Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Gold Bridge ~ Bralorne ~ Carpenter Lake, BC

We began our round trip day in Kamloops and arrived in Lillooet before noon.  From Lillooet we drove onto Gold Bridge and Bralorne, BC.  So many sights and history.

It is just over a two hour drive from Lillooet on Hwy 40 to Gold Bridge today and that is driving on a fairly decent road.  I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to make that same trip so many years ago when this community was first settled and the road would have been nothing more than a trail.

 Gold Bridge townsite

Gold Bridge was at one time the place to go to for supplies and services when the gold mining was what brought so many up to this neighborhood.  The Fraser River Gold Rush in the 1850’s was a major draw and there were several mines and communities developing then.  The population of Gold Bridge is now about 40 so things have changed a lot.

Bralorne, BC

From Gold Bridge we begin a good steep climb through more color and a view of the valley when the trees allow the sights.  10 km of mountains and trees.  There appears to be more people living here in Bralorne these days than in Gold Bridge.  There are more historic buildings here, too, but what we do see appear to be suffering from neglect and or are being used as private dwellings.  Bralorne was the sight of one of the most productive gold mines in the area, it closed in 1971.

Carpenter Lake

We’ve reached our destination of the day and are making our way back home to Kamloops.  The weather has been even better than we’d hoped for and there were still plenty of photo opps on the return drive.  The sun sits differently now and offers some more great sights.

Gun Creek

Gun Creek crosses the road and drains into Carpenter Lake.  Gun Creek recreational camping ground is at the mouth of the creek and is where we stopped on our way up to Gold Bridge for a short lunch break.  The campground does sit on Carpenter Lake and the Gun Creek fishing may also be a big draw.

Sun hits the perfect location on Carpenter Lake

This looks so similar to a photo I took at Crown Lake but this one is on Carpenter Lake, with the sun shining into a different valley altogether.  Who wouldn’t want to take a photo of such a beautiful sight, even though it is similar?  

Terzaghi Dam

We’ve now reached the beginning or end of the Carpenter Lake Reservoir, that must depend on which direction we're going.  There is a yellow ‘log boom’ stretched across the lake that would prevent any floating logs from getting to the dam.  I’m a logger’s daughter so didn’t need to ‘research’ that. LOL.  Once you drive across the dam, you are on the road to Shalalth and Seton Portage, which can be seen on the other side of the lake.  We’d hoped to drive over there but there just wasn’t enough time left on this day. 

Narrow roads on Hwy 40

Parts of this road are not for the faint of heart.  There are many narrow areas that hugs the canyon wall suitable for one lane traffic and have a very long drop down to the river.  Going up to Gold Bridge the road was the easiest side but coming back and being in the passenger seat means I’m riding the edge and there is a good view of the bank below.

Pavillion Lake

Pavillion Lake is one of the three lakes we passed in Marble Canyon during the early part of our day.  The sun is behind us around another mountain so it’s not sharing that sunshine anymore.  This tranquil sight is so pretty in spite of the remnants of a forest fire on the mountain behind.

 Kamloops, BC

We’re now back home in Kamloops and the sun is sinking quickly behind the mountains but leaving a warm red hue on the hilltops as we arrive.  A few moments longer and we would have missed this.

It’s been a long day of 600 km and 10 hours but what a lovely day it has been.  Almost 500 photos taken, so that means I wasn’t taking one photo per kilometre, must work on that a bit next time.  Never seem to have enough photos. LOL

Bridge River Valley ~ Carpenter Lake Reservoir ~ Lillooet, BC

There is no stopping in Lillooet today, we are on a mission of a 600 km day to drive from home in Kamloops to Gold Bridge and Bralorne and back home.  We packed a lunch and things “just in case” and headed out early so we are passing through this quiet little town of Lillooet before lunchtime.  If you wish to see more of Lillooet, click here.

Downtown Lillooet

Lillooet has a long Aboriginal history and was originally called Cayoosh Flats then was renamed in 1860 after Lil’wat.  It was the main center for the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush 1858/1859.  Often known as one of Canada’s hot spots in summer with high temps and has an annual rainfall of 13”. 

Bridge River

Our drive today follows up the Bridge River, which flows into the Fraser River right before this stop just outside Lillooet. Once we cross over the Bridge River, we begin to see some more great sights.  We will be fairly high above the river as we drive through the Bridge River Valley and here is where that begins.   

