploring ! You have already covered more ground than most Candians will in an entire lifetime !

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