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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 14: Un-updated Guidebooks; “Ed’s Dead” in Toba Inlet


July 13, 2012:  Roscoe Bay to Toba Inlet

Roscoe Bay kayaker
is stoked by our beer offer
Refreshing!  We dipped into Black Lake’s warm, fresh water.  Somehow the subject of beer came up with some fellow swimmers, probably just complaining about how costly it is, compared to U.S. prices.  They were kayakers, wistful about being out of beer.  We figured we’d be replenishing, something they were a week away from, so we decided to give them a beer each out of our meager supply, as the weather was hot and they were a long ways away from resupplying and more hot weather was ahead.  When we made our offer, they proclaimed, passionately, “You must have heard our prayers!”  One of their group kayaked out to our boat to take us up on our offer, as we had to make haste to catch high tide out to our next destination.

Mud clouds the water when we
pulled anchor at Roscoe Bay
This time instead of seaweed, a mass of sticky mud came up with our anchor, casting a broad mud cloud swath across the water.  We left on a higher tide than we entered so were less worried about grazing rocks across the shallow mouth of the bay.

We passed up Walsh Cove for Toba Wildernest, even though it would cost us more to dock than anchoring at Walsh.  Visions of restocking our cold beers, and hot tubbing, all touted in our guidebook, beaconed.

Toba Wildernest boasts a
waterfall powerful enough to
provide hydroelectric power
“You must be Ed!” Wayne exclaimed as we stepped onto the Toba Wildernest dock.  “Ed’s dead.  We have no general store or power at the dock.  The hot tubs are for cabin guests only,” Kyle deadpanned in response. Kyle, his wife Andrea took over Wildernest 9 years ago, with their then 6 week old daughter. 

Many of his visitors discovered him from the “Desolation Sound & Discovery Islands Dreamspeaker Cruising Guide,” which apparently does not overly concern itself with updates... or accuracy.  Ed and his wife were the resort originators, mentioned in the guidebook.  “Too many people to share the hot tub otherwise,” Kyle added.  (Never mind that most hotels with hot tubs have a massively higher ratio of guests to hot tub). “It’s $1.25/ft / mooring and for $4 you can take a killer shower and I do sell block ice.”   Password protected internet access was also available, for basic needs like email, but not downloading movies. 

Proud 47' sailboat owner at Toba Inlet
We were definitely the paupers at this tiny dock, dwarfed by several 3-level motor cruisers, a trimaran and a restored 47-foot ketch awaiting its new sails.  The ketch owner wandered down to our 27-footer, commenting, “Wow, your boat is really… small!”  “Yep,” I replied.  “But it got us here from Everett and everything about it costs us less.”  He agreed.  Wholeheartedly and even slightly chagrined.

Rough start aside, Toba Wildernest is a gem, offering a spectacular panoramic view where Homfray, Waddington Channel and Toba Inlet fjords converge. Verdant mountains with cascading waterfalls and snow-topped peaks rise dramatically from the fjords. Far fewer cruisers continue up that way past Desolation Sound.  The wilderness embraces you, even the air feels fresher, crisper and cleaner.

Ropes to Toba Falls
Wildernest’s waterfall and stream provide both electricity and particularly delicious drinking water, the best we’ve had since drinking straight from glacial melt at Lassen summer 2005. The waterfall hike took about ½ hour, round trip -- the perfect cool, wet experience for a long, hot day. There was a riot of foxglove, with towering columns of vibrant magenta tube-shaped flowers.  This must be where really good ferns get reincarnated; I’ve seen a happier and more dense fern forest.  Close to the waterfall, once again the rope pulls made it easy to get up and down some tricky spots.

Toba Wildernest supper salad
(smoked trout, romaine, capers,
purple cabbage, parmesan cheese
and vinaigrette) Chez O'Day
While Wildernest didn’t have a general store, Kyle promised the ice he sold us would last days longer than the ice we bought anywhere else.  His came from the local water supply, frozen, solid, there, using the hydroelectric power.  Traditional ice, he explained, was compressed from block or chip ice, and was less dense and more air-filled.   We decided to see if he was right; we had ample opportunity and exceedingly bad icebox insulation.


Sunset at Toba Wildernest, Toba Inlet
We ended our day enjoying a glorious sunset view gazing across Toba Inlet / Homfray Channel.  Check back and I’ll plug in a panorama video clip.

Despite all the totally understandable hubbub about Desolation Sound, and we loved it, Toba Inlet captured my heart.