Doriston is a small community situated southeast of Egmont and the Skookumchuck Narrows. When I say small, I mean small. There are 13 properties side by side over the space of a couple kilometres. Each one extends approximately 1000 feet back from the shoreline. There is only one property that is open and lived in year round.
The area was first settled back in the early 1900’s when a sawmill was built. A number of people moved into the area shortly after to log, fish and farm and in 1912 a school was built. There were generally between eight and 12 students and one teacher who taught everything.
By 1915 there was a post office called Shaw Cove and a telegraph service by 1920. Sam Lloyd arrived before the Second World War and when Austin Shaw, the postmaster, went off to war Lloyd took over as postmaster. Once a week Lloyd would row to Sechelt and back to pick up the mail. This was a distance of approximately 55 kilometres. Doriston was named after Lloyd’s daughter Doris.
One of the 13 properties in Doriston
The Gjerdin family arrived from Sweden in 1924. There were three children – Gunnar, Martin and Harriet and the two boys stayed for most of their lives. They built two fishing boats which they moored in a dredged out boat harbor in front of their property and in the winter they logged. Gunnar became known as the “mayor” of Doriston and died in 2003 at the age of 90. He outlived his brother and his wife Cherry, but his sister Harriet still survives.
There are no commercial businesses in Doriston today. Internet is only by satellite and I’m not even sure that there is cell phone reception (I forgot to check). No roads in except logging roads that are impassable by vehicles including 4-wheel drives. Access is by boat – 10 minutes from Egmont and 15 miles from Tillicum Bay Marina in Sechelt.
Old, abandoned truck on one of the properties
There is a long trail into Doriston which is sometimes quite difficult. I have hiked it twice now - once last May and again this May 2012. The trail is not well-used, looks more like an elk trail and it is obvious the elk use it! There is flagging and markers, but there are stretches of trail where there are none or it is confusing. Some of the turns are very hard to notice so my plan is to hike in one more time and clearly flag the turns so that I can describe the route clearly.
Example of a well-marked part of the trail
When we finally got to the trail that follows along the waterfront and connects several of the properties we discovered some little "caches". These were jars with notes in them with stories about the area. One of them marked the spot where "Mayor Gunnar Gjerdin zigged when he should've zagged" and crashed his motorbike.
Hiking along this trail we also came upon a woman working in her garden. She came out to greet us and we chatted about the history of the area, the trails, etc. Her property is the only one in Doriston open all year round. Wonderfully friendly and hospitable lady!
The logging road to the trailhead is accessed off Egmont Rd. It is the same road that takes you into Klein Lake. Instead of taking the turn in Klein you keep to the left and travel up and along the east side of North Lake and Waugh Lake.
The road is good and most cars can make it quite a way. There are some shallow cross ditches, but unless your car is really low it is doable. However, the road gets rough after a couple of kilometres and you will need 4-wheel drive for the rest of the way.
Trail route as shown in Google Earth
The trip in and back is about 11 kms from where we parked our truck. The highest elevation is about 257 metres (845 feet). Most of the trip in is downhill so the trip out is mostly up hill. Only the first 1.5 km through the bush and past the wetland is difficult and not well marked. Once you get out to an old skid road the going gets easier and then you pop out onto a logging road. From there you are either on some sort of road, wide path and well-marked trail.
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