Mountain peaks, evergreens, rushing creeks, bright blue summer skies…. and overland rigs…. OVERLAND RIGS?? Yes of course! The first ever British Columbia Overland Rally was held last weekend in the scenic Hemlock Valley. Organized and put on by the same crew from the successful Northwest Overland Rallies (see previous blog post), it was about time British Columbia had an event like this – and it was just splendid!
This was a different setting than what us rally folk are used to with these events. With the festivities being held up in the mountains at Sasquatch Mountain Resort, we were closer than ever to the terrain and wilderness we like to explore and be immersed in.
Due to other commitments (you know, that annoying day job that pays for everything), we rolled in late to the rally on Friday evening, unfortunately just missing the charming group campfire. After setting up we toured around with the kiddies and ran into a bunch of familiar faces. There was definitely a good vibe flowing the camp area, almost as if people had been anxiously waiting for an event like this in BC and were trying to subdue their child-like excitement! With the individual camps spread out in different directions, many with campfires, solar lights and headlamps buzzing about, it seemed as if we were all festival decorations on the mountain. After feeding the kids by the light of our trusty Luci solar lights, we went to sleep and tried to ignore our eager anticipation for the next day’s festivities.
Saturday was a busy one as it was our only day to take on some classes, run the technical course (men’s and ladies) as well as tour the vendor and camping areas. We would have loved to participate in some trail runs but we just didn’t have enough time. Plus this was practically our backyard and we have had the opportunity to run most of these trails in the past!
Here are some of the camp setups and rigs that we liked:
With the prospect of being on a mountain, the technical course naturally had an advantage over the tech course we saw at the Northwest Overland Rally. Combine some loose hill climbs, off-camber sections, mud, water damaged roads and even a cross ditch or two, the tech course had almost everything you’d come to expect in BC terrain. We found that the larger area and longer course lead to very minimal wait times / traffic jams on the loop, which made for a more enjoyable experience overall. We put the Endurance through the paces, and it crawled through the course without any drama, partly due to the experienced spotters/guides, and also that it’s a fairly well balanced machine for this type of driving. We took the time to watch some of the other rigs as well:
Even the Sequoia stuffed it once or twice:
After running the course and watching some other drivers, we checked out some vendors and classes. It was a hot day and there was plenty of canopies, awnings and shade to seek out.
Other than meeting fellow enthusiasts and real-deal overland explorers, the absolute gem of these rallies is the group campfire and prize raffle. Our three year old never gets tired of yelling “BURN IT!” along with the crowd, and we all have a good laugh. Warn gave away a couple of Warn Zeon winches, Kakadu Camping raffled off a bunch of OZ Trail cast iron cooking gear, and as usual, Cascadia Vehicle Tents stepped up to the plate giving away one of their roof top tents to one lucky winner. We were more than happy to walk away with some T-shirts, stickers and patches, as well as a huge tube of freeze-dried Thrive strawberries. Yum!
Thanks to Ray and his family, along with all the volunteers and attendees that made this a successful and most enjoyable event. We are hooked on these rallies and plan to attend them each year. If we could change one thing, it would have to be the camping on dusty gravel. We realize this is the inaugural event, and overall the facility works well for a rally, but we did find everything, including ourselves, was covered in dust by Sunday morning! Perhaps the gravel areas could be treated with calcium to keep the dust down next year? (We’ve been updated that the grounds were treated before the event however a huge downpour afterwards reduced its effectiveness). Nevertheless, we can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend and are already planning to attend year 2!