A quick check of the weather forecasts showed me that the lousy weather was not quite as bad to the west, so with a tank full of Alberta diesel, off we went.
A quick overnight stop at a friend’s in Valemount seemed to confirm the reports of better weather – or at least less rain. So of we went southward on the highway heading for Kamloops. There was a brief stop at the Wells Gray Park information center in Clearwater, but the rain had started again, so we continued on westward. Fuel and supplies were available in Williams Lake, as well as a free RV dump and water tap at the rodeo grounds. There was still time to head further west that evening, but after finally locating the elusive Walmart – which has a somewhat phantom address in Williams Lake – it was decided to spring for a backroads mapbook. An impressive thunder and lightning show was put on at dusk, and camping on a dead-end road next to Walmart seemed in order.
In the morning, we were off to the Chilcotin – an impressive area of scenic ranchlands and wilderness on the way to the coast.
About half way to Bella Coola on the Pacific coast, it was time to start looking for the ideal overnight spot. There were a number of recreation area signs along the road, so it was decided to check out a likely looking one. Of course, I expected it to be ‘just over the hill’ from the road, but when we headed in to find Big Stick Lake, it turned out to be about 10km in from the highway, on a decent, but deteriorating bush road.
As the waterholes got deeper, I was glad that I did not have the 5th wheel on this mission!
I had a scenic lakeside spot all to myself, and 136 million mosquitoes, half of which managed to find their way into the camper at some point. There were fresh moose tracks on the beach, and by morning, there were even fresher ones! Temperatures overnight dropped to 2C, which neutralized the outdoor mosquito population for a while, but did nothing for the warm indoor population. Hailey did her best by catching and eating some, but there were lots left for me too. I think a vent on the stove vent was stuck open, providing an open invitation to the little blood-suckers!
Since it was the longest day of the year, it was light early, and so with coffee in hand, we departed before the hordes thawed out. I think these horses were spending time on the road to avoid the little predators?
Approaching Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, it was evident that the area had endured some very large fires and floods in the past year or so.
There is a section of gravel road west of Anahim Lake for about 60 km, but it was very well maintained, smooth and water trucks kept the dust to a minimum.
Next, it was down the ‘big hill’ so much talked about by travellers and bloggers.
It was interesting in places – specially when I met a couple of loaded deck trucks coming in the other direction! In the narrowest spot.
As expected, the town was small, but bustling with activity, and lots of fishing boats tied up at the docks. Fuel for me was ‘only’ $1.34/litre, so $112. provided a fill-up.