RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 3 - BMW R1200 GSA Solo Adventure: B.C. Chilcotin Plateau to Bella Coola

" When you sleep on the ground with the stars in your face
You can feel the full length of the beauty and grace
In the wild places man is an unwelcome guest
But it's here that I'm found and it's here I feel blessed "
~Dan Fogelberg - "The Wild Places"

This is my story... my solo adventure motorcycle ride through remote lands where I camped every night except one. I had no real itinerary and a vague plan of the route of where I wanted to go.
Day 3 (Sept 2, 2012)
Note: Click pictures to enlarge

This day was long, long, long. I think it was long, not because of the miles made, but rather, the amount of time spent at each rest place. There were many. Not all of them were for resting, but to soak up the views. There were many sights to see, many things to contemplate. 

Leaving Kelly Lake... I had choices

We take a side road toward the Fraser River
 Edge Hills Provincial Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located west of the town of Clinton. The Edge Hills flank the wall of the Fraser Canyon north of Moran Canyon and form a small fore-range between the river and the higher Marble Range just east. Access to the Edge Hills is via the Jesmond Road, which cuts north off the Pavilion Mountain Road at Kelly Lake. A spur road from the Jesmond Road west to an overlook at atop the Edge Hills, known as Cougar Point. (Ref. Wikipedia )
The Fraser river escarpment is one the most beautiful sights in all of B.C.

Look to the right, yep that's the road I'll be going on eventually

Not recommended for public use!!

23% GRADE!!

The bottom as viewed from my zoom lense

I beleive this part of the canyon..  is known as Moran canyon.
Moran Canyon is one of the deepest and grandest stretches of the Grand Canyon of the Fraser.
A bench out here in the widerness..aka Cougar Point
Before I head down on the bike, I dismount and look around a bit. I see a boot path out to a bluff. I come across a log sittting bench. Imagine that? Out here in the wilderness? What a place to sit and ponder. So I did. It was fantastic.

I was contemplating my next move. The sky was overcast and every now and then, I would feel a rain drop.. ever so slightest. Hmmm...

Well, I guess I should climb on my bike, turn the ABS off and say a few prayers before I head down this "road". It must have been at least 3000 feet in elevation above the Fraser river... at least!!
Long way down
Geez that's a long, long, long way down. I can't see the road I am supposed to take. It must have a thousand switchbacks on the way down.

These pictures don't do the view justice. The expansive views are too good be be true standing there in the flesh. It was definitely a defining moment in the ride for me. This is a geological wonder beyond anything I would've imagined being here. I never would've thought B.C. had something like this hidden away.
In color

Moran Canyon Dam, was a 1950s proposal to dam the Fraser River in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC). The structure was planned in the wake of devastating floods in a time of rapidly growing power demand, and if built, would have powered the largest hydroelectric facility in North America. After a protracted environmental battle, Moran Dam was defeated in 1972, mainly over concerns of its adverse impact on salmon populations in the Fraser River basin. The shelving of the project also influenced cancellation of other hydro developments along the river, and today the Fraser remains one of the most productive salmon fisheries on the continent. (ref. Wikipedia).

I say, thank for saving this country.
Looking color

Black & White
The High Bar Road enters from Jesmond Road. This portion of the road is rough and steep, and four-wheel drive vehicles are essential in wet weather. Visitor use of this road is not recommended beyond the lookout at Cougar Point because the road is extremely steep beyond.

Enclosed here, is a video of the ride down. I call it the "Slow Ride in Double Time". It is a bit shakey and I play it back at twice the speed. Take note of the softball size rocks, the mile high drop offs along the cliff , the narrow road and the "hair pin turns. I was lucky that I saw no one. It was very tight in some spots. This was like no road I have ever ridden on before.
An old homestead cabin?!?
Near the bottom, I come across the first of numerous cabins (all early homesteads I assume).
Entering First Nations land
The gateway to the goodies. I am now entering native ranchlands.
Look at that road. Neat, lets' go check it out.

