Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrating Canada in Tsilhqot'in high country....

Celebrating Canada Day for some involves a lazy day at the beach and heading to check out the evenings neighbourhood firework show. Don't get me wrong.... I'm all for that but being Canadian means something different to me. My perfect Canada Day involves finding a remote corner of our vast wilderness. Somewhere I can get up high enough to admire the picture perfect landscape I'm proud to call my home. Somewhere I can go where I'm guaranteed not to see another sole on a long week-end. That place for me is the South Chilcotin mountains of British Columbia. The area's so big, there's plenty of room to get lost with your friends. We decided to roll out into one of the more remote parts of the area to celebrate our Canadianism.

We arrived at our modest accommodations Friday night for a few beverages and woke early to a stellar weather day.

Danielle and I enjoyed some scenes of "The Collective" on the deteriorating Relay Creek FSR.

Ross piloted us right to the Relay trailhead....  

It's never easy pulling away with fully loaded multi-day packs but the scenery always helps cut the burn.    

After a few hours we found ourselves at the Graveyard Cabin just in time for lunch.

When we left the Graveyard Cabin the wet feet part of our trip began. After a short while we were sandwiched between Big Creek and Graveyard Creek.          

And finally we arrived at the mystical Graveyard Creek Valley.  

This is a very special place with a dark history. The Tsilhqot'in and St'at'imc nations had a battle here over 100 years ago. Many warriors died and found their final resting place here. There are some marked and unmarked graves here. The valley is a protected cultural heritage site and should be respected so we treaded lightly and moved on.    

The tourist part of the trip was now over and we were "off trail".

After a ferocious battle with the valley's mosquito population we arrived on a windy plateau where the beverages found a home in the snow and the sunset wouldn't let us down.

The sun dropped and the 45 min show began....

A cool perspective of Mt. Ram....


We awoke to Canada Day Eve and began our ascent.    

On route we found some bike porn flow....

These photos truly show the "steep" of the climb.

Mid day we found ourselves at 2500m on top of one of the higher peaks in the range. From this perspective Canada looked pretty good!

After taking in the views we shredded some bike porn!

With time still left in the day we traversed over to Tyaughton Creek and checked on Tyax Adventure's "Bear Paw Camp".

With the sun setting we headed back to camp and set up for another night in paradise.

Instructions on my last beverage were to "chill in a mountain stream" so I did.  

In the morning we set out high onto the lofty ridges above Tyaughton Creek.

And made our way into the Little Paradise drainage....

And a few hours later we were back at the truck on a fine Canada Day afternoon. Oh CANADA!
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  1. It was a great Canada Day weekend. Next time you see that big black van in the Chilcotins, drop in for a cuppa joe or other fine beverages :-)

    1. Cheers Ina... Thanks for the invite.

  2. Gorgeous landscape, epic climbs and descents, all captured in absolutely stunning photos. Pat, you make me want see Canada one day. Though not sure if I'd prefer Winter for backcountry skiing or Summer for mountainbiking.

    Out of interest: Do you know how much your backpacks weighed at the beginning? Must've been quite a load.

  3. Cheers Frank.... glad to hear you're inspired to come to Canada. I'm also torn between Winter and Summer....

    Generally my pack weighs 45lbs and the rest of the group has 30lb packs. I'm carrying the camera gear.

    1. Wow! That's quite a bit.
      Thanks for clarifying what Nancies we are here in Central Europe with our dense infrastructure. When we cycled a week through the Italian alps, we had only small daypacks to carry and slept at huts where food was served.

  4. No worries Frank... These types of rides are not for everyone but you'd be surprised how you get used to hauling a big pack. The South Chilcotins also have great day rides...

  5. Cool. On Canada Day I went up the Callaghan to try to go over Ring Pass with my packraft and bike. But no luck, I will have to try in September when there's no snow.

    For BC day I plan an 8 day epic Chilcotin ride / packraft. At the end of the Bridge River road there is another road that goes north up a side valley. From there I will whack 1 km up to the alpine, then cross 8 km of this westward to a small river I then packraft down north into the Lord River. Then I raft down this to Taseko Lake and from there it's a straightforward ride back through Warner Pass to Gold Bridge.

    I'm setting my bike up for bikepacking, Cass Gilbert-style, I don't like backpacks while riding.