Valemount to 108 Mile



This portion involved cycling to Clearwater, then paddling the Thompson River and Kamloops Lake to Savona,  and then cycling to my sister’s at 108 Mile Ranch.   

20130714_082131Valemount to Clearwater is a nice bike ride.  Traffic on Highway 5 was moderate with few uphill grades.  Even the watershed divide between the Columbia and Fraser rivers is a minor elevation rise. I camped at this spot, not realizing until the next mornings downhill ride, that I was camped right on the divide.   This was the first and only time on the entire trip that I used some bug repellent.  I wonder what stories from the past are represented by the old ranch entrance log.

20130714_132840My first look at the Thompson River where it crosses Highway 5.

20130715_095331Stumbled onto a geocache at my second nights camp spot.  Didn’t take anything, but signed the book and left a ‘too long’ bike spoke.

20130715_113636There are two narrows on this portion of the Thompson.  This is the upper rapid and there is no trail to this location.  I hiked down from the highway and then a kilometre and a half down river to the lower rapid.  That rapid, called Little Hell’s Gate’ has a road to it and an observation platform.  I doubt that voyageurs using the Thompson would have portaged either of these rapids.  That’s a huckleberry bush in the foreground and the ripe berries on similar bushes slowed down my trek considerable.

20130717_121343The stop at my cousin’s in Clearwater included a drive to have a look at the waterfalls in Wells Gray Park.  Helmcken Falls, on the Murtle River is the fourth highest in Canada.

20130720_112816My camera was idle when it came to scenic shots on the Thompson.  The snow and glacier capped mountains above Kinbasket Lake had  spoiled me.  Figure this one made the grade though.

DSCF0356This sheep (it’s there, keep looking) can thank me for its survival although it was capable of saving itself.  It had fallen from the pasture down onto the river’s edge and had likely been there a couple of days when I noticed it. I alerted the farmer and when we approached to try to catch it, it jumped two and half feet back to the pasture.  He commented on the stupidity of sheep.  If they are being herded into a pen with a low bar across the entrance and the first sheep jumps the bar all the others will jump too, even after the bar is removed.

DSCF0362A nice camp spot at the mouth of the Barriere River, just up river from the town.  Nice until a wedding party started up at one of only two houses on the hillside across the river.  Plenty loud but it didn’t keep me awake .

DSCF0365Starting down the canyon below Barriere.  This is the area of the 2003 McLure fire that burned 26,000 hectares and many homes.

DSCF0374 - CopyThere are two sets of rapids on the Thompson between Clearwater and Kamloops.  Neither are significant but they had this newbie to whitewater, in his less than nimble canoe, apprehensive.  The first are called Fishtrap Rapids and they were more, fast water on a steeper grade, than rapids.  My gps was reading 17 kph going through those.  Above are the rapids near Heffley Creek … I took the far channel, not as quick a decent but I had to be on my toes all the same..

DSCF0371 - CopyA doe and fawn leave the river at my approach.  The picture also shows the erosion caused by the North Thompson.  Not of monetary significance here but certainly so to the farms along the river.  Pastureland is continually being lost to the river which likely amounts to hundreds of hectares every high water year.

Thompson jctThe confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers.  I certainly took the long way around to get here!  From Vernon I could have cycled north to Enderby and canoed down the Shuswap River to Shuswap Lake and the South Thompson.  That trip might have taken a week at the very most.  Interesting too, that like it is between Valemount and Avola,  there is practically no elevation divide between the waters that flow south through the Okanagan to the Columbia River, and the waters that flow north to the Thompson and Fraser River.

DSCF0380After a few days at a cousin’s in Kamloops I continued down river to Kamloops Lake.  Look close and you’ll see a train is passing through this lump of rock.

20130726_075220Clay cliffs above Kamloops Lake.

20130726_115358My pre packaged ‘trail cake’ mix when it’s fried.  My sister still has a couple hundred pounds, vacuum packed in twenty pound boxes, that I will have her ship to me by bus  when and where needed.  It’s a healthy mix of my own design that includes rolled oats, flour, soy grits, whey, sugar, ground flax, oat bran, wheat germ, ground sunflower seed, raisins and dried cranberries.  Baking powder too and, when mixed a little thinner, and baked in an oven it makes a tasty cake.

20130727_143958North of Cache Creek, at Hat Creek, the Bonaparte band was having a powwow to honour a family member.   Interesting, especially in that I sat next to a fellow from the Lummi band In Bellingham who explained a bit about the various dances and dress.  Did you know that if an eagle feather falls from a costume there is an lengthy ritual, before the feather is retrieved?  This happened at this event and no pictures of the ceremony are allowed.  In a competition, if an eagle feather falls from a costume the dancer is disqualified.

And on the subject of eagle feathers, in a book I read about David Thompson, he described how the Piegan natives caught eagles.  They would dig a shallow hole to hide in and cover it with willow and grass.  A piece of meat was placed beside the hole and when the eagle came for the meat the hunter would reach out and grab it by the legs.  No doubt a few ‘badges of honour’ from those captures … including between the eyes I’d think.

DSCF0385 - CopyThis is Begbie Summit on the Cariboo Highway.  But also in the picture, on the bluff to the right, is Begbie Mt. fire lookout.  Very rare worldwide, I’d bet, that a major highway runs less than half a kilometre from a fire lookout said to have 100 mile 360 degree view.  Reason being the summit isn’t to a mountain pass, but to the Cariboo Plateau.  It’s like gaining access to a huge table top.

20130728_183641Arrival at my sister’s at 108 Mile Ranch.