Part two of a two part series on the flagship group event for Expedition BC – Roam Wild.
-click HERE for Part One.
The morning of day four found us packing up under light rain and heading back down the highway to Seton Lake for a swim. The group also said farewell to Ryan who had to return to regular life for work commitments.
The rain faded away just as we arrived. Several brave souls dipped into the chilly waters to start the day off fresh! Continuing on we passed through Lillooet again and made our way up the Clinton-Pavilion Rd. Before turning off Hwy 99 I commented how bizarre it felt to be on a highway stuck in traffic behind a gaggle of slow moving RV’s.
The Clinton-Pavilion route climbs up through the semi-arid landscape to the land of timber and grassy fields, before dramatically dropping down to the Kelly Lake area. Before descending to Kelly Lake we took a detour to Pavilion Mtn and climbed further until surrounded by the sub-alpine meadows, reaching the top at around 2100m (6900 ft).
It was quite buggy anytime outside of the trucks, however up high we were more exposed to the mountain breeze which kept the flying critters at bay. The top afforded a view in all directions.
It was coming time to find camp for the night, and the bugs in the area were persistent. Down we went to Kelly Lake, then onto the Jesmond Road and beyond to the High Bar area back along the Fraser River. This is one of my favourite areas of British Columbia and I find myself returning year after year.
As usual with a larger group, it was difficult to find a suitable place to setup camp. Down by the river it was quite windy, but warm and free of bugs. There was one area with just enough flat space for the group to make it work. To continue on in search of something better, we’d have to climb back up out of the valley in the dark and forge ahead against hungry stomachs. Jeff and family in the Powerwagon was by far the largest setup, and they weren’t feeling the river side camp, so they pushed on and found a better suited camp up above (with plans to reunite in the morning).
The rest of the group made camp under thundery skies as darkness settled in. We didn’t risk a fire due to the high winds, but it was plenty warm without one.
Day #4 wrapped up in a good way, with the clouds parting and the group sitting out under the moonlight.
The morning of Day #5 was spectacular, especially with the daylight playing with the hoodoos across the river.
After breakfast, we climbed back out of the valley which put smiles on everyone’s faces.
Once back up to the High Bar Rd we reached Jeff on the radio – they had camped at the base of the Jesmond Lookout Rd and were waiting for us to come on by! The High Bar Rd is usually easy driving as long as there are no washouts or muddy conditions.
The group rendezvoused with Jeff at their camp spot and then started up to the Jesmond Lookout together.
The route is a narrow track through the trees, but not particularly challenging. Near the top it opens up completely for some dramatic views.
We reached the top and walked the last 10 minutes to the tower. The bugs were out in full force, including the horseflies! The view made up for it and the group hung out for awhile up top and had a snack.
The tower is in pretty good shape.
The wildflowers were fantastic as well.
Night five would be our last camp out of the trip. For that reason, we cut the driving day short and regrouped at the bottom of the mountain to get setup early. The drive down was uneventful, and with the end of the trails for the week came the confirmation that I was the only one to get “stuck” for the whole trip. If you read the 2018 Roam Wild trip report, you’d start to notice a pattern here…
The afternoon/evening was spent around the fire, eating up some hearty meals and just enjoying each other’s company.
We were able to get the kids to bed early and enjoy staying up late with the rest of the group. The moon shone bright enough to walk around without a flashlight.
Everyone departed on the morning of day six. We finished up the Jesmond Rd and headed back to pavement via the Big Bar Rd out to Clinton. Most of us headed south toward home…
I’ll end this off with a photo from Chasm, a quick stop on the way home. -JC