Whistler, BC (Jun 26/22) – N&J were no strangers to Howard Lake, been there, done that, many times. Something that keeps them coming back, the great fishing, beautiful lake, fresh mountain air, the peace, the quiet… whatever the reason this is a good spot to relax & enjoy the scene.
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Weather in the mountains is always changing, don’t like it? …wait 20 minutes. Some of the most dramatic climatic conditions were experienced this trip. While fishing down at the dock N&J witnessed major dark cloud formations & a ‘boiler’ storm being created before their eyes (Boiler clouds? …cause they ‘boil’ upwardly, are indicative of an impending thunder storm & the resulting hail, towering up to 30,000 feet). Wind was being whipped up across the lake with its tale-tale ‘black water & cat-tails’ rippling across the water surface. Thunder & lightning in the distance & coming close quickly, time to call it a day and get back to camp. As they reached the camp the wind picked up noticeably, the crackling of thunder and familiar sound of hail tapping on the awning & Westfalia rooftop. Without warning the hail storm stepped it up quite a few notches, what was normal size hail (peppercorn size) suddenly grew to ‘grape size’ chunks of ice & came down in torrents. The noise on the canopy was deafening, so much so J plugged his ears (yes that loud). What seemed like an eternity, was maybe only 5 minutes but it left the ground white & caused some minor damage to the van awning… rupturing the top surface with ‘pock marks’ (fortunately it did not damage the underlying material).
The next day brought some sunshine & warmth to celebrate N&J’s 8th Wedding Anniversary!!! (and 9 years of sharing this journey together). More fishing was in order & N continued her quest to catch the ‘big one’ on Howard Lake, hopefully something to bring to the special night’s dinner feast.
After having dinner N surprised J with a beautiful anniversary gift of a locally crafted pottery mug by Cindy Faulkner of 100 Mile House BC (w/Jesse’s ‘mug’ featured); an additional surprise for Chris & Olivier with a “Westy Mug” and something from the wedding 8 years ago, something C&O did not experience as they were not in attendance… N&J had frozen a rather large chunk of wedding cake. Carefully wrapped in plastic & tin foil and placed in the bottom of their freezer, the cake was brought along for this anniversary as a token of the day’s memory… one would expect it to be dried out & not very good. Well… crazy to think, it was still moist, tasty like on the wedding day!! (who would have thunk) 🙂
After 2 nights at Howard Lake some more off-road exploration was initiated. Once returning to the main road the team headed east on the Canim Lake Road towards Mahood Lake & Clearwater, BC. Good gravel and well maintained makes for an easy drive, passing by many spectacular views of Canim Lake.
There are various backroad routes to take, one such trail was just that ‘a trail’. Big enough for just a vehicle to maneuver, no room to pass another, difficult to turn around. After a few ‘giant puddles’ & active creek crossings they came upon a sizeable washout in the road (a pretty good moving stream, large rocks & steep embankment) that made passage insurmountable (HOBBES now a 4WD & taller stance probably could have proceeded; but TURTLE, a 2WD with very low clearance… no chance). So the task of reversing course began, first un-hitch the little trailer (“Calvin”), spin Hobbes & Turtle around & re-hitch up the trailer, and return to the start point.
Fortunately the Backroads BC map provided guidance to finding an alternate route. Eventually after passing quite a few lakes & recreational camp sites they finally descended quickly down to Hwy 5 near Clearwater BC to continue south to Kamloops. After refueling & stocking up groceries they departed towards the next destination… Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park.
There are two lakes in the park …Tunkwa Lake & Leighton Lake. The latter was chosen as there was only a few camp sites still available, but nevertheless a beautiful vista of the lake was spread out before their eyes. There are actually 3 campgrounds in this park, each with their own advantages depending on what the camper is looking for (obviously fishing is the main draw).
The forest and surrounding area for many kilometres was black & burnt out from last years devastating wildfires that destroyed endless amounts of landscape (including destroying the town of Lytton). Nature was fighting back, new green growth was visible everywhere & wild mushrooms (Morels) were plentiful as they tend to flourish in ‘old forest fire’ zones.
While N was trying her luck fishing on the lake, J and Jesse (the cat) accompanied C&O and Westy (the dog) on a hike around the lake. The hiking path was somewhat rough in places, but Jesse’s ‘go kart’ with its large wheels was up to the task, although at a few places the ‘cat stroller’ was carried over rocks & tree roots with help from Olivier. The views of the sky-blue lake was breath-taking… clear skies, sunny & almost hot making up for weeks of rain.
The great weather really made for a wonderful time to spend outdoors around the campfire late into the summer evenings. Lots of good food was created, one particular meal included ‘homemade’ pizzas on the BBQ… delish!!!
After 3 days at Tunkwa the travelers packed up to head back to their homes, stopping briefly at the highway junction to bid adieu… C&O heading south to New Westminster; N&J heading west to Whistler.
A wonderful trip exploring new and wild places celebrating an anniversary with good friends, each couple journeying home happy with new found memories that will carry on and until the next time Hobbes re-boots to hit the road again!