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!


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