Thursday, July 12, 2018

July 12 – Farwell Canyon and Junction Sheep Range Park

An even longer than normal post today.

As a side note, when I was talking to the person giving me the haircut yesterday and to some of the workers today, they said that one year ago everyone in Williams Lake was forced to evacuate due to the forest fires. One guy said that he was away for 45 days. It has been far wetter this year and as one guy said, “There is nothing left to burn”. Fingers are crossed.

Today we drove about 12 km south of us to first explore the Farwell Canyon of the Chilcotin River. I think it is named Farwell after the homesteader that built at the bottom of the canyon.

The road is a heavily used logging road., although there wasn’t much logging traffic today. They were however working on the switchbacks that go down and back up from the river.  They were grading, rolling, watering and unfortunately spraying down calcium chloride to keep the dust down. This just covered the CRV in mud but not normal mud. When this stuff dries it is like concrete so at the end of the day I had to spend a long time trying to get it all off.

The road is very wide and well maintained and until you get to the canyon mostly flat.


Our first view near the top of the switchbacks.


I think this is the path the road takes.


The photosphere.


We kept seeing these flowers everywhere.


A zoom to the switchbacks up the other side.


The river does a lot of snaking back and forth with a lot of curves. Part way down we got a good view of one of them.


The photosphere.

And a side canyon with what looks like a dry creek bed.


Down at the bridge we parked to walk down and check out the view.


For some reason this one lane bridge has a separated sidewalk.


This guy made some more mud for us.



Just upstream from the bridge, the river has eroded the gravel hill and a series of hoodoos have formed.


The photosphere.

Just passed the bridge and a short way up the hill there is a view point over a series of three back to back horseshoe bends.

It was too wide to get in one picture but a photosphere can handle it.

Looking up stream. The old cabin is down on that point.


A wide view looking downstream.


And a taller view.


There was a path out to the point you can see at the right in the picture above. Another couple were already out there.



My turn.


The wide view from the point.


The photosphere.

Looking downstream towards the bridge.


And upstream toward the cabin. You can see the couple’s truck parked back at the viewpoint.


Some hoodoo closeups.




Next we took the short road down to the cabin. The water trucks takes the same road down to fill up. We met one coming up at a hairpin turn. I hit the horn a few times to make sure he knew I was there, although he wasn’t moving very fast. Later, another driver came up to talk while he had lunch and waited the 20 minutes for his truck to fill. He gave me some local knowledge for here and the trip father west.

I am not sure what all the buildings were for.


The photosphere.


I think the tunnel beside one of them was a root cellar.



The view from their filling station.


Next we headed up the far side (from home) switchbacks. You can see the white line of calcium on the road. Jennie thought that the roads by the viewpoint looked like a little alien.


Where we had been.


At the top of the switchback the scenery turns to forest. The water truck driver said not to bother going farther.

On the way back down I saw this interesting, very steep side road. Let’s see if the CRV is up to it.


No problem on the hill and then it was just a short way to a great viewpoint.


It was a great place to have lunch with a view of the river snaking its way downstream towards the Fraser River.


The photosphere.

It was getting very hot so we ate inside with the AC on.


Back down to the main road.


And another view going down the switchbacks.


In the upper right corner above, you can see a very large sand dune. There is a short hike out to it that I had planned to do. Alas, by the time we were done everything else, we didn’t feel up to the hike in the heat.

We did see some people up top.


Having fun in the sand.


The hike starts part way up the “our side” switchbacks. I think it is about 1 km to get out there.


Near the top of the switchbacks is the entrance to Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park. It is a sanctuary for a rare Big Horned Sheep and right down at the south end is the junction of the Chilcotin and Fraser Rivers.

You REALLY have to want to see this park. The road are all 4wd recommended and you have to drive about 12 km in on private land before you even get to the park.

I couldn’t find any map of the park online. Google Maps doesn’t even show that it exists.

The reason that I wanted to go was that I had read several blogs that raved about the scenery and views.


The red line is our path to a view over the Fraser River Canyon. Originally we were going to try and get down to the junction but at the turn we decided that the CRV and our bodies had taken enough of a beating and just did the shorter trip.

Off we go.


Amazingly just as we were about to start, a mother and her son started in with their VW Golf. We met one other truck as we came out so I imagine that the three groups were the only ones in the park all day.


I tried to keep her in sight but she drove faster than I was comfortable doing.

You start in the forest and then drive out on to some vast grasslands.




I scraped one rock and hit another one pretty hard. They had both been hiding in the flowers and grass in the center of the road. Since we really don’t have enough clearance to straddle that center I started driving with one wheel on it. From then on we had no loud clunks.

We did meet the lady, parked at the side of the road. She had had hit one too many times and decided to turn back. The Golf is not a very high car.



Wide open sky country.


The photosphere.

The Fraser Canyon is off in the distance. The poor CRV looked so bad.


Getting closer.


The viewpoint is that V point in the center of the picture below.


I am not sure that the view was worth the effort to get here but it sure was an adventure.

The wide view.


The photosphere.

Looking north.


And south.


There were some small hoodoos on the side of the point.


The photosphere from here.

Time to turn around and head back.



Riding the centerline.


The main gravel road seemed so smooth.


The Lodge and home off in the distance.


Back home I spent at least an hour trying to get the muck and mud off the CRV. It was made worse by the fact that the Lodge has a limited water supply so they didn’t want me to just sit there and blast the car with a hose sprayer. A sponge and many buckets of water later, it was mostly clean but now I was not. Some much mud!

We are moving farther west tomorrow.

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