A little side note about the road down in the valley. It can be very tricky in places. There were many places where I crossed through deep, powdery sand. It was tricky to ride through on a fully loaded GS. I nearly crashed a few times, but was able to recover in time. Many places I rode very, very slow with my feet dragging to the side. Opposite of what one should do. .. I know.

I mentioned earlier that it was like liquid with a baby powder consistency. It was dusty and the dust made its way into every crack and crevice. It is soo very dry down in the canyon. I bet that very little rain, if any, reaches the canyon floor during the summer.

WOW x 2 !!!!


Bottom of the canyon

Better with a road
Every road tells its own story.
I started early on my ride. It was now still early in the morning. I began seeing many fresh piles of bear scat in the road. At many gullies and narrow canyon crossings coming off the mountain, I saw their tracks where they crossed the road. I kept looking for them, but never saw one.
Hoodoos and remnants from glacial flooding.

The road to the Big Bar Ferry crossing
Looking across the river, I see the road from Lillooet that goes down to the Big Bar Ferry. That looks like fun as well.
High Bar Road = Great motorcycle road
Junction of High Bar Road and Big Bar Road
The junction of the High Bar Road and the Big Bar Road.
Sage bush here and big trees higher up in the mountains. What an abrupt change in scenery ...all within a short time.
The man in the mirror. He's been dogging me the entire trip.

There is that guy looking over my shoulder again.

Solitude and serenity
The scenery behind me looks better

The road ahead

The road to my left

Great canyon views

The Road Behind Me

My final view as I veer away from the canyon.
My final view of the canyon as I head east away from the canyon on Big Bar Road.
No pictures of the next stretch, but there was a recent fire and I saw many homes that were burnt to the ground. Fire Fighters were still out there helping out.

Further east, I was stopped and had to wait for a German movie company to finish filiming a scene for a movie they were making about the historical gold rush. Once I got the go ahead, I was asked not to stop, but they had horses, wagons and actors/actresses in old west clothing. Very cool...
An outlaw.. in these parts?
Once I got back on the Jesmond Road, I came across an outlaw. A real outlaw.

This dude was dangerous. Hmmm...
Income Tax Evasion, Fishing w/o a license. Yep, this was one real bad dude.
Sounds like a pretty harmless fellow
OMG!!! Now I am scared.

No worries, I think I have him in size and strength.
That is one ugly dude. And an uglier one in M/C ATGATT. I think I have the size advantage. And yes, he did waste my time with minutes of useless drivel.
On with the helmet and I tore out of there like a banshee hell bent for leather. Never to look back.
Decisions, decisions.

Alkai lake along Poison Lake road

Gretchen in the meadows.

Lichen covered rock... KTM orange?

Old fencing

Canoe Creek indian band area

I re-join the Fraser river canyon
About 40 miles later, I rode through the Canoe Creek 1st Nations village and I begin to head back west. The Fraser River comes back into view.

Huge hoodoos from ancient floods
Look at those hoodoos from some ancient glacial flooding. Gorgeous.
I love this picture

Hyder was having a great time

Hyder and I began to party. No cars, no people. We could've danced naked in the road and no one would've known. And I'm not talking.
Embossed photo

Loneliness is the word of the day
Great place for a snack. Just down the road, I passed a gal who parked her car along the road. She was sitting on the Canyon rim in a chair reading a book in total silence and solitude.
B& W makes for good art out here.

Hyder could hardly contain himself

Yours truly and Hyder taking a bio break ... yeah, let's leave it at that.

The bridge crosses the Fraser and up toward Gang Ranch
The next section would take us over this bridge past the Churn Creek Protected area and up to Gang Ranch. It was now about 1:00 p.m. Early afternoon. The day is still early. I still have some riding to do.

