This one started out as a planned in and out day trip but after looking at the map decided overnighter. So which way to get there, either via Pemberton or the Fraser Canyon. Well since I've never been on the #1 beyond Hope, the Fraser Canyon wins. We left around 5 on a Friday night hoping traffic wouldn't be that bad and it wasn't. Well by six I was hungry and needed food, so we stopped off at a pizza place off the highway near Chilliwack. A memorable moment here was the A&W sign that read
2 Teens for $5. Never knew that in the bible belt children were sold so cheaply. Must be in the New Testament someplace; Thou shall sell off your extra offspring.
So on we continued into the canyon an hour later. Night started falling and the traffic became a lot lighter but bigger. Semi's seemed to be the only vehicles on the road except for us. This was the scary moment of the trip. The highway at times is 3 laned so Chris starts to pass a semi when a passing lane is available. Unbeknownst to us a semi is heading in the opposite direction. If you have ever seen
Planes, Trains and Automobiles you know what happened next. For the next 2 seconds we were both white knuckled. Stuck between them with only what seemed a couple of feet between the both of them. Man it was freaky and I don't want to do that again.
A little while later we were in Lytton and the cab of Chris's truck is smelling something fierce. We looked at each other with that
you bastard! you didn't roll down your window look that is also tinged with admiration at what was wrought upon the world. Alas it was not to be a simple breaking of wind but radiator fluid. Damn the AC was leaking, still another hour until Lillooet and our heads started hurting from the stuff. So off we rode with windows open. When we arrived in Lillooet it was about 11pm at this point and we knew we had taken our time and arrived 2 hours later than we had expected.
Now we needed to find a spot to camp at. We couldn't find an open spot at the Hydro campsite just outside of Lillooet, so we found a parking spot and pitched a tent. In the morning I awoke to a wonderful site, a massive rock face on the other side of the Cayoosh Creek. So after a good nights sleep we needed breakfast and to fix the leak. Back to Lillooet to do both. I have to say the food was great and the people friendly. The drive down the Duffy Lake rode to the turnoff for Blowdown was quite scenic and the musical choice appropriate, the soundtrack of
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
We make the turnoff in no time and start to head up. After about an hour of
we must of missed the Gott Pass road, we decide to pull out the map and get our bearings straight. So we start to trace our steps backwards and see what we think is the road. Up we head. After 5 minutes we ditch the truck in a pull out and get out the bikes.
We figured we had about a 1.5 hour ride ahead of us to reach Blowdown Lake and Gott Pass, 6-8 km and 1100 -1200 meters of elevation to go. The ride to start off was a dream come true. It was the sort of dirt road I've only seen in books and drooled over. The scenery was amazing but the best was yet to come. We finally reached the intersection on the map that would begin our climb. Here was parked about half a dozen trucks and a few people were getting ready for the hike up. You need a damn good 4x4 to make it to the top was the word from one local.
I still remember the guy looking at my bike and saying a full suspension was not appropriate for what was to come next, oh how true it was. The climb was steep and unrelenting, but at least the higher you got the more spectacular the view. A couple of 4x4's passed us on the way up and they were going at a crawl. I thought I was slow.
Breathing in that fresh air was good and it was crisp. When we started our ride it was about 23o at the turnoff but had dipped a few degrees by now. The breeze that day was a welcomed relief from the heat and felt good on my now aching muscles. At times you were looking down on other mountain ridges and thinking it doesn't get much better than this. The flowers were in full bloom and colourful, not that I noticed. Ahem, how about them Canucks!
After about and hour and a half of hycling (riding and hiking) we came around a corner and there it was in the distance, Gott Pass. But where the hell was the lake? 5 minutes later I was in awe of this little glacier fed lake. It was lying below us about 100 feet. The opposite side of the lake was this ridge and the scree seemed to meld into the lake. Ahead of us was the source of the water. A stream was working its way down to the lake from a glacier at the pass. Moments like this are the things I remember most.
We decided to go for the pass first before going down to the lake. Well we still had about 2 km to go and about 300 feet of elevation. About a kilometer from the pass I was getting really tired and dizzy, the elevation was bothering me. I guess from all the exertion to get to this point and not really taking it easy was taking its toll on me. We ditched the bikes at the side of the rode and headed for the base of the snow pack where the stream started. I was officially out of water and tired. I refilled our water bladders at the stream and then took a nap.
The view was amazing. We were basically looking down on all the mountains around us. That feeling of getting to your goal and feeling like WOW! I can't put it in words. As you are looking down at the lake off to your right is this ridge. It was covered in wild flowers and if we didn't have the bikes with us we would have been scrambling up it to hike it. Well we had enough of a break and headed back to the bikes and the road. I was still feeling the effects of the elevation even though technically we weren't that high, 7100 feet. I guess 17 years of smoking had something to do with it.
Chris decided to hit the pass and I was going back down to the lake. Chris reached the pass in no time and climbed a peak to take pictures of the Stein Valley. I on the other hand looked at Blowdown Lake and thought of a cool swim. The ride down the lake trail was nice and muddy in spots. I reached the lake and found the local flies to be biters. It wasn't as if the repellent was repelling the little buggers but attracting them. They were taking chunks out of me. So off come the clothes and into the lake.
Lets stop time here for a bit while I'm in midair. Two points I haven't put together and come up with a valid answer. This area was under a blanket of snow just 3 weeks earlier and the lake is glacier fed.
Unstop time. I hit the water with splash and immediately become female with two lumps sticking out the side of my neck. I believe I set two world records that moment. One for the fastest turtling of any male alive and the loudest scream of stupidity. I broke a decibel level unknown to even the most ardent speed metal fan. Got out real fast! Mistake number two. I am now vulnerable to the flying little bastards as that is what I call those little blood suckers. Spread another layer of bug attractant on and got my clothes on as fast is humanly possible as my hands were numb from my ill advised dip. The repellant actual works this time. I guess they actually home in on body heat and seeing as I don't have any at this point the little bastards can't find me.
Chris finds me about an hour later on the road waiting for him and he decides after my tale of the dip not to venture to the lake. We decide it is about time to head home because to much natural beauty will distort our minds and we'll never go back to that drab and dreary city of ours.
What took us about 2 hours to climb became a screaming 20 minute downhill. We passed 4x4's making their way down. Now laugh at me for bringing my monkey motion bike. The scenery this time was a blur as I knew there was more food back at the truck.
Man what a road trip and epic. I'd do this one in a heart beat again. Hanging with a good buddy and enjoying the great outdoors. Next time we're camping up top and I want to see the sun set at that elevation.