Pullout on narrow road

Parts of this road are paved but there is also plenty of dirt road that is very narrow and windy.  There are pull out areas to use if meeting traffic from the other direction.  At least travelling in this direction, we are closer to the cliff’s side.  That changes on the way back, wait and see, and always best to believe what the signs say.

Long windy road

We are one of very few vehicles on this road today and with a population of about 250 residents in the Bridge River Valley, there is not a lot of traffic any time.  We did see the occasional vehicle but more often than not it was a commercial vehicle.  There are not many tourists who would be coming this way at this time of year, either, but we do see a few hunters for hunting season.  

Bridge River drive

We are now down low in the valley and have a much better view of the river.  The pretty turquoise color makes it stand out and a temptation for lots of photos.   The color could be due to a few different things, algae, rock flour from a glacier or different minerals that would all cause the sunlight to reflect off their particles.  Whatever the cause is, it is great to see this color.

The Bridge River Valley

Every corner we turn offers incredible sights.  Whether it be views of mountains of trees or rock, the Bridge River Canyon is a great drive for sightseeing.  There were several gold mines in this valley in the past, none of which are active now.

Terzaghi Dam

This is where the Bridge River changes.  The river was diverted through two tunnels in Mission Mountain from Seton Lake to create power.  Originally called the Mission Dam and completed in 1960 it was later renamed the Terzaghi Dam after an engineer.  The road that leads to Seton Portage crossed over the top of the Dam.

Carpenter Lake

The road peaks at the beginning of the Carpenter Lake Reservoir and what a surprise sight this was.  This lake was named after the engineer who did much of the early design on this power project and supervised the building of the first tunnels through Mission Ridge during the years of 1927-1931. 

Colors at the Carpenter Lake

This reservoir is the largest of three of the Bridge River Power Project.  It is 50 km long and is full for us to view it at its best but apparently is not so pretty when November comes after the dam is opened.  But we will enjoy this view as we are here when the leaves are turning, the sun is shining and the reservoir is full!  What more could we ask for on this beautiful day!

If you'd like to see a bit more of this road, click here for a page I'd written several years ago. 

We continue on to see Gold Bridge and Bralorne.  Stay tuned!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Marble Canyon ~ Autumn Colors ~ Lakes

Our day began early as we wanted to cover a lot of ground today.  We start from Kamloops with a very cloudy sky and fine mist covering our window!  This just isn’t right, we wanted blue sky and sunshine.  The trees are changing colors and soon those leaves will have fallen to the ground.  If I am looking for those colors, we’d better hit the road.  Keith has suggested we drive into Gold Bridge so away we go. We can only hope things will be different when we reach our destination.

Crown Lake

We arrived in Cache Creek and still had overcast skies but we think we see a bit of blue sky in the distance, the direction we are headed.  Just north of Cache Creek, we turned off onto Hwy 99 to drive through Marble Canyon and we found lakes and a little bit of sunshine, and did it ever impress!

Reflections on Crown Lake

We stopped at the camping and picnic area on the Crown Lake which sits right on the side of the road, to enjoy some photo time.  The clouds are still there and when we are down in the canyon and with the high mountain peaks, the small windows of sunshine do not allow for a lot but it can choose a perfect location to shine on.

Amazing sunny spot
Marble Canyon is in the Pavilion Mountain Range and the Marble Canyon Provincial Park covers 335 hectares of land.  There are three lakes, Turquoise, Crown and Pavilion Lake which are all near the road but not all accessible like Crown Lake is.  I couldn’t resist a close-up to show, the sun is shining exactly where it needs to be!

Marble Canyon Provincial Park

The Park is very quiet now but it looks like it would be a great spot to visit during the summer season.  It can accommodate camping and is well cared for, typical of provincial parks in BC.

Pavilion Benchland

We see the agricultural benchland high above the Fraser River that weaves its way through this canyon.  Some areas look nice enough to be a golf course!

Fraser River Benchland

We are now following the Fraser River and see some incredible views of the ranches of Pavilion, if I’m understanding my geography properly. There is no end to the incredible scenery all through this area and there is so much more!

Fraser River

The road now follows the curve of the river and we can see how high above the river we are.  The elevation of Pavilion is 728 m (2388 ft) and the river is very low at this time of year, so we are seeing some big height here, which we see a lot more of during our drive today.

