Chilcotins – Day 4 – Tyax Creek – Spruce Lake Horse Assisted Trip

Hmmm … another lesson learned for the rest of the group; take advantage of good weather and get your alpine rides in when you can. It started snowing last night and temperatures are a bit chilly this morning.

Warren saddling up and moving them out

Eating breakfast was a frigid affair and no-one seemed amused when I joked about bringing crampons and ice-axe for our attempt at 2220m high Deer Pass from our comfortable elevation at camp at 1750m.

Just above freezing and its gonna get colder

First creek crossing and feet are already wet for most people as we head towards Deer Pass. I charge on ahead hoping that everyone will start blindly following me on the climb but cries and mewing of mercy force me to stop before I get too far.

Deer Pass junction

The decision to surrender at Deer Pass

So we change our plan and turn back from Deer Pass. It’s probably a good thing as many of us aren’t all that prepared. Instead we’re to head down Tyax Creek and bee-line to Spruce Lake Camp. As we head east on the Tyax Creek trail, it’s readily apparent that the weather is getting worse and that the high alpine is getting hit pretty hard with snow.

Sheba Ridge and Mt Solomon in snow

Singletrack is always fun whether dry or wet

Sharon cruising Chilcotin singletrack. Deer Pass is lost in the clouds above her

Iori, Cam and Ian glad that they’re down here and not up there on Sheba Ridge

Halfway down the trail I manage to suffer another massive mechanical getting chainsuck just as I’m torquing for a powerstroke on a climb and almost sending my self 50m downslope to Tyax Creek. Luckily I manage to self-arrest and avoid dropping an aluminium bike on my head.

Lee going for a cliff-dive down a particularly steep slope. Photo ~Iori Kokatolio

No rope = no problem. Photo ~ Iori Kokatolio

Remember the barbequed chicken from a couple of days ago? I couldn’t bear to throw it away and saved it for a very special occassion. Our last crossing of five frigid crossings of Tyax Creek and our last climb before heading to Spruce Lake.

Yum … chicken. Photo ~David Diplock

Getting to Spruce Lake was quite uneventlful – a trip I’ve done many times but usually under less frigid circumstances. While everyone dried off I checked out the deserted lakefront.

Spruce Lake

The Spruce Lake camp itself is very comfortable with dedicated semi-permanent tent sites. Some are of better quality then others so be warned! We retired to the kitchen warming hut to try to dry off.

Drying off at Spruce Lake Camp

The rain laid off for long enough for Monte and I to go for a hike towards Mt Sheba and check out part of the Open Heart area and for the rest of the group to try their hand at trout-fishing in Spruce Lake.

Trout-fishing at Spruce Lake. The Dickson range lies to the south.

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