Farwell Canyon / Pothole Ranch - British Columbia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by EPOCH6, Apr 22, 2021.

  1. EPOCH6

    EPOCH6 Been here awhile

    Jun 20, 2018
    British Columbia
    Last weekend I rode north to rummage around the remains of Pothole Ranch, a ~125 year old farming settlement nestled at the bottom of Farwell Canyon in the Cariboo/Chilcotin region of British Columbia. The landscape and weather here is bizarre and completely out of place in the Cariboo, which is normally represented by rolling valleys and mountains blanketed under a thick coat of Douglas fir trees. The gravel road into Farwell Canyon casually meanders its way along several large ranches before violently spiraling downward into a gnarly series of switchbacks. Almost immediately the trees disappear, replaced by sand dunes and stone hoodoos clinging to barren canyon walls. The steep riverside cliffs that surround Pothole Ranch seem to produce their own greenhouse effect, reflecting the sun inward toward the settlement. The temperature in Farwell Canyon is consistently 5-10 degrees warmer than the surrounding ranches 10 minutes up the road, sometimes pushing 40 Celsius in the summer, and that's exactly why Gordon Farwell decided to set up shop there. The Chilcotin River provided all of the water and irrigation he would ever need, the soil was ideal, the sunlight was vicious, and he very quickly made use of the combination.

    The historical records of the families that lived at Pothole Ranch are fairy-tale grade shit, seriously heartwarming. Gordon Farwell was an adrenaline junkie that got his kicks breaking and racing wild horses. The original land owner Louis Vedan remained at Pothole Ranch as a farm hand after selling it to Farwell. In 1912 Farwell formed a partnership with Gerald Blenkinsop and the two of them made serious bank breaking and training wild horses together. Blenkinsop ended up marrying Farwell's friendly and energetic housekeeper nicknamed "Queenie", Farwell ended up marrying an Irish woman nicknamed "Weenie", and the two neighboring families operated Pothole Ranch together throughout the following decade. Old man Louis Vedan had a reputation as a grouchy SOB but took such a liking to Queenie that he bought her a grand piano as a wedding gift and hauled it down the steep canyon switchbacks to Pothole Ranch by wagon. Queenie grew up in a musical family and was an excellent musician. With a group like that, most days consisted of ripping wild horses around the canyon, plantin' veggies, and spending their evenings dancing around the campfire while Queenie laid down some serious honky tonk jams. I'd like to think that I experienced even a fraction of that joy while ripping my horse around the ranch last weekend.

    Pothole Ranch thrived for 20 years before the two families living there sold it to Gang Ranch and moved on to bigger opportunities. It has been abandoned since the end of the Second World War.

    [​IMG]PSX_20210419_074005 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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    [​IMG]PSX_20210419_072346 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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    [​IMG]PSX_20210419_065009 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
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    [​IMG]PSX_20210419_070809 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
    [​IMG]PSX_20210419_080709 by EPOCH 6, on Flickr
  2. staudio

    staudio Time to take a ride.....

    Dec 16, 2008
    20 Minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge, CA
    nice photos........great looking bike!
  3. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Nov 27, 2009
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Beautiful country. It sure looks like a tough place to grow a crop though.