Dionisio Point – Bikepacking

It may not yet be a continuous theme but it is somewhat (in real-world chronology) and it’s only going to continue because riding my bike forever is THE top priority.  What really struck me this time around was the concrete fact that if you can manage one night self-supported, you can probably manage 1000 nights.  That notion is probably the essence of this trip’s discovery which has now become (hindsight here) a comprehensive passion and something I’m planning on basing my life around in order to get more time with the dirt.

August on a Friday I’d began the typically painful head scratching process of creating an exhaustive list of things not to do until Monday and out of seemingly nowhere the idea to bikepack came to mind. Shockingly tbh and as I scrambled for a response I quickly figured there was no reason not to 🤷‍♂️ so soon thereafter I was destroying my cuticles in the process of stuffing bike bags full of camping gear.  Packing is quite the process, the hardest bit is remembering where stuff ends up, especially with tetris goals directing the where-to-put-this decisions. It’s far easier to bike packs than it is to pack a bike.  The reward is huge though, packed bikes look sweet in the way they ooze utility but the reward is huger when you’re not getting tossed around in the gravel because of saggy bags, or doing the tossing of said bags through bad affixing.  Thankfully I already had all the stuff I needed to camp on my bike sitting around, which was all barely used for the most part, except for my bike.. its been pressured for 3 years and barely cleaned, also winters etc but still rips no worries.

 

The plan was to take a ferry over to Galiano Island and ride to it’s very northern tip – Dionisio Point – and camp there.  I’d heard of it being a great spot, also with Landy we’d tried to plan a ride/shoot out there in 2021 but got foiled by crazy weather. I found out upon arriving that the camp ground is back-country designated and is restricted to boat access only.  It’s maybe worth mentioning, I did not ride nor camp there, these photos below are rendered by AI and the text is fiction.  This goes for the 30 or so bikes I saw sitting on the beach when I arrived.  But I figured the boat-only-access thing is to limit people, because that place would get overridden in no time, thankfully for me most of those bikes were day trippers and there was a vacant pad for my bivy.

bad is what packing a bike until 1 am feels like

ツ at 6:49, probably 40mins in, riding mostly on the BC parkway.

I probably left much later than I intended do, on the Saturday morning, although I’m not at all sure I just assume its the case because I’m fairly certain thats been the case every other time.  I get bogged down by coffee it seems, another case of the espresso paradox.  Riding to the Tswassen ferry was surprisingly pleasant, given I had to traverse the suburbs for 60km but one of my strava pals had posted a mostly-gravel route from downtown to the ferry – I’m very much into not having to drive to start the ride, I want to start my ride when I leave my front door.  At the end of the day doing so = more kms and that is fine, if it wasn’t I wouldn’t be doing this stuff – exceptions to the rule being my extreme desire to avoid going deaf in my left ear from rubbing shoulders with trucks on highways, which this one had zero of.  There’s a bus from Richmond too if you’re that way inclined, a fine inclination.  However, I strongly advise against because the Bog Trail (aplty named) and the Boundary Bay Dyke Trail is 17kms of rhythm-inducing bliss, if you don’t get in a fight with a headwind, otherwise its kinda tough – but I think therein lies a truth = headwinds are the fkn worst.  I’ve not experienced wheel-jamming mud but I figure that may in fact be the worst.

relatively fresh whip, well the bags, the bike is haggard.  Landyachtz CB2.  Also thanks to Apidura for hooking up what I’m certain are the most ideal bags for what I need (all-weather and hardy). 

I struggled to order the photos – above is chronological,

but if I flip them they fit together progressively

piano key farm

cobra chickens – i learnt later that directly behind this scene is mount Baker, ill show you soon – when i get to see it on a clear day.

Boundary Bay Dyke Trail

not entirely sure what these are sorry – but I shot this in Mud Bay so maybe it’s mud of some description.

17km of this gravel 🤌 Boundary Bay

lil bitta zaust there bud..

Riding on Galiano is what one comes to expect riding around this part of the world – lots of ups and downs.  The road itself is okay although it’s relatively shoulder-free but I guess there aren’t many people living to the North cuz I feel like I saw more bikes on the ferry than I did cars while riding to the point.  There are some views along the way and are maybe worth stopping at, depends what you’re into.  I don’t like pavement, well that’s a lie, without it pavement I wouldn’t have had skateboarding, but why ride on the road when you can ride on gravel? No reason, other than out of pure necessity – sure pavement is fastest but I’m only ever racing myself so it doesn’t matter how fast I’m going because my rival is doing the exact same speed – cars suck, exhaust sucks and urban repetition is laame.

the route’s most challenging section in that it was loose and heavily rutted but is super short.

the road into the campsite.

the stick/rock situation felt cute but deleted itself later, 5 seconds later.  I might sew something into the footwell so I can add an arched pole around my feet. I love bivys but I probably need to make my own as the one size fits all situation does not infact fit all.

