Tour de Central BC.
Lee and I took a tour of British Columbia for this years 2 week vacation. Why travel BC you ask? Because it is BIG and pretty diverse and we wanted to see the province that I grew up in and Lee now calls his home. We only actually saw a glimpse of the province and we only traveled half way up
Things we learned on this trip;
Now back to the riding.
Our first stop was Williams Lake. We were initailly shown a 'stunt' trail built by the same locals that build log homes. Needless to say they had some interesting stunts made with some really nice wood, but since we get enough of that at home we decided on a more XC type trail. For more information on Williams Lake and a really cool shop see Red Shreds
Off to De Sous Mt we went. Here is the map that the locals provided
De Sous also courtesy of FRBC and Canada Human Resources. Most of the locals shuttle this climb, we were told it was really steep! And LONG, 35 minutes later we were at the top. I guess long climbs mean one thing to guys who shuttle all the time and mean another thing to us climbing powerhouses recently inspired by watching Lance!!!
There were two trails at the top. Since we weren't told of this by the locals, and the map didn't talk about two mountain bike trails down, we figured the one with an 'H' sign was for hikers, the one with the sign that said 'DH to Fraser' was for bikers. At this point we should have thought a bit more You see the one trail headed down in the direction that we came up.. The other trail headed in the opposite direction, but we figured it would just loop around, the other thing was the 'to Fraser' part. The Fraser is a river in BC that is a long long way from Williams Lake, but you do go by it when you head North
So off we go on the DH to Fraser!
It was a beautiful Trail! Single track! Not ridden a lot and diverse!
There were even some really STEEP sections that even I had to walk I rode the first couple but they say women are similar to cats in some ways and I respect my nine lives I tend to go a bit fast down these chutes and considering we were far from the car ( farther than we thought at this point ) I decided to err on the side of caution.
Did I mention the views? Well this was one view we did not expect to see the Fraser River When we saw this, we stopped Lee did you bring the map? No. Is that the Fraser River? I think so. Where is that wrt Williams Lake? Um, not sure Oh my (not the word I used), do we have a long road ride ahead of us!
We continued down the trail, which became more open at a bit steeper at this point and came across a hiker. He had a map, that showed us we were on the opposite side of the mountain from where we should have been.
At one point on the descent there was a really cool section that went down a ravine and the trail went up the one side, bermed around and down then up the other side! That actually made our little mistake really worthwhile! No pictures here since we were going pretty fast and it was too much fun!
We were on the road, the road to Bella Coola ( On the coast of BC ) we started off hopefully in the direction of Williams Lake, no signs, lots of cars coming towards us, towards Bella Coola? Shouldn't there be more cars going towards Williams Lake our tricky minds playfully asked us? We finally saw a guy on a tractor and asked him if we were riding towards Williams Lake and he assured us we were, phew. Then we came across a road named after the Lake we were camped at, could it be? A short cut! We took a chance and yes, it was a short cut that probably took about an hour off our 2.5 hour road ride back to the car. It was a good thing since I only brought two Luna bars, but did have a Hot Fudge Brownie Delight at the local Dairy Queen earlier in the day which practically fueled my whole ride!
Back to the start of the trail!
Back at the campground on Chimney Lake
Gratuitous Volvo shot!
The next leg of our Journey took us to Barkerville BC, which is on the way to the Bowron lake chain for you canoe enthusiasts.
I wanted to return to Barkerville since I went there during my youth when my dad (who is German as are most of the tourists in BC) would make us go camping for three weeks of of the year. Barkerville has been instilled in my thoughts as the place where I was attacked by a Spruce Beetle and laughed at by my brothers and dad the B@stards! Ah youth when your only care is getting the best seat in the van before your brother
ANYWAY, Barkerville has an interesting History, you may skip this paragraph if you don't want to know about it, Briefly;
-> 1858 Gold was found on the Fraser River ( empties at Vancouver ).
-> >30,000 people head North, mostly from San Francisco who failed to find gold in California.
The governer of New Caledonia, James Douglas of the Hudson's Bay Company realized that if the British did not claim this land as theirs, these Americans would take over the area and claim it as their own. Prior to the rush in 1857 he proclaimed that all mines on the Fraser and Thompson Rivers belonged to the British. Then in 1858 the Colonial secretary presented a bill to Parliament creating the New colony of British Columbia to ensure it remained in the hands of the British, as well as removing the monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The Cariboo Gold rush was ON creating the gold rush trail up the Fraser river to Lillooet, then by horse or foot to 100mile house (100miles from Lillooet, NOT Vancouver ), eventually ending in Barkerville. The areas heyday went from 1860-1885, it burnt down, was rebuilt, it was home to greater than 6000 people at any given time, half of which were chinese in what could have been the largest china town after San Francisco. This may not sound significant, but this place is REMOTE, even now, and would have up to 20 feet of snow in the winters, and rain and flooding in the spring. The amazing thing is these people didn't even have goretex or fleece!
History lesson is now over. Barkerville is now a tourist destination and they've done a good job of it.
We rode from the campsite to the Barkerville townsite where the ride was to begin.
After taking in the History of china town, Lee and I went for a ride along the winter snow mobile route ( this area is a huge winter snow mobile destination in the winter apparently).
As in all rides, it of course started with a climb
Since we were heading into the alpine the climbing continued. Fortunately the views were pretty spectacular!
Even Lee's bike was impressed with the view!
From here we could have continued the loop, but the weather was pretty unpredictable and the trail was a snow mobile trail so no telling what it would be like in the summer, so we left exploring for another day and returned on the same trail we headed in on and back to the campsite. Where Lee with his new ax built a smokey fire to keep away all the spruce bugs and mosquitoes! ( this picture didn't turn out).