Day 0 – Vancouver to Mowson Pond
350 km, 6 or 7 hours driving
My decision to join the trip was made only a day or two before departure, so planning (on my part) was non-existent and packing was a mess of things that I had no idea if I needed. I only knew that my bike needed to be running smoothly and that I would likely need some spare tubes. The plan, as I was told by Emily, was to fly up to some lake in the Chilcotins and spend five days biking back. As per usual, I had no idea how radventurous the trip would finally be.
The Tyax float plane base in on Tyaughton Lake, near Gold Bridge, BC, and Emily’s sedan was fully loaded with Shawn, Christina, Emily and I plus all the gear we could bring. Since it didn’t seem to want to climb the steep mountain pass (over the Hurley) we drove over the Duffy to Lillooet, then turned west and around Carpenter Lake (above) until we set up camp at dusk on the damp shores of Mowson Pond.
Day 1 – Tyaughton Lake to Iron Pass, via Taseko Lake
Distance traveled: ~18 km, Elevation gained/lost: 1000 m/-325 m, Average slope: 7%
Aiming to get the first flight out with Tyax Air we make a hasty breakfast. Tim and Leah arrived with our bikes some time later in the night and the group is now fully assembled. The Beaver’s battery was dead, so we could take our time prepping gear and loading it into the old plane. Our group of six needed two flights, so Tim, Leah and I hung around the beautiful lodge and pretended to be guests.
Then it was our turn to fly straight at Mt. Dickson… The colours and topography blend into a surreal landscape of wide valleys with colourful peaks cascading down into lush forests and meadows bursting with wildflowers. Awesome!
Tim navigates the first, and perhaps smallest, creek crossing.
The “trail” is a hundred year old mining road that heads roughly west from Upper Taseko Lake. The track steepens significantly as we start up the Powell Creek drainage and passes through a crumbling mining camp. Hot blue sky is slowly being replaced by clouds and by the time we break through treeline the wind chills and we can see rainbows up near our destination for the night – Iron Pass.
Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja) is in full bloom
Day 2 – Iron Pass to Big Creek
Distance traveled: ~18 km, Elevation gained/lost: 700 m/-750 m, Average slope: -8%
The sun comes out early the next morning and we wake to an alpine wonderland… This was definitely the right place to camp.
Tim dancing across the headwaters of the Powell
Christina taking the grandeur of Big Valley, with Lorna Lake just out of sight at the foot of snow-capped Mt. Warner. We made camp here for the night, with our kitchen just on the other side of the meadow between Big Creek and the trees. Leah has an amazing photo of star trails this night, taken before the huge moon lit the whole valley up.