COOPER DISCOVERER - 6 Days in South Western B.C.

I'm going to start off by stating that I am not a writer, the only kind of writing I do is fact based research papers reporting statistics so my writing tends to be too the point and grey. That being said I do find myself in countless adventures so hopefully I can pull through and write an interesting trip report for you to enjoy.


It started like any adventure, chaotic. I woke up Wednesday April 27th at 5:50 a.m. to a phone call from my girlfriend, Katrina, frantically checking to see if I was awake as our scheduled departure was at 6 a.m. from her house. I rushed to get out of my house as quick as possible while still remembering to finish packing our cooler full of perishable foods and the last of my personal belongings.

I left my house at 6:30 a.m. arriving at my girlfriends house 5 minutes later and helped her put the last of her belongings into the truck. A quick stop at Tim Hortons for a breakfast bagel and a coffee and we were on our way roughly 45 minutes behind schedule.

Traffic into Vancouver was awful as always so it was slow going until me made our way onto the Sea-To-Sky highway which stretches from Horseshoe Bay to Pemberton. Our first stop was at a gas station in Squamish, ironically not for gas. After grabbing a few last items we forgot and a snack for the road we pushed on to Whistler and then onto Pemberton.

- Photo taken in Squamish at the gas station we stopped at.

Once we got to Pemberton we topped off the tank and filled our two jerry's and continued north until we arrived in the small town of D'arcy, B.C. We quickly diverted off the main road and onto a dirt road which led us to the base of the Highline Road. The Highline Road was built to connect the towns of D'arcy and Seton Portage and even carries the provincial status as a highway, this is so the provincial government carries the burden of maintaining it instead of the locals or B.C. Hydro who uses it as a maintenance road to maintain their hydro projects alone Anderson Lake.

Not even a few kilometers into the Highline Road we caught sight of our first black bear, I dubbed him the name "Boris".

- Boris giving us a good look over.

We continued alone the Highline road which twisted and turned along the neighboring mountain sides above Anderson Lake for a good hour or so until we reached Seton Portage where our tires met pavement once again, however it was a short lived reunion. We pushed on to Mission Pass which is a gravel road that climbs Mission Peak with steep tight switchbacks, it was here we came across our second and last black bear sighting. After reaching the summit it was clear sailing downhill towards yet another B.C. Hydro reservoir, Carpenter Lake. We continued along the shore line until we reached the end of the man made lake where we crossed the dam and turned towards our destination for the next 3 nights, Tyaughton Lake.

- View of Anderson Lake from the Highline Road.

- Second and last black bear sighting.

We arrived at Tyaughton Lake at a reasonable hour and started to set up camp in the deserted rec site. After a bite to eat we started to settle in, placed some beer and ciders in the lake to keep cool and started a fire to keep us warm as it was still quite cool up in the mountains.

- Lake beer along with view of the Tyaughton Lake nearing dusk.

- Picture my girlfriend took of the fire testing out her new phones camera.


Thursday morning we decided to sleep in a bit getting up at around 9 or 10 a.m. We made sausages along with toasted some english muffins and made some breakfast sandwiches which was a tasty way to start off the day. After cleaning up and digesting a bit we took out our kayaks on the lake for roughly 2 hours admiring all the beautiful lakefront cabins along with the scenic mountains off in the distance. Once back on shore we decided to go visit the small mountain towns of Goldbridge and Bralorne located 30 minutes and 45 minutes away, Goldbridge has the highest population of the two with a respectable 43 people. We decided to continue on and visit the ghost town of Bradian which is just minutes uphill from Bralorne.

Our sense of adventure hooked us and pushed us even further up the mountain exploring some old mining roads that once led to the Pioneer Mine, a gold mine during the Cariboo gold rush which produced $370,000,000 worth of gold. Along the mining road we found our first trace of snow which makes for some fun driving conditions. We drove along the road until we reached a burnt down hotel that once housed miners during the gold rush, it was this point we decided we better turn around and start heading back before it would get too late.

We however wanted to make one last stop before we went back to camp, we swung by a different rec site located along the shore of Gun Lake, a larger lake that neighbors Tyaughton Lake.

Once back at camp we made ourselves dinner, started a fire, and cracked a beer. I did learn however that it is not wise to store beer in a windy lake...

- Breakfast of champions.

- Kayaking on Tyaughton Lake.

- Snow covered trail, not very deep so it was manageable.

- Photo of the old mining road.

- Burnt down hotel near the Pioneer Mine.

- Bonus truck picture along the mining road.

- View into the Bridge River Valley from the mining road.

- Photo of the ghost town Bradian.

- Photo of Gun Lake and snow covered mountains.

- Lake beer does not pour well.


Friday was our planned adventure day. I had been wanting to further explore the northern section of the Bridge River Valley which I had never done before. We set out around 11 a.m. to see if we could navigate ourselves into the southern section of a provincial park located just west of our campsite. After taking a wrong turn and ending up ascending the mountain near our campsite I quickly gave up on the provincial park and decided to start driving towards the two Lakes I wanted to visit that day, Mud Lake and Swartz Lake. After a quick pit stop at our camp to use the restroom we were on our way to Mud Lake.

