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Having enjoyed 2 days in Whistler, we set out on a route up and through the mountains to a Town call Lillooet. This town marked the start of the Gold Trail and had made its wealth from a fortunate gold find in the area. However, once the gold had paid out, the Town switched over to cattle farming in order to sell food to the thousands of people trekking further North in search of gold of their own. The road trip north was once again a pleasurable surprise. The roads are smooth and uncongested making the trip very easy and relaxing. However, Lynne's appetite for anything new meant that we made a few stops along the way. This map shows the route so far from Vancouver, through Whistler and up to Lillooet.
One Mile Lake
Our first detour was in a pleasant village on the highway complete with a Visitor Centre. Stopping in we found directions to 'One Mile Lake'. We were not sure if the lake was 1 mile long or if it was 1 mile away, so we set out down the trail to find it. In fact it was only about ½ mile to the lake, which turned out to be a fish nursery.
The most impressive of our stops was at a place called Nairn Falls. We stopped in a well prepared car park and then set out along the bank of a fast flowing river. The trail stretched for about 1 mile (obviously Canadian tourists are quite fit) and involved negotiation over a number of roots and boulders before we reached the falls. However, the trek was worth every stumble and short breath.
The trip up and through the mountains was unforgettable with beautiful scenery on ever side. However, as we made one further stop to visit yet another lake, we were defeated by the 4 foot snowdrifts that blocked the forest path. This came as quite a surprise as the road was perfectly clear but stepping into the shade of the trees brought home to us just how cold and inhospitable this country could be in the depths of winter.
Arriving in Lillooet we booked into the Hotel D'Oro (Golden Hotel) which was quiet and comfortable after the energy and noise of Whistler. The town was pleasant and very quiet but as everywhere in Canada, the people were welcoming and helpful and unafraid to meet and talk with strangers.
As we wandered through Lillooet, we were surprised to discover that BC is one of the major sources of Jade in the whole world. We also met a group of enthusiasts driving their vintage American cars around BC. They told us that their next trip would be through America down to Atlanta.
Of course we couldn't pass up a chance to go looking for gold at the joining of the 2 local rivers.
Despite grubbing around for at least 30 minutes, we didn't get rich, so we simply returned to our own mundane but regular lives.
Just outside of Lillooet we discovered a hydro-electric dam and power station. Yes Canada has lots and lots of water. However, one side effect of introducing HE power was the near destruction of the salmon industry. As a result, fish nurseries had been established to replace the original sites on the river and fish ladders were added to allow returning salmon to negotiate their way back to their spawning grounds despite the changes made to the river's course. The Fish Nursery as always was well laid out and made extremely accessible and interesting for visitors.
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