RubiKon Adventures

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

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Part 5: Tales and Trails of The Chilcotin, Bella Coola and Beyond

The next day of my adventure was going to prove to be just as amazing as all the days before.

My Route for this day
Sometime during the night I seemed to have shown symptoms of some kind of cold/flu bug. My throat was sore and swollen. I had a hard time breathing through the morning hours.
Besides that, I was have the time of my life.

During some point between me cooking my breakfast and packing my bike, a local rancher stopped by and chewed my ear off.  Len Harris was his name and he told me about the history of the lake and the park I spent the night in. Surprisingly to me, he stated that the grizzlies like to come down to the lake though the park area I had just spent the night. I thought it was a bit safer as I was out in the open... more so than being in the trees and the bush. In any event he gave me the complete history of the mill and the logging operation along the lake. The logging operation didn’t pay too much mind to the environment in those days and in fact, the environmental impact of the logging was the reason it was shut down. The park had many cool commemorative plaques and such. It wasn’t hard to imagine what life was like out here in its hey day. Len told me he had run into a couple of riders on black bikes near the Chilko River. He asked if I knew them or was riding with them. I said no, but I had a pretty good idea who one of the riders was.

After Len left, I was finally on my way. I must admit, it was hard to leave. The weather was quite nice and the lake was still smooth as glass. But, being the greedy adventurer I am, I wanted to see more.

Breaking Morning Camp

Bike packed and ready

One last look down the lake... Still smooth as glass

I left Tatlayoko Lake in good spirits.
As I got on the road heading towards an area called Henry’s Crossing I came upon Brent and Paul. Paul and I have met before, in Lillooet the year before. Our paths were bound to cross as we both love the Chilcotin and it turns out, BMW Adventure bikes. Both Paul and Brent were riding classic R100 GS Paris Dakar bikes. Perfect bike’s for this kind of country.

They were actually heading out towards Highway 20 because some folks had told them the road was rough going from Tsuniah Lake over to Chilko lake (Neamiah Valley). Apparently, they ran into Walt, Boris and Norm at Fletcher Lake. They told a tale of mud and woe and how they dumped their bikes on the rough slippery road. A story that I didn’t doubt for a minute.

You see, the week before it had been raining, raining and raining… just like it had all summer on the Chilcotin plateau. I knew those roads would be greasy. One of the big reasons why I planned to go to Bella Coola first and then swing through this area after it dried out a bit.

It didn’t take me much to convince Brent and Paul to join me. I was going to go to Chilko Lake and the Neamaih Valley regardless of what people stated the road was like.… at least I was going to try. One of my arguments was that with 3 of us, it would be easier to lift fallen bikes. I was really excited to have company on this leg of my adventure because of the extreme remoteness and the rough road… a road that really doesn’t show up on many maps.

Unfortunately for you reading this, I took very little pictures of this day. However, I did take a lot of video with my helmet mounted GoPro and my Digital SLR camera. Alot more appears in the video… be patient. I will post that very soon.

We passed by Choelquoit Lake and stopped at the Chilko River to filter some water. From there we headed out to Brittany Lakes and over toward Tsuniah Lake. Along the way, we were stopped by one of the 1st Nations folks in a truck. He immediately pulled out a clip board and was asking my name. He also wanted to know what I was doing out here. I was a bit nervous at first, but when I questioned him, he stated that they were just taking a survey to see what kind of visitors they have travelling through their new land claims settlement. He stated that we weren’t allowed to hunt or fish on their lands. This was fine with me as I had no fishing gear or guns with me. Just some bear spray. 

Brittany Lakes
The three of us made our way to Tsuniah lake and encountered our first gate. In the past. There are several gates that must be opened and closed. This all added to the raw adventure we were experiencing. As we left Tsuniah Lake we were greeted by sow and her cub. They quickly took off into the woods. This was unfortunate as there was no time for a picture and unfortunately my helmet camera was turned off.

We made our way to this place that is shown on the map as a lagoon. We crossed a bridge along the narrowest part of the lagoon. I stopped to shoo some video. From my perspective, it is an amazing area to see.  My previous excursion through here yielded a lagoon full of spawning salmon. No salmon this time around, but still spectacular nonetheless.

The ride was just really cool at this point. We were riding along Chilko Lake and getting peek-a-boo views every now and then.  The road, while not really technical, offered plenty of challenge for our big dualsport bikes. It was just enough to make it fun and kept it interesting. Nothing that would make us give up or break out in hives. Very enjoyable for sure.

Scenic pull out along Chilko Lake

Does it get any better than this?
About half way between Tsuniah Lake and the Chilko Lake there is a nice clearing area that provides really nice views of Chilko Lake. It would be an ideal camping spot except there was a sign posted that there was no camping allowed here.  The views were stupendous and it was a nice place to rest and relax a bit.

From there we rode out towards Nu Chugh Beniz Campground located at the west end of the Nemiah valley on the shores of Chilko Lake.

On the way to the Chilko Lake Rec Site
We took a wrong turn at some point and ended up at dead ends into local residences. I looked at my map and figured out where we were and proceeded to take the lead. At some point, I got separated form both Brent and Paul. I retraced my route and there was no sign of them.

I figured that at some point we’d either meet up again or they would camp somewhere else. I decided that I would proceed to the Nu Chugh Beniz Campground. I was there for nearly an hour when Brent and Paul finally arrived. Apparently they rode as far as the Konni Lake General Store and then turned around.

A lone prairie surrounded by mountains
Looking West

Those are the start of the coastal mountains
We set up camp and was able to purchase some beer from a fellow camper in the campground. The weather was fantastic and we really enjoyed the evening.

And that was the end of one of the best days of riding out on the Chilcotin Plateau ever.

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