We followed a FSR that ran along a small canyon, it would drop and rise in elevation frequently. At one point it was descending towards the river when we came across a rock slide that had left a boulder the size of a smart car in the middle of the trail making it impassable. We quickly scanned the map for a way around, thankfully there was a different trail that we could take to get to our destination. After some back tracking we started on this new trail, however it wasn't long until we came across a foot of dense wet snow. Sadly we were forced to turn around again, desperately looking at the map for another way around I discovered that I had misread the map completely and that the road I was trying to access wouldn't take us to the Lakes I wanted to visit and that the road that led there was clear of snow and rock slides!

- Snow blocking our second attempt on the wrong trail.

Once on the correct trail we made great time to Mud Lake which involved some water crossing as the Lake had spilled onto the trail due to rapid snow melt, this made for some fun driving! We had lunch at Mud Lake and then continued on to check out Swartz Lake, however we once again were stopped by snow and were forced to turn around.

- View across Mud Lake from the rec site.

We decided at that point to head back to camp for the night so I backed down what I'm sure was a creek that I had driven up looking for Swartz Lake and turned the truck around. We made great time heading back to the camp site but along the way I noticed something strange sticking up out of the hood on my truck, upon further investigation we found this little guy.

Little guy managed to hang on for at least 20 kilometers on some rough FSR's!

Once we got back to camp we once again made dinner, started and fire, and cracked open a beer.


Saturday was our moving day, we had planned on switching things up a bit and leaving the Bridge River Valley and head down the west side of Harrison Lake.

We woke up early and spent the morning making breakfast and breaking down camp. By noon we were back on the road heading towards Lillooet looking for a quick shower before heading back into the woods. After a few failed attempts we found a campsite that would let us use their showers for the cost of a one night tent site. Once cleaned up we immediately were on the road again heading back towards Pemberton, but this time on the scenic Duffy Lake Road.

- View point that looks down the length of Duffy Lake

- Photo of gorgeous snow capped mountains.

We followed Duffy Lake Road but turned off before arriving at Pemberton. We turned on to In-SHUCK-ch FSR which we drove for 78 kilometers before taking another turn off towards our destination, Sloquet Hotsprings.

After another 10 kilometers of rough logging roads we arrived at Sloquet Hotsprings only to find that a stag party was set up there and the campground was full. Disappointed we desperately searched for a camp site that we could claim so we could settle in for the night after 7 or 8 hours of driving. Unfortunately we were not able to find a free marked campsite but thankfully we found a small clearing along the side of the road that my trailer would fit in perfectly! After about 20 minutes of fiddling with the trailers positioning I was happy with it and unhooked it, leveled it, and opened up our tent. We set up minimally that night in hopes we could claim a proper site the next day.

Because of the stag party we decided to not hike down to the springs that night and just relax in our camp far away from the party.


We slept in quite a bit that day... I believe we got out of bed at 11:30 a.m.

Once up we attempted to make our sausage breakfast sandwiches again which was a tasty success! Once fed we took a walk around and found an empty campsite that was ideal for our set up, we wasted no time claiming it. After a quick move we were setting up camp again in a greatly improved site.

- Camp for the second night at the Hotsprings.

Once we were happily set up we decided to head down to the hotsprings and relax a bit there. Of course I don't know the meaning of word relax and ended up digging a new pool for the hotsprings which took about an hour with no shovel only my hands and a sturdy stick. After a break in one of the other pools we decided to head up for an early dinner then come back down with a shovel, lights, and a boatload of candles. After dinner we went back down to the springs and I started working on the pool I had just dug out a few hours prior. After a short time I was satisfied with my work and could finally relax in it.

- Some progress pictures of the pool I had dug. Sadly there is no after picture of the final product.

We stayed until it was dark out and admired the stars, lit some candles and enjoyed the hot pools. After a while though we decided to head back up to our camp site as we had an early morning ahead of us to pack up and head home.


Monday was our last day off so we had to head home sadly.

We woke up at 8:30 a.m. and immediately started to pack up. We were all packed up and fed by 10:30 and were once again on the road. We opted to continue the rest of the way down In-SHUCK-ch FSR which was only another 10 kilometers or so to the northern tip of Harrison Lake. At that point it turns into STS'AILES FSR and stretches another 80 or so kilometers.

It took us roughly 4 hours to drive that stretch with the trailer, we had a few stops, one being while the Hydro crew blasted a rock face with some explosives, another being a fueling break to let a logging truck gain some distance on us as it was very dusty!

Once we got back to pavement we started making better time, we topped up on fuel in Agassiz then continued on to Chilliwack where we stopped for victory Whoppers at Burger King. Once we satisfied our craving we merged back onto highway 1 and made great time home arriving at 5 p.m.

Since we were home so early we were able to set everything up to air out and start packing away our camping gear which was nice for a change.

Anyways that is my trip report, all I have left is a 16 minute video I made of our dirt road travels for you to enjoy!

Here is also a link to the original photo resolution imgur album with a few bonus photos: