Canada's Best Kept Secret: 500km from the nearest paved road, solo in Northern BC.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Crooked Creek, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

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    Soooo....is this thread completely abandoned? I'd like to see what's left of all those abandoned mines up there.....
  2. G-Mac

    G-Mac Been here awhile

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    Yes more please.
  3. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    I really enjoyed thoroughly the video of you and your son.
    I brought my wife in to watch it and she said it reminded her of me and my son---as I spent every waking moment with him when he was little.

    I was so amazed at how he paid attention to every word you said---and he asked a lot of questions---which you so patiently answered----every one.

    Your an awesome dad Crooked Creek.

    Mark
  4. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    Sorry, it seems that I have forgotten about it. It's been a busy fall. Between full time work, building a house, developing an acreage and a young family there hasn't been a lot of extra time... And I just got got back from Africa. But maybe over Christmas I'll get some time.

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    Glad you enjoyed it, Mark. I made a decision before my kids were born that I would answer all of their questions the best I could. That was before I had an idea how many questions they were capable of asking :lol3. But kids only grow up once and I consider a privilege to be part of the process.
  5. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    awesome family there Crooked, so tell us more about Africa, the what, the why, and?
  6. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    Well, that could be a long story, but I'm involved with a hospital, school, AIDS orphanage, child rescue center, and some other humanitarian work in West Africa. Was there to meet with local leaders and help develop a strategic plan.
  7. Sroz

    Sroz Adventurer

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    Awesome report. Being from South Australia which is sometimes referred to as the driest state in the driest continent your whole environment is an amazing dichotomy from where I ride. I'm curious as to what "Outfitters" do?
    Thx
    Greg
  8. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    Yep, arid regions are a whole different animal. People sometimes wonder about the remoteness of rides like this, but when water is everywhere and fish are easy to catch, that sure helps. As long as you can stay warm.

    Being an "outfitter" or a registered trapper are only ways to gain permission to build a cabin and live out in these areas. There is no private land to be owned. "Guide outfitters", as they refer to them in British Columbia, purchase exclusive rights to guide non-resident big game hunters in a specific area.

    In my experience, many outfitters (especially in this region) are more hermits than hunters, but this gives them a way to earn a living and live in the wilderness.
  9. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    So after a brief hiatus :rofl, let's resume.

    We were here.

    It had been quite the ride, and I was ready for a nap.

    At last my destination was in view.

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    Pretty much as far away from pavement as you can get in BC.

    <iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&amp;source=s_q&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=&amp;q=57.233126,-127.046741&amp;aq=&amp;sll=57.233126,-127.046741&amp;sspn=0.00259,0.007639&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=h&amp;ll=57.231503,-127.045898&amp;spn=2.081369,4.669189&amp;z=7&amp;output=embed"></iframe><br /><small><a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&amp;source=embed&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=&amp;q=57.233126,-127.046741&amp;aq=&amp;sll=57.233126,-127.046741&amp;sspn=0.00259,0.007639&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=h&amp;ll=57.231503,-127.045898&amp;spn=2.081369,4.669189&amp;z=7" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>

    Eventually, I got on the right side of the lake and into camp.

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    I can't remember how long I slept, but I was fed well in the morning and hit the road again. I had no idea how far north I would get, but I was going to get as far as possible. Rick has said the last time he was up that far there was a few years ago, but he said it was possible on horseback at least.

    So from Black Lake I headed back down to the Sturdee River Valley. That's the airstrip down below.

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    After the airstip the road is officially closed.

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    And it was about to get fun.

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  10. The_Scottsman

    The_Scottsman There's Beer here??

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  11. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    So I forgot something important. You may remember I had a boat in my pack...

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    Originally I was going to raft the Finlay River into Fort Ware. But, with the flooding it would have been pretty much guaranteed death, so I needed a Plan B. So after breakfast, before heading out on the bike, I inflated my packraft.

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    If you're just joining us, I have one of these.

    It's lots of fun.

    This was my first time trying it on a creek.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/kdXsZJRPI3E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


    But after hauling it (not to mention a paddle and full whitewater gear) 1300km into the wilderness there was no way I wasn't going to use it. Even if it was cold.