Slide Construction

We had seen a sign to tell of construction being done in a slide area and we are now approaching.  We see the sight and understand the dilemma, it covers a large area and is definitely not something to be ignored.  This shows the huge screws that are used to reinforce the bank.  The large equipment is drilling so I assume they will continue these reinforcements down the bank.  A very impressive sight.

 Lillooet, BC

The Fraser River separates Lillooet from the main highway route, Hwy 1.  There have been several bridges built over the years to connect them and the one we see is the Lillooet Suspension Bridge, called the Old Bridge by the locals.  It replaced a truss bridge in 1913 that had been built in 1889; previous to then, a reaction-cable ferry had been used between 1860 -1888.  The ‘Old Bridge’ became a pedestrian only bridge in 1981 when they built the Bridge of the Twenty-Three Camels.  To learn more of Lillooet, visit this page.

I began our day by hoping the weather would change by the time we reached our destination.  We saw so many incredible scenic places during our day that the destination was not the highlight, but the 600 km drive of the day was.  

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Union Bay ~ Union Coal Co. ~ Vancouver Island, BC

We visited beautiful Vancouver Island during the warm summer days and we couldn’t have timed that better!  The blue skies and warm sun are the perfect backdrop for these incredible scenes of the water and neighboring islands for our stay.

Union Bay, BC

Union Bay is a small community on 19A, the old Island Highway, the home of 1200 people and sits about 15 km south of Courtenay.  Driving through this village which was once Keith's family's hometown, gives very little indication if any of its coal mining history of the Union Coal Co.

Baynes Sound

Union Wharf, as it was originally named became a community in 1887 as a port for coal mines, a growing industry at that time. Deep waters were needed for the deep sea vessels and this area fit the bill.  During early days the large ships needed to be escorted by tugs between Vancouver Island and Denman Island, seen in background, on their way to this port.

Once the location of Union Coal Co. Colliery

Workers came from all over the world to develop this area. Several structures were built on the colliery’s land to accommodate the coal business. Many came from India to build a wharf which was 200 m (600’) long.  Scottish bricklayers brought a boatload of bricks to build the coke ovens needed, which were then worked by Japanese laborers. Chinese workers built a railway from Union Bay to Cumberland, the location of one of the coal mines.  This was a very international project when you consider all those who helped to develop it.

Cumberland, BC

Cumberland, the site of the #2 mine which also housed many Chinese families at that time, became the largest Chinese community by the end of WW2.  Union Bay was developed to support this industry and the community of Chinese, who made Union Bay home, developed a small Chinatown there also. 

Union Bay

This coal industry offered superior quality coal which was shipped all around the world at that time.  There were two hotels built to accommodate the tourists, both later burned down.  There were several stores, one of which was the scene of capturing a bandit known by reputation as the “Flying Dutchman” and who was later hung in Nanaimo for the murder of the constable at that scene.  The hanging in 1913 was the last one ever done in Nanaimo.

Heritage Row

Heritage Row consists of the only remaining heritage buildings left in Union Bay.  The school built in 1915, the church built in 1906, the gaol house built in 1901 and the post office in 1913, which is the only wooden post office erected before WW1 that still in service in Canada today.

Denman Island

Ships often stopped in Union Bay during both world wars before crossing the Pacific.  The last sailing ship to carry coal from here was the Pamir in 1946 and after that freighters and barges carried it out until the 1950’s.  Many structures plus the wharf were torn down by the early 1960’s. 

Oyster beds

This body of water is called Baynes Sound and well known for Fanny Bay located just a few kilometres away from Union Bay, known for their oysters and enjoyed the world over. This industry, which began here in 1923 now helps to drive the economy of Union Bay and we can see the Baynes Sound Recreational Shellfish Reserve where several species grow, including clams, mussels, scallops, abalone, cockles and Pacific oysters.

the Big Hill

This was the “big hill” that Keith had to ride his bike to deliver papers, back in the day!  He did live there when the colliery was still here, maybe this hill was much bigger before they improved the road. LOL Just ask Keith.

So the next time we drive through Union Bay, there will be more things to think about with this quiet little community.  It was a very busy port and with all the workers needed and all the shops to service the coal business, it was a different world back then.  



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