 This is filmed on the High Bar road and the Canoe Creek Roads in British Columbia. It gives one a riders perspective on the road and the canyon. Hopefully inspiring those who have never seen this fantastic country.

This is what it looks like from the valley floor.
I spent some time at the bridge crossing the Fraser River(Not sure if it is called the Ganch Ranch Bridge or the Dog Creek Bridge, or...??).

This section of the world, was the start of the Chilcotin Plateau. As you will see, the area is stuck in some kind of time warp. I realy felt like I was travelling in the old west. I met real Cowboys, cattle, horses, and came across many ranches. This country was laid back and easy. The sun began to appear and best of all, no paved roads for miles, miles and miles...
At water level, looking north from the bridge deck
At water level, looking south rom the bridge deck

Finally arriving at the historical Gang Ranch
Next stop. Gang Ranch. This is the entrance to the historic Gang Ranch, which for many years, was the largest ranch in North America, it is now the second largest in Canada.

It is surrounded by rich grasslands extending out to the Churn Creek Protected area.
Old time photo of my horse from way back when
This is a historic photo (circa 2012) of a multi horsepower mount used to traverse the local area. It was considered one of the most adventurous modes of travel in its time.

Emboss the photo

The grasslands were fantastic

The grasslands were beautiful and, as I understand, were much more vast than they are now. In the age of fire supression, unnatural processes have allowed the forest to overun the natural grasslands.

This place looks as if it could be in eastern, Montana, the Badlands or the prairies of many states and/or providences.
Old homestead buildings (?) near Gaspard Ranch area. Not really sure. There was no one else around to ask.
Love the sod covered roofs.
It appeared that the buildings are still used to some extent.
As I made my way northwest across the wild plateau, the sky opened up and I got blasted with sunshine.
The contrast between blue sky and white clouds was amazing.
I came across some old homstead site (town?). There were several old cabins and building in various states of decay here.

Yours truly, looking inside.
If it had been later in the day, I would have considered camping here. It was gorgeous.

Another photo (Circa 2012)... A lone explorer and his mount displaced on the prairie.
After many more dead end roads and some fun riding, including mingling with local open range cattle, I arrive at Big Creek. I ran into a true-to-life cowboy back here. He was in chaps on his horse. He was herding his cattle and other herds back up into the mountains. He told me that he lived his summers tending the cattle in the high country. What a life. I was to run into him again 3 days later at Hanceville (Lee's Corner) where I got a personal invite to join him on a cattle drive. I told him, maybe next year. He gave his contact info. We'll see. It would be fun.
Choices, choices...which way to go. I did a little bit of side road exploring but, ended up heading toward Fletcher lake. I thought I might spend the night there.

Those mountains in the background are the coastal range toward the Pacific Ocean. They are glaciated and I will eventually make my way through them to arrive at the coastal town of Bella Coola.

I decided to bypass Fletcher Lake and push on toward Alexis Creek.

This area is fantastic and is quite beuatiful. I could imagine building a cabin here and living out on the prairie. I think I would be happy here. Holy smokes this place is like a story book.

I gas up at Lee's Corner (BTW: they don't have Premium fuel in these parts). I then proceed over to Bull Canyon Provincial Park. There is a threat of a thunder storm brewing. I get this photo from the Chilcotin-Bella Coola Hwy 20 as I pull into my camp for the night. The sky and clouds were looking ominous.
The sky was on fire

Camp at Bull Run Campground
I quickly setup my camp in anticipation of rain that never came.
The threat of rain makes for good sunsets
I have a nice dinner, and take a dip in the Chilco River to wash the dust from my body. I sit in my camp chair, reading and sipping on some cocoa as the sun goes down. What a great day. I'll say it again. What a great day to ride a motorcycle. It was some of the best back country m/c roads imaginable. I loved every mile of it.

Again, I head to bed with no thoughts of work or the daily grind in my mind. I sleep like a baby. All was well with the world.

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