Tuesday, July 17, 2018

July 17 – Clayton Falls, M Gurr Lake and Bentinck Arm Viewpoint Hike

Today we drove just past Bella Coola, first for a quick stop at the roadside Clayton Falls. The morning was mostly cloudy but we got some sun in the afternoon.



And the slightly blurry version.


And the photosphere.

Since we were at the shoreline we popped over for a quick look at South Bentinck Arm.

Looking south.


Someone had built a pile of logs to look like a tank. It even had an eagle perched on top.



Looking across the way at another glacier.



Looking north.


Then the CRV got a huge workout but it was worth it because we got one of the best views of our lives.

The 17 km “road” into the M Gurr Lake Trailhead isn’t even on the normal Google Maps but does show up on the satellite view. The tourism brochure describes the road as requiring high clearance 4wd so we didn’t know how far we would get. It turned out that we were only stopped by a ditch just 1/2 km from the trailhead so we just hiked from there.

I would never call the CRV high clearance because the lowest point is only 6 inches above the ground. It is higher than most cars and I am glad for what clearance we did have. Before we left home in the spring I debated about taking our older CRV. The new one is really not a back roads car. The old one was one of the earliest produced and Honda was trying to compete against actual SUVs. It has at least 9 inches of clearance and would have easily gotten all the way up.

17 km is a long way on a rough road. For most of the road there were not big rocks sticking up but everywhere there were smaller ones to keep us going very slow. The entire way we had to go between 5 and 10 kph. If we ever came close to 15 kph then the car would start to shake enough that I worried about the suspension. It took us just over 2 hour to drive in and the same to come out. A long day.

Once there, the trail is 1 km in to M Gurr Lake. Then 1.7 km after that there is a viewpoint down to the Bentinck Arms that come off Burke Channel as it comes in from the Pacific, making a just over 5 km round trip.

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The road winds its way up a deep valley climbing from sea level to 1200 meters.  Then the trail climbs to about 1330 meters at the viewpoint.

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A close up of the the trail.

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The road was mostly like this. Just bumpy enough to keep is moving very slowly.


About 3 km in was, I think, the roughest spot with some large rocks to work our way around. This shot is from coming back.


We saw this sign and thought that it meant that the road narrows and wondered how that was possible. It really just meant that there was a bridge ahead.


We were in the trees most of the way and could only really see the mountains towering over us at the open spots near the bridges.


A rare straight stretch.


There were a few shallow stream crossings.


Lots of potholes and bigger boulders sticky up that we had to be extra careful about.


We always stop for waterfalls even if it was just a stream trickling over the rocks.


We were now high enough to see the mountains.


The zig zags near the end were especially rough as the road had been cut into the cliff and the rocks were much more jagged,


By now it was almost 1 pm so we found a wide spot to have lunch.


We did meet several cars heading out and one truck caught us and we let him pass. One of the cars heading out told us about a VW camper van that had broken down part way up. He had bottomed out hard and damaged his drive shaft. He said he was a mechanic and could fix it. Sure enough we met him coming down but the news of what happened just made us more nervous for our car.

Here is the ditch that stopped us. As I tried to go through I think we bottomed out (very slowly) because the wheels just started to spin. You can see the fresh spots of brown dirt.


I could probably have put enough rocks in to get across but since we were so close, why bother.

We backed up to the last turn and parked the car.


Strangely, in the bushes at the turn, someone had placed this 3 foot statue.


Up to the trailhead. Jennie always has her head down looking for interesting rocks.



Near the trailhead we could see the car below us.



The taller cars could park at the trailhead. There were two rental Jeeps and a large off road pickup.


The trail was a bit rough and followed a creek that flows down from the lake.



It passes through a small meadow. This is looking back towards the trailhead.


A photosphere.

At the lake the stream has carved an interesting V notch in the rocks to escape.


Looking back from the entrance to the lake.


A photosphere.

The trail continues counter clockwise around the lake.



Part way around.


Looking back at the notch



Looking back down on the lake on the way to the viewpoint.


We had met some people part way around that encouraged us to continue. Here they are going back through the notch.


Another lake view from the ridge near the viewpoint.


The first place I looked down was just to the left of this pond. Then I climbed up the ridge to the right for a better look.


I thought the first view was pretty good. A sunny blue sky would have made it better but …


The photosphere from here.

Up higher I could see farther south. The panorama.


Looking down from 1330 meters or 4300 feet to sea level.


Another deep valley across the way.


And south.


The ridge continued higher but that was enough.

The pictures just don’t do it justice. The photosphere comes close but you really have to see it in person.

Then back to the car and the VERY LONG 2 hour trip back to civilization. After poking along so slowly for so long we both commented how that accelerating to the blazing speed of 80 kph on the highway felt like going supersonic. The highway sure felt smooth.

And the CRV escaped with tires and suspension intact.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic views and the photospheres are incredible!!!! You and the CRV did very navigating those rough "roads"!!! Quite the adventure!!!!