Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Chilcotin Holidays

Guide's journey, part 2 of 4

Capturing beauty of Tyax Camp.

Tyax camp, 9 am. After a good nights sleep, a hearty breakfast and some camp maintenance, to get camp ready for guests, we had saddled our horses and were ready for another day of exploration!

Having only 3 days for our trip we had a tight schedule, but since we had come all this way, I was also going to learn the most important trails around camp.

So off we went, following the trail through white bark pine stands and subalpine forests, while Clark's Nutcracker flying by welcomed us with their typical crow-like call. The first destination was Elbow Pass and while the horses steadily walked on, I was 'all eyes' making sure to remember trails and turn offs, while enjoying the beautiful scenery and weather, all the time having my camera ready to capture such beauty.

Coming up the pass was particularily exciting, as it was impossible to see what country was lying behind the pass. Only a few meters before we reached the pass, the red shape of Elbow Mountain started to rise in front of me... I was in love right away! There is nothing like the red sandy-shale/scree slopes and mountains, so typical for the South Chilcotin Mountain Park.

As we kept going, making our way across the pass, the grey and more rugged looking mountain ridges and peaks in the far distance, slowly, but surely came closer. With the changing perspective the temptation to capture Elbow Mountain's beauty from each angle kept me busy until we reached the end from where the trail winds downwards into the impressive Big Creek Valley. I was by no way disappointed by the view that opened up itself in front of me!

Walking our horses down allowed me to practice my photography skills a bit more as every new mountain peak appearing presented me with a new beautiful picture to capture. After all, who knew when I would be able to come back next time? And the weather was just too perfect to resist. Along the way we found several grizzly rubbing trees for which we stopped to collect the grizzly hair for a DNA research project we support. Arriving in the valley, a swampy area that apprently is perfect moose country, we mounted our horses again. Following Big Creek with it's milky-blue water for a while we made our way to Big Creek Camp. What a beautiful place! Nestled in the forest with wild flowers growing around the tent frames, the whole scene illuminated by the amble warm sunlight coming through the open canopy. After a quick inspection of the cabin, we decided to have lunch there, before we headed towards Lorna Lake. There is one old picture in the ranch house, showing Lorna Lake, surrounded by a mix of brown and black scree slopes and I had long hoped to capture it's beauty with my own camera. Here was my chance: the milky blue colored water, so typical for mountainous areas because of the rock flour in the water, was sparkling in the sunshine, the scree slopes and the mountains surrounding it like a wall were just as spectacular as they are in that old picture.

We would have loved to linger longer, but knowing that our 'tour' would take about 10hours, we pushed on. Our horses climbed the steep trail and whenever they stopped to rest, I turned to catch “another last glimpse“ at the, to me still unknown land, we left behind, The interesting shapes of the Cluckata Ridge and Dome Peak dominating the picture of that last glimpse. Up we went, the forest quickly changing into subalpine shrubs and then the few shrubs too ceased and we were surrounded by grey scree slopes and rocky outcrops who seemed rather lifeless. It's hard to imagine, but apparently Bighorn Sheep like this kind of terrain to hide from their predators. Soon we reached Lorna Pass and from there for the third time a totally different scenery greeted me. Soon I could make out places in the far distance that I knew - Eldorado Mt.and Truax Mt. being some of them. It was absolutely strange to be there - How often had I looked in this direction from Open Heart Mountain or Windy Pass? Always wishing to come here and now I was at the other end looking back! There is no question that I had to capture this moment too. On our way back to camp, I was busy putting names to mountain peaks and other familiar looking shapes and by the time we reached the tree line I had a much better understanding of the land. Not only about the way it is laid out and the names of it's mountains, but also of its treasures and beauties, because of which it needs to be protected so that future generations too will be able to enjoy this pristine wilderness and its inhabitants.

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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