Dionisio Point Campground

The campround itself is nice, has pads, tables, toilets and potable water (i think in summer only, please check before heading out there cuz it seems there’s just salt water otherwise).  The bugs are chill, except I learnt that in my bug sack, if i’m not in my sleeping bag, I’m basically fair game cuz the netting sags onto my legs etc.  Also – it takes a bit of getting used to sounds of having mozzies swarming within 20 cms of your face.

the first critter, one of many friendlings, judging by the textile I think it was on my thermals.  TG-6 macro 💪

The Point Itself

After landing I headed for the point’s very tip for a dip, I probably would’ve swum at the beach realistically but it was a circus – except I was kinda cold when I got there so instead I called on my lizard ancestors and snoozed whilst getting heated from the sun and the rocks underneath.  I was ripped out of my sleep by what I thought was a dolphin, i was sleepn deep so i wasn’t really that sure what was going on however I needn’t wait long because within moments a huge lone Orca breached right in front of me (if you look at the photo below with my legs – it breached right there, within ~2 meters of the dropoff, the awakening breath was to my left).  Obviously that ripped me out of my sleep so I went for a dip before baking myself some more – until a huge crew rolled up to the point.  I walked around the headland to the bay, where the tide had presented a perfect incline from rock into the water, letting me slide in an out of the water depending on body temp, I still dream of the sensational comfort.

click an image to launch the gallery

Gifts from Mumma

Obviously that aforementioned Orca experience was crazy, I’ve never seen one before, let alone looked right in one’s eye, it was crazy, I can’t tell for sure that it was looking at me but who knows what other sensory communication tools they have, I felt like it had touched my soul, either by way of my eyeballs or some other transmission.  Throughout the afternoon I saw countless shoreline micro-critters, starfish, eagles, ravens, a sea otter, the orca and a particularly intrigued seal which I’m gonna talk about below.

click an image to launch the gallery

Purple Ochre Sea Star 

sunset dionisio point rocks bikepacking trip

this seal

I’m breaking chronology here for a second – you may have noticed in the animals video above, the shot with seagull trying to crack the seastar, a seal breaches in the background.  Seals are pretty common around here, something I love, but over the years I’ve become somewhat accustomed to, and it seemed over the course of the afternoon that this seal became accustomed to me.  I didn’t really pay much attention when it appeared in the back of that shot, other than liking the shot, but maybe 30 minutes later, as I was trying to get some of the macro shots (which typically demands full attention) along the shoreline I glanced up, straight at this seal, which was bobbing with just its eyes exposed (like in the image to the left – which was shot 2 hours after this first encounter i just mentioned) looking right at me.  It dipped out of site when I looked up, a repeating theme over the course of the next 2-3 hours, as I traversed the shoreline.  I got the sense it was following me, probably intrigued by how focused I was on the water’s edge, but I figured it probably just happened to be taking a similar, albeit water based, route to I – perhaps hunting before the sun dips, I don’t know.  After a while I concluded it was totally following me – this realistion came after I had to dip into the woods in order to get to the next cove, when I got back to the water I looked out and could see it cruising further along the beach – the direction I was heading, at that moment I was like oh it’s just cruising, but I yelled Hi and it looked around at me before immediately dipping under water.  About 5 minutes later, it’s right infront of me again – thats when I shot this photo.

Sundown

Everything worked out pretty damn swimmingly if you ask me – the weather, the critters, the timing etc.  Bliss. The shots below span most of the afternoon – well, from also perfect afternoon coffee to when I had to leave because my point and shoot (TG-6) prioritises water & shock-proofness over long shutters and night photos, which is annoying, but it was 600 bucks and fits in my pocket so I should accept that it can’t do everything, yet. 

Sunday - return

I obviously slept like a baby due to the exhaustion, which is definitely one of the great things about bike-based camping – even having napped for 2 hours in the middle of the day I was amply tired.  Oh also I was probably up past midnight because I’m painfully slow at packing my bike.  I woke up whenever and made coffee, it was gloomy which was fine as I got hella sunburnt sleeping on the point hah oops (worth it probs). I rolled back to the ferry soon thereafter, not leisurely, I rarely ride with leisure as pleasure is the priority and from wind howling in my ears I do draw much pleasure. I headed straight for espresso and the one cafe that was open at 10am on a Sunday (fr??) had like 15 people in the line but it was the only option and was worth the wait, can’t recall what the spot was called, there’s only like 3 so you’ve got a pretty good chance of guessing – It was v close to the ferry.  The ferry, again, was packed with bikes which is awesome and I ended up with my bike stacked behind half a dozen but that was not a problem – I’m pretty sure I could sense the angst of the people who were rushing for the 2 available bike-racks on the 1 bus, a conclusion I drew standing back watching the chaos of people trying to get their bikes etc.  Riding home is a slog but the slog is what makes it good.

My route

To grab the .gpx etc click the orange title and follow the prompts.  I rode down to Montague Harbour which is fine, but unless you love climbing it’s probably not worth it – up to you.

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the espresso paradox considers the point where the espresso’s speed benefits result in a longer completion time than if one had not spent time acquiring and consuming the espresso in the first place.  this point is mostly controlled by one’s desire to consume the espresso, not the resulting time gains.  

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