Backroads in BC
A big challenge for people travelling by car is that most maps, and all info in the Visitor Centers, are made with the average RV tourist in mind. In the long run, this gets really boring if you are driving a big Patrol with All- or Mud tires. Not that this would be an absolute requirement for most logging roads, but at least the view feels a little better. So, how to solve this little “problem”? By getting the old Forestry Maps! Not very accurate as the ones we got were discontinued in 1997, but that is part of the fun… Found the first maps in Burns Lake, and turned off the main road and headed for Francois Lake. Felt a little bad about going into active logging areas without a VHF, but had no problems. Another nice little detail about the Forestry Maps is that they show all the Forestry Camp sites, which are free!
We spent the night at Ootsi Lake and studied maps and a thunderstorm passing the area. The rain just missed us, and the view was fantastic! The next day we saw several places where black smoke came up from the forest where the lightning had hit and started fires. Still, it seemed that the local fire departments wasn’t too stressed out about it, and we heard that now the fires are not fought unless there is a risk for loosing people or infrastructure.
One of the things we wanted to see in the area was a man made water fall that runs out of the Francois Lake. After the Kenny Dam came up, a new “outlet” was made to be able to control the levels. Now the gates were wide open to provide cold water for the salmon moving up in the rivers downstream, and the amounts of water going through were massive! A retired fire fighter we met at the camp site told us that one inch drop in the water level, equaled about 2 billion liters of water (if I remember right…), and the level was down at least a couple of inches in the last 24 hours.
Well! After poking around on logging roads between Burns Lake and Vanderhoof for a while, we got back onto the paved road and continued on to Lillooet, and there we took a detour going north up to Seton Lake and Anderson Lake. A fascinating scenery, and some incredibly steep switchbacks along the lakes in the area. I think the steepest was graded 18%. It was already dark when we came to Shalalth where we had planned to camp, and we could just not find the site. Drove on along Anderson Lake to D’Arcy and found a camp ground there. Glad I had the Cibies… The next morning we discussed going back up to have a look at the road and the area in daylight, but decided to push on towards Vancouver Island.
And that turned out to be a good decision. What we didn’t know was that it was a long weekend, and we showed up at Horseshoe bay for a ferry to Vancouver Island on an early Friday afternoon. The place was pretty much packed, but fortunately we didn’t have to wait too long. After about an hour we drove onboard the ferry. The problems started when we went looking for a camp site on the east coast of the island. Full, full, and full! Ended up close to Port Alberni where there was a Provincial Park with overflow camping in their parking lot. Finally on Vancouver Island!