View of Toad Mountain from the recommended parking area. A nice wide flat area on the logging road.
I picked this out of the book (Where the Locals Hike in the West Kootenay) for my second hike of my mini-road trip weekend to the West Kootenays, to be sort of "rest day". Since you gain most of the elevation to the summit on the road, it is a very easy little hike.
This photo was taken the morning after I got to this point. I had driven up the night before. I drove out to the West Kootenay area Thursday night, and then hiked up Brennan Friday. Afterwards I went to the hot springs and had a burger. I started up the road just as the sun was setting and immediately everything went wrong.
The access road is currently being logged on the part of Giveout Creek FSR you drive on and the lower two switchbacks of Gold Creek FSR. This made the road harder to drive on. I stupidly backed into a ditch trying to let someone pass me. Thankfully the guy was very nice, and helped me drive my car out of said ditch. Then as I continued on the sun set.
At the 7.3km mark you turn off onto a side road that is rougher. There is a large sign that the road isn't maintained etc. By this time it was dark. Every little bump and hole in the road looked bigger and scarier in the harsh light/shadow of my head lights. Every spur on the road looked confusingly similar to the main road. And having messed up my kilometers lower down I could no longer rely on the book's directions. Eventually after a few more backups and much general discomfort I made it to this parking area.
I proceeded to have a celebratory beer, and go to sleep in the back of the SUV. No sooner was I sound asleep (I lay down on the air mattress at roughly 1/2 past midnight), then I was woken up to strange noises beneath me. I naturally thought it was a porqupine trying to eat my break lines. I got out of the car and poked beneath it, only to see small animals run away. Mice most likely. I got back in, but the stubborn creatures came back immediately. They made a horrible noise running around my undercarriage. As well I had no idea what kind of damage they could be doing.
So despite the fact it was 2:30am by this point, I had to start the SUV and head down two switchbacks, to the next remotely reasonable / flat place to park for the night. I went to sleep thinking I'd be woken up immediately. But for whatever reason, this switchback was not mouse infested and I only woke up when my alarm went off.
I proceeded to drive back up the road and then make breakfast. The road (for this short section, and on the way down the whole thing) looking much more innocent in the light of day. I think I learned my lesson about driving logging roads in the dark. After breakfast I started off, hiking the road to the actual trail head.