Man O Man

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Where I stayed
Fraser Cove Campground

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Howdy folks,

Well the last 2 days have been some driving, but we have seen some pretty good stuff as well. We had a late start from Osoyoos (O-soy-use) because Steffie and I visited the Osoyoos Desert Centre. It was a volunter run operation and reportedly this region has Canada's only desert. But don't think that this desert is all sand dunes, it was more like dry grasses, small ball cactus and saltbush. We did spy a Jackrabbit and possibly a snake, but the 1.5km boardwalk was pretty boring. There were a few stuffed animals, birds and snake skins, but it was pretty small. Only $7 though.

We picked up Joe from the visitor centre and drove west along Highway 3 which parallels the border with the US. After stopping at a viewpoint and Spotted Lake, we passed through a few more fruit areas like Keremeos. The drive was really pretty through a deep and wide river valley which was very lush and green. We stopped in Princeton to buy some grog, food and a Tootsie Bar. The town wasn't very big and we didn't stay long. We continued onto EC Manning Provincial Park and after we couldn't find the Lightning Lake campground, we ended up staying at the Coldspring Campground. We set up at paid the princely sum of $21 for the site and went to do the 50 minute canyon walk. Disappointingly the canyon was shorter than expected and took just over half an hour. Thankfully the rain which had been plaguing us kept away for the night so we could cook dinner and play some frisbee and tent Skipbo. It was quite cold though at 4 degrees overnight so we made sure we were warm. Steffie and I had to get up to go to the toilet at 3am and it was pitch black, so we made sure no black bears were lurking about with the torch.

In the morning, we got up around 8am and because there were no showers I just did my daily pushups and situps in the tent. Its a bit of a lottery with campgrounds if you get nice soft ground or hard gravel, lots of mosquitos or no shade or showers or running water so its a different routine every day. Luckily we are pretty self sufficient with a 20L water jug and a camp stove. Our first stop was to find Lightning Lake which ended up being a few kms back from where we did the Canyon walk. We walked around the lake spying all the Columbian Ground Squirrels and over the Rainbow Bridge and back again in 90 minutes. It was ok, but I guess the drive up to Cascade Viewpoint would provide us with better views. It was 8kms up switchbacks and past a spruce grouse before we could look out over the valley. It looks weird to see so many mountains without snow on them.

Eventually we returned to the main Highway 3 and continued west towards the town of Hope. Just before the turn off there were roadworks on one of the bridges which took what seemed an eternity to pass. We were glad to get out and sit in McDonalds for Wifi and a smoothie. It was then time to drive north up the Fraser River Canyon. It was quite narrow and the two opposing mountain ranges loomed high above us. We passed villages like Yale and Spuzzum before stopping at the Hell's Gate tram. Named after Simon Fraser who navigated the river named after him in the 19th century, the tramway descended over the narrowest point of the canyon to the riverbank opposite. It was quite touristy, but Steffie and I indulged ourselves in some salmon chowder. Apparently there are 2 railtracks crossing through the canyon belonging to CPR and CNR and when the eastside railroad was being blasted from the rock in 1912 it created a rockslide that bottlenecked the already narrow river. This in turn was disasterous for the salmon returning to spawn upriver who were unable to battle the currents and it wasn't until the 1940s when some artificial salmon runs were installed to help the fish upstream to places like Rearguard Falls.

After walking along the suspension bridge, we caught the tram back up to the highway and continued along our way. We were planning on stopping at Lytton for the night, but we still had time so we drove along a narrow winding road which at times was only 1 lane along the cliff face to Lillooet (Lil-loo-et). The campground here is pretty crap, but we are technically tenting on the beach tonight next to the very full Fraser River and stealing power and water but whatever. The countryside here is much different to the lush tree covered mountain valleys from this morning, with an almost desert like landscape full of rockslides, bare mountain peaks and not much green at all. Its amazing how much things chance when you travel.
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