Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bridge River Valley, Lillooet, B.C.

Baldheaded eagle at Bridge River's mouth

We left the RV in Cayoosh RV park and headed out to enjoy the scenery up the Bridge River Valley. Bridge River Road (#40) winds north along the west side of the Fraser River. Just before we crossed the Bridge River bridge, 6 km (3.5 miles), from Lillooet, we stopped on the side of the road to see the bald headed eagle as it watched for fish coming from the Bridge River into the Fraser River. He sat there for a very long time. We didn’t get to see him catch any fish, but I have no doubt that his patience would pay off.

Bridge River north of Lillooet, B.C.

The Bridge River Valley is spectacular. There were very few deciduous trees so I wasn’t seeing many fall colors other than some areas close to the river, and we were high above that river, but it was still an incredible sight as we climbed the hill. There were many years of mining but there was also the Bridge River Hydroelectric Development. It was once the largest power project in B.C. From its completion until WAC Bennett Dam on the Peace River was developed, the Bridge River Power Development provided the bulk of the power supply for the Lower Mainland and even down the Puget Sound.

Windy #40 road hugs mountainside

For the more adventurous RV’ers, I would suggest Hwy 40 (considered a secondary road) from Lillooet, BC into Gold Bridge, BC, 47 km (29 mi) is a great trip. I’ve only travelled partway up this road, and that was without the RV but K has had to pull the 5th wheel into Gold Bridge for work and I can only say I am glad I was not there for that trip. The part of the route that I did see was absolutely beautiful, but the roads……… there were parts that were very windy and narrow. There are wide spots to pull over and let someone go by but it reminded me of when I was a young girl (very young) when we travelled to Vancouver, BC through the Fraser Canyon during road construction and we would have to pull over on a wide spot to let oncoming traffic pass by. It is the same on Hwy 40 in some spots, you must drive with care and watch for oncoming traffic. Logging trucks use this road as well, caution is needed.

Horseshoe Canyon

Many years ago during the gold rush days, there were some hydraulic mining operations done in this area and Horseshoe Canyon is one of those, it may have been the largest operation of that time. We parked in a pullout on the southern edge to get a good view and it is quite amazing to see. This was also referred to as Horseshoe Wash in days gone by. The picture shows an RV down by the river and I wonder……..are they panning for gold?

Bridge River in the shadows of the great mountains

This drive along Hwy 40 made me think back in time. There are some homes through the valley but there are also some old homesteads that had been abandoned a long time ago. The history of this valley is very rich and there had been some thriving communities during the mining days of Bralorne and Pioneer. Those gold mines closed down in the early ‘70’s and now logging is the main industry. I didn’t get up to see that part of this incredible valley yet but I hope to do that some day. There are some great pages on the web that will tell you all about this valley’s history, and some beautiful pictures, as well. e.g.


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