I intended to complete this blog’s focus on last October's journey through western Canada by the Memorial Day weekend 2017. However, there is just too much to see and do in the Canadian Rockies.
So let’s continue onward toward the Pacific in the coastal mountains from Pemberton to Lillooet (the Sea to Sky Highway), now in the last third of British Columbia north of Whistler ski resort and of Vancouver. The altitudes are lower and the early winter impressions on the higher slopes have receded; replaced by a warmer and moister seasonal weather pattern that is gradually shifting to autumn colors. Thick conifer forests, old woods, and temperamental climate reduce the range of visibility significantly.
There are few roads now, especially roads going northward toward the tundra, the Yukon and ultimately to Alaska. A black bear sits on the edge of the forest wall calmly watching traffic pass, and ignoring gawkers like myself and fellow traveler Richard Mercer.
The density of the woods is demonstrated by the buildup of logs and debris at bottlenecks where creeks and rivers funnel into scenic lakes that languish mostly undisturbed. One such location just off the Route 99 is Duffey Lake, not far from Whistler. Despite the green lushness imprinted by the tall stately conifers crowding the riverbanks and lakes, a deepening color is very evident as the warm season wanes. Some of the hues and shades of color no doubt are attributable to dead and dying foliage, but the scenery generally is interspersed with underbrush and flora that are getting ready for a cold season.
The Duffey Lake/Cayoosh Creek Valley was historically used as a travel route between the Lillooet First Nations on Lillooet Lake and the Stl’alt’imx First Nation on the Fraser River. The area was noted for hunting and trapping.
Before Duffey (east to west), taking a turnoff on a rough road off of Lillooet Pass, we put the Range Rover Evoque through its paces; however, the increasingly rough passage tracking upward persuaded us that the prudent course was to turn around.
Another scenic surprise in this region, among many, is the Seton Lake Reservoir.
The streams are rough and tumble, and definitely not to be messed with.
Lillooet (English pronunciation: /ˈlɪloʊ.ɛt/), formerly Cayoosh Flat, is a community (intersection of Route 12 and 99) on the Fraser River about 150 miles up the British Columbia Railway line from Vancouver.
Duffey Lake Provincial Park is located at the lake of the same name, which lies along BC Highway 99 just east of the summit of Cayoosh Pass. The lake's inflow and outflow are Cayoosh Creek.