Southern Interior of British Columbia

XPEDBC

Adventurer
#1
Hopefully this is the right place to post this. It wasn't a hardcore trip but BC is so beautiful I think a few people will appreciate the photos.

So last week I decided to head out for a few days of exploring as my wife was stuck working and I had some vacation to burn before the end of the year.

I loaded up my snow shoes, downhill skis, Kona mountain bike and sleeping bag with no real itinerary.

Day one I travelled west from the Greater Vancouver Area approximately 150km to Hope BC where the Fraser River Valley turns into the Fraser Canyon. Before it got too dark I hopped on the bike and explored the area around Hope. The area is still at a fairly low elevation and was snow free that day. I snapped a few blurry shots before it got too dark:



Sunset from town facing the river.




Underneath the girders of the Trans Canada bridge over the Fraser River.





From the park in the middle of town. There are a bunch of huge chainsaw carved logs of grizzly bears, eagles etc scattered throughout the park.



I drove up and over the 4400 ft pass on the Coquihalla Hwy (as seen on Highway Through Hell: http://www.discovery.ca/showpage.aspx?sid=45238) through the snow and slush and eventually made camp on an icy road south of Merritt BC. Merritt is a cowboy and ranching town and still has one of the largest operating cattle ranches in BC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Lake_Cattle_Company). This area of BC is one of the driest and is classified as "semi-arid" and pictures of the area will surprise people who haven't been to BC yet.

In the morning I did some more riding around the Merritt area and explored some of the back roads:



There aren't too many areas in the province that are still snow free. All the higher elevations surrounding this area have snow which is too deep to wheel in without a serious rig.

If anyone is curious, the Sequoia has a mild lift and 33" duratrac tires among a few other things. We've had it less than a year, but its been a trusty truck and has taken us to the Arctic Circle and back already. For this trip I removed the sleeping/storage platform to make room for the mountain bike (stored inside for better security). When you remove the seating for 8 passengers you gain a lot of room inside!

For the evening of Day 2 I continued north to Kamloops and beyond up to the valley of the Sunpeaks Ski Resort. I camped by a frozen lake in about 6" of snow. There were no other campers in the campsite so I had the place to myself.


Day 3: This day I splurged and went lift skiing at the resort. There wasn't much fresh snow but the views were great and it was nice to be back on skis.






I decided to go for a sunset cruise, this time back west along the Trans Canada toward Cache Creek. This stretch follows Kamloops Lake which is 29 km (18 miles) long and the highway has a few scenic stops along the way.

Here's a shot during the daytime and summer:




and here's the shot I took in cold December:



It was approx -5 Celcius air temp with a wind chill of -20 Celcius.

I continued west to Cache Creek which is a small village with an interesting history attached to its name. There are a few theories but the one I've heard is that a pair of wagon-trail bandits robbed a stash of gold, coming south from the goldfields of the Cariboo Gold Rush (the year 1859). The bandits were being chased by the long arm of the law and apparently stashed the stolen gold in the bank of a small creek, a tributary of the Bonaparte River. The bandits were caught shortly after and put to death by hanging. To date, the gold has never been found..... or so the story goes.

I treated myself to dinner by the fire at the Bear's Claw Inn in Cache Creek: a cozy place:




It was tempting to grab a room at the Inn as the temp dropped to -9 Celsius (without wind chill) but I decided to continue south to the area around Spences Bridge, another small settlement along the Thompson River and is pretty much dwindling. While leaving town, two big grey wolves ran across the highway in front of me. I found a camp site along the river and set up for the night - the only human around!

Despite the -9 temp, I was perfectly warm in the down sleeping bag (even without socks) and had a good long sleep.


Day 4:

After a good mug of java, I hopped on the bike for a exploratory ride on some of the gravel roads. The temp was still -5 below with a wind chill approaching -15 or so. I followed one road out of town along the river:




Then I found a nice partially frozen water fall. I had to scramble up some clay cliffs to access the slot canyon. The ground was frozen solid which made for some sketchy moves! Partway up, I realized I was encroaching on a group of bighorn sheep. I was topped out where I was as I was facing enough exposure that I'd be seriously injured if I slipped (and nobody knew where I was). I noticed one particular sheep above which began to show some stress due to me being there. I backed down with a few more sketchy moves and gave the sheep some room for a more comfortable escape. I did not want him to charge me while I was barely hanging on!

Most of the sheep made their way across the canyon and I snapped a pic:




I found a safer way up the cliffs and finally had a nice view of the falls:




I looked it up when I got home and apparently the falls are 123 feet high!


I decided to find another way back, and followed the flow down stream into a deep slot. I was able to cross the water on ice while hanging onto a log (again very careful as I was alone and without an itinerary to leave). The water made some crazy formations and I had to take a picture of them:






Another important factor to this area are the railways. There are two national rail lines running through the same canyon here (CPR and CNR) and the lines have been carved out of the rock in some places.








and I'll throw in another pic (albeit blurry) of the truck and rail lines in the back ground:




That night I returned home, thus ending my lil adventure.

Hope you guys enjoyed!
 
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XPEDBC

Adventurer
#5
Ice climbers on the falls?
No climbers, just dark holes in the ice. I had this area all to myself!



Cool places to visit. Thanks for sharing.

Where do you carry the bike when you travel/explore?
Well I have your regular hitch-mounted bike rack, however I happened to drive off leaving the pin on the rear bumper and lost it. Because of that, and for better security, for this trip I slid the bike in the back through the hatch. (The third row is removed). I love the room these trucks have... big enough to haul a tonne of gear, yet small enough to fit on almost all of the Toyota-sized trails
 
#6
Great report. Ive only been to BC once, but it's deffinitely beautiful country. Great pics and cool truck. You don't see too many of those modded. Don't know why, looks like a pretty solid platform. Obviously it's working for you!
 
#8
Great photos...thanks for sharing! Next time you are up in the Kamloops area again and want to see some of our hidden gems, let me know! We can head out together or I can give you directions to some neat places in our area.
 
#9
Always enjoys seeing some BC goodness. I get out to the Kelowna area (Big White Ski resort) a couple times a winter normally but most roads are not open in the mountains. I was fortunate enough last year to visit BC six times including Vancouver, Gabriola Island via ferry, up the highway to Whistler, Lillooet and some trails in the area, a plane ride over Van and North Van in a Piper Cub and a run up the Grouse Grind. Obviously, I have only touched on the possibilities.

PS - the original Rambo: First Blood movie was filmed in Hope and some of the original buildings that were built for the movie are still standing and in-use.
 

vicali

Adventurer
#13
Hey, You can almost see my house on the lake photos!

Looks like you had fun in our neck of the woods, you should come back to town when the bike park is open..
Plus there are a ton of alternate routes around, next time we'll get you most of the way home on gravel :)
 

mortonm

Expedition Leader
#14
Nice report, I like your pictures and your truck a lot. Something I might consider moving forward in a couple years when kids come into the picture
 

VanIsle_Greg

Trailer sold, whats next?
#15
Good trip report. Can be a pretty sketchy area to travel in the winter, but it would seem that this winter is a bit light on the snow, so it still allows for some exploring and backroads fun. I wish my XJ was not broken right now, I need to get OUT!!
 
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