Day 6: Farwell Canyon and Beyond
"When I'm gone, don't look for me in the places I have been. Look for me in the places I planned to go." ~GrizzLee
Video - Day 6: Farwell Canyon and Beyond
Not having time, nor the initiative, to go back over to Chilko Lake and tackle the supposedly rough road over to Nemiah valley, I packed up my gear on this morning with a heavy heart. I know that it will be a year before I can come back. My only hope is that that the weather is just as spectacular when I do. I enjoyed a rather long breakfast, the highlight of which was 2 cups of hot cocoa and warm oatmeal supplemented with a picture perfect view across the lake. The waterfowl were chirping as were the loons. I really enjoyed the quiet. The morning had a nippy bite to it and a light frost had coated everything. A sign that fall is just around the corner.
|My morning at Cochin Lake.. Hot Cocoa and the song of the Loons|
As I left, I took some different roads on the way out; exploring a bit more and stopping briefly at Eagle Lake. Once I was back out on hwy 20, it didn’t take long before I had to move cautiously among the cattle in the road. After passing a native village called Redstone, the road conditions allowed me to move much quicker. Before I knew it, I was at Lee’s corner in Hanceville. I fueled up with regular unleaded (That’s right, they don’t have premium fuel in these parts). I downed a cup of coffee and grabbed a drink for later. I talked a bit more with the locals. The native folks here are really interesting and you can get some interesting tidbits about the history and some interesting places to see in the area. The native gal at the store came out and chatted with me a bit about her life growing up in Bella Coola. She was, in fact, a Nuxalk native and she told me about the about the history of the people and her family. It was from her that I really became aware of the 1st nations people and the plight of the Nuxalk folks
|My arrival at Farwell Canyon|
I left towards Riske Creek and took a turn to head out to Farwell Canyon. Once again, I was off the tarmac and back on gravel. This was to be my road bed for the day. By now I was use to it as I have ridden very little paved roads over the past 5 days
|Hard to resist the charms the canyon offers|
|River carved canyon with hoodoos and the sweet smell of sage|
It is hard dispute the beauty of Farwell Canyon. Too many, it may just seem to be another beautiful geographic feature of the planet. For me, it is much more than that. it is a portal to another world… a means of time travel and look back into history from a geological sense as well as seeing what the land was like before man developed the country. This country has it all. It is extremely rugged and rocky (much of it volcanic in origin) with forested pines, lining the benches into the high country which give way to large tracks of natural grasslands. Large creek basins drain through the country. Traveling through this specific area by motorbike is like nothing else I have ever experienced. Deer, wild horses, cougars, open range cattle, bears, etc. live here. In my travels here, I have seen very little people. And the people I have meet are extremely cordial. There is the occasional abandoned log home and barns to be found throughout the area. All this makes for exciting travel and one never knows what lies around the next corner. My GPS and maps are not to be relied upon. Many times I have looked for roads listed on the map, only to see a faint path of where one existed or to end up at a dead end. All this adds to the adventure.
|An old cabin (homestead?) makes for a fairytale setting|
|They say dreams are whispers from your soul|
|Somewhere out there is your soul|
|Arriving at the famous Gang Ranch|
|I feel like a cowboy in the old west|
|This is a portal to another world|
|Adventure riding nirvana!!|
The highlight of this area for me, is traveling on the east side of the Fraser canyon. After passing through Gang Ranch I dipped down into the canyon, crossing the Churn Creek bridge. From there, the road winds it way up high along the benches where unobstructed views into the heart of the Chilcotin Plateau can be had. Not only are the views vast, they are accentuated with the colors and geographical striations of the canyon walls the bench lands all caused by some massive flooding event. It is somewhat equivalent to the scablands I have traveled through in Eastern Washington. My pictures only capture a fraction of the beauty. To really appreciate it, one must be see it in person. At one point I stopped for over 40 minutes just sitting and soaking up the views. All the time wishing that I could stay longer.
|Dog Creek Bridge|
|If I were an artist, better I could not be of nature's own choice of colors and design|
|The landscape is surreal|
Eventually, I turned away from the Fraser Canyon, traveling along the Dog/Canoe Creek road. I had ambitious plans of dropping back down to the Big Bar Ferry Road and coming back up a steep grade to Cougar point. The grade there is an astounding 23% and the signs posted state that the road isn’t recommended for public use. However, the sky clouded up and it looked like it may rain. I didn’t want to be on such a road when it was wet. I made my way through Jesmond and several other ranch lands, including the Big Bar Ranch and finally came out at Kelly Lake. I was hoping to camp there for the night. Two things prevented me from doing so. First and foremost, the campground was closed and there were signs posted at the day use area that no camping was allowed there. I wasn’t going to let that stop me, but a local came by and told me not to camp there and that I would be fined. Since the weather was marginal, I rode my bike over the Pavillion Mountain road on my way to Lillooet. The Pavillion Mountain road is a wonderful road that has an 18% grade with multiple switchbacks as it makes it way up and over form Kelly Lake to Pavillion. It is a wonder ride with incredible vistas. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked to because of the approaching darkness and the few sprinkles now dotting my helmet.
|A moment of reflection|
|Arrival at Kelly Lake|
|"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams" ~John Barrymore|
I arrived in Lillooet and found a room to spend the night. I was disappointed to see that it never really did rain over night. I could have setup in Cayoosh Creek Campground. However, a comfortable bed and a shower were gladly embraced. It was a long day full of riding, sightseeing and spiritual awareness. I had been on an adrenaline rush for most of the day and my body was tired.
The next day, was rather uneventful. I did ride the Duffy Lake Road over to Pemberton. All the while there was a constant threat of rain. From there I rode my bike back home, passing through Whistler, crossing the US-Canadian border and finally back home to my house in Sammamish, Wa. Whew, what a RIDE!!!!! One of the best I have ever had.
Until Next Time...