2010-05-08 50 -120
South of Westwold, west of Westside Road. More up than down.
According to Google Maps, the road that begins as Whitemans Creek Road is a better road than the northern section of Douglas Lake Road. Judging by how long it took me to drive to Bouleau Lake, this could be over an hour of gravel road. The day is warm and sunny, so let's enjoy some scenic backroads.
The Drive In
There wasn't much for signage, so I turned on my GPS and drove for another 10 minutes before checking the shape and orientation of my track. It matched my mapbook, so I continued (I find this more trustworthy than coordinates).
The road was worse than expected. It was not a road-road, in fact it was Whiteman Forest Service Road--a typical single-lane and no longer graded. I passed a group of surprised-looking hunters (which would be the last people I would see). I didn't expect going to a mere 1300m would pose much of a problem this late after a mild winter, but after a half-hour the road turned soft from recent melt. Then in a shady bend the first patch of snow, which my car traveled through mostly on forward momentum.
I must say, I hate these situations. It is very easy to get stuck or slide into a soft shoulder. By the time you realize what you've driven through, you can not turn around because there is no room. You can drive backwards, but doing so seems like a worse idea than driving forward. You do not know if that patch of snow or mud was the worst of it, or the merely the beginning. There is no cellular coverage, and no other people.
To my disbelief it started hailing, and I drove through an even worse patch of snow over mud. With my wipers going and the engine rpm high, I thought to myself, "this is finally going to be the time I get stuck in nowhere". However, as I crested the hill, the sun came blaring out, and everything was dry (I obviously had been on the dark side). Later on I crossed an active logging area, with the road leading out well-graded.
I turned down the unnamed road that would lead to the coordinates. One fallen tree had left only enough room to literally scrape my car against while edging the ditch. The next fallen tree was not so kind.
I examined the scale bar on my GPS and guessed 10km to the coordinates. This would of been a great time to bring a mountain bike, but it happens so infrequently I could not fault myself. It was past 4pm, and there was no way I was driving out in the dark. I decided I would walk part of the way, and turn back, unless my rate was better than expected.
I walked over a dozen fallen trees, and wondered what were the chances of one falling between my car and the main road (there was some wind). There was also a locked gate signifying the start of someone's rangeland, but there were none of the usual "no trespassing" signs. Further along I walked into an area containing the largest amount of
jade serpentinite I had ever seen. I examined some of the rocks and realized it was all marbled veins, no large pieces, and likely of no value.
At some point I hit the stupidity distance, and calculating speed and daylight hours seemed like a waste of time. As the forest gave way to rolling grasslands, I came across a well-groomed intersection and thought, "Here was my nice scenic drive." As I rose higher I could see the green hills went on forever, with nary an animal or structure of any kind. It was quite surreal. When most coordinates here give you the view of the side of a bush, this view was something else.
As I hurried back I realized I had been stupid. To further press the point, my muscles were past sore, and I continually felt faint. I thought of Robyn. The sun set and coldness came.
The Drive Out
It was the end of dusk, and I had no intention on driving back through that in the dark. Instead I studied my mapbook which showed Douglas Lake Road as being paved (!), and the forest service roads to that road were shorter than to Westside Road. The roads were a lengthy maze, and one of them was gated at Douglas Lake Road. I gauged that these roads would be clearer simply because of their elevation and proximity to the arid Nicola region.
Most forest service roads lead up to cut blocks and end. It was extremely lucky to have an alternative route out. Driving forest service roads in the dark that I had never seen before was a bad idea, but I felt better than the other bad options.
I made the right choice. It was perhaps a half hour to Douglas Lake Road. I had never been so happy to see pavement.
Google Maps will get someone killed, just not me this time. I already knew my mapbook was superior for roads, but I will now use it exclusively.
I could of driven to Douglas Lake Road and been at the same tree sooner. Or if one continues down Douglas Lake Road, there are buildings at the entrance to the road I saw at the intersection. If they allowed public through, this would of been the type of geohash you could drive right up to.
20.47 km walk (not really a hike).
I mistakenly packed only a fixed-zoom lens, and had no time to stop, so...