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    Off I went across Black Lake.

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    <IFRAME height=315 src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PpfLkSUM9xo" frameBorder=0 width=420 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>


    I was still exhausted and the wind was going the right way, so I snuck in a quick nap on the way across the lake.

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    The destination lay behind the snow-capped peaks in the background.

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  12. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    After an hour or so I get to the edge of the lake.

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    Unfortunately the outlet to the lake is not exactly a clean exit. It's a series of beavers dams... I can pretty much guarantee I'm the only human being to have paddled this creek. The indigenous people (in days gone by) would have been smart enough to use the Toodoggone River to get to the Finlay.

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    Here's one of the lodge. By the way, I wasn't exactly taking pictures (as I didn't have time to doddle.) I just put my GoPro on timelapse so it took random pictures every 30 seconds. Hence the crooked shots.

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    There was lots of jumping over beaver dams, but eventually the water started to flow.

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    And we were in business.

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    Or so I thought. Several times I would come around a bend to find the entire creek blocked off by strainers.

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    Bushwack portages ensued.

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    Which way to go?

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    I picked the one that seemed to have the most flow.

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    More beaver dams. Lovely.

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    But eventually the valley opened up and the creek picked up steam.
  13. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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    Good time for me for you to be back on the RR Ben, yep , we missed you but your volunteer work in Africa must be very rewarding.

    Lots of cold weather and snow here so the xc ski workout and your RR can keep the ole bod alert and healthy:lol3

    You have my attention again Carry on
    gale
  14. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    Yes it was. We've have about 3 winters already this year and the roads are horrible so I thought I'd try and finish this report up. Glad to see you're still along for the ride.
  15. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    After the last beaver dam, the fun began. The trick was staying in the deep water on the outside bends without hitting the bank and trees.

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    The farther along I got, the faster the creek became. It was all I could do to keep the raft from getting pinned under the numerous sweepers and against the undercut banks. Unfortunately, in all the excitement, I must have double pressed the record button. There wasn't much room for error.


    And within the next 10 km, said error occurred.


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  16. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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    OOOOPPPPPPSSSSS Ben, not good. Looking forward to your solution:D
  17. Mercenary

    Mercenary Mindless Savage

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    I was wondering how stout those rafts were. Did it take quite an effort to puncture it?
  18. Mike Ryder

    Mike Ryder Kriegerkuh

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    They all do that.
  19. MitchG

    MitchG Iron Collector

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    Been wanting to go this route for a while now but, other than the high capital cost, I always feared they where too easy to damage leaving me literally "down the creek without a raft". Plan "B" was to use a "towable tube" as a float. If you search the web, there are a number of shapes and sizes that will work. The basic bladder is no better but they are covered with a very heavy nylon material that is almost indestructible. Not as hydrodynamic and there is a weight penalty to pay, but I usually just run down stream anyway so not that much of an issue. Oh ya, and they're inexpensive.
  20. Crooked Creek

    Crooked Creek Been here awhile

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    Sorry to burst your bubble, MitchG, :wink: but even the toughest "indestructible" tow tubes are 840 denier, which is the same as my Feathercraft's floor except without the high quality urethane coating. The side tubes are are only 210 denier but I would say with the coating they are still more abrasion resistant than any tow tube I've seen. But if you're just using it as a float a towable would be a good cheap (but heavy and bulky) option. Wouldn't paddle too well, but could would tow/line it across a river.

    Re:cost, depreciation and resale also should be considered. My wife's first Alpacka raft I bought used for $500, then sold it for $650. Her second one I bought for $600, and sold it for $960. So far it's been a cheap option :)

    I have drug my packraft over countless sharp rocks, scraped against exposed shale, got pinned against beaver-sharpened sticks and broken pine branches (with the full force of the river behind it), caught it with fishing hooks and more without a puncture.


    I do not know of any inflatable on the market (including commercial grade neoprene re-enforced hypalon rafts) that would have been able to survive what I hit...stay tuned.