Alexander Mackenzie Trail - 2013

Discussion in 'CA.BC- Coastal Cruisers' started by Glenn-BJ74, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. canucksafari

    canucksafari

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    Agreed. At least that's what the Safari tells me.

    That works as long as the cables attach higher than anything else on the roof rack. It doesn't do much for limbs that bend around enough to miss the riser cables on the edges. I guess if you had 3-4 cables with 1-2 more centered, it would take care of those limbs too.

    Deadfall spears laying off the edge of the road bank are a real rad/headlight danger. Is that what took out the rad?

    I once took one through the headlight, through the battery and into the firewall. Expensive but taught me to slow down and watch the edges of the trail better. Tough to avoid when going through thick brush. Maybe some lighter floor grating on the front would help. Safari has a skid plate from the rad support back to protect the bottom of the rad but there is nothing but some cheap plastic grill on the front.
     
  2. Dangil

    Dangil

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    The rad was a victim of backing over a small tree that I had just driven forward over. I think my rear tire raised the tree/branch as i was backing over it. The sound of the fan wacking that branch as it punctured my rad haunts my dreams.
     
  3. canucksafari

    canucksafari

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    You must have some Russian in you. :D 4x4ing & tree plowing is the same thing to them. Sounds like our armour fabbing businesses will want to get a new product out on the market ASAP. I might even let them have a look at the OEM one on the Safari. :lol:

    Sorry to hear about the rad. Hope your fan isn't all cracked up now too. It really does not take much to damage the bank account. Glad the JB weld held. I have never had much luck with that stuff. On the other hand I really love Rapid Fix. It sticks to just about everything - including greasy dirty skin.
     
  4. trackerman

    trackerman

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    Hi Everyone:

    I'm brand new to the forum, and had a few questions about your trip from Ulkatcho to Kluskus? A group of us missed you guys by 2 days last week. We went from Kluskus to Robbie Phillips place and back to Kluskus. Super awesome trip, and want to do it again next year. We all live in Quesnel, and were wondering about your guys exact route? We want to head in to Gatcho Lake next year and head all the way to Chinee Falls, but I am not totally familiar with the route from Anahiem Lake to Gatcho Lake and on to Robbie's Place? Could you guys give me some pointers on the trail details/location.

    Thanx a bunch
     
  5. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    Stay tuned.
     
  6. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    Trip Report

    Here is the start of a trip report, which I will have to complete in installments. If anyone came along wishes to add something please feel free to do so.

    History

    In the summer of 1793, 29 year old Alexander Mackenzie, trekked overland along the Grease Trail between the present day Quesnel and Bella Coola to the Pacific Ocean lead by First Nations guides. The South Carrier and Chilcotin peoples established the ‘Grease Trails’ that ran from present day Bella Coola through Tweedsmuir Park onto the Fraser Plateau to the Quesnel River and south to 100 Mile House.

    In 2010 we followed the trail from the Fraser River along the Blackwater drainage to Gatcho Lake and in 2013 we decided to do the trip in reverse -- from west to east. The drivable route is about 250 kms long to Titetown, which excludes Tweedsmuir Park where vehicle access is not allowed. Groups considering doing the entire trip should plan be self-sufficient for 8 days, depending upon unknown trail conditions.

    McIntyre Rendezvous - Day 1 Saturday

    After stocking up on fuel and supplies in Williams Lake, Dan and I headed to meet the rest of the crew at McIntyre Rec site. The McIntyre Rec site is located on the right side of Hwy 20 just past the Sheep Creek Bridge which is the point of entry into the grand Chilcotin region. Dan and I arrived about 6:30PM to meet Bill and Trish from Kamloops with their well-appointed FJ Cruiser and Mike Allan from Prince George in his highly modified 4Runner.

    Shortly afterwards Rob arrived in his poo-brown frame-off BJ60 and after some introductions I informed everyone that Gary slept in that day and would be expected about midnight. We set up camp and talked about the trip and next big day. The plan was to drive to Anahim Lake for our last fuel up and then onto Gatcho Lake. The start required a bypass of a segment of Mackenzie trail from Gatcho to Eliguk Lake which is for non-motorized use.

    Before leaving we snapped a few photos of the trucks in there pristine pre-Mackenzie condition.

    The group included Mike’s modified 4Runner, Rob in his 1985 turbo’d 4:88s cable locked BJ60, Dan in his 1991 HDJ81 on 35” Swampers, Bill and Trish’s 2007 FJ Cruiser, Gary in his locked 1989 BJ74 and my 1989 locked BJ74.
     

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  7. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    Gatcho Lake Fish Camp – Day 2

    Sunday morning we awoke to see Gary’s BJ74 had arrived sometime during the night. We chatted briefly had a hasty breakfast and broke camp at 9:00am. We set off heading west along Hwy 20 and stopped at Lee’s Corner to take in some Chilcotin ambience and gasp at the outrageously high prices for fuel and food at this well know tourist trap.

    We continued down Hwy 20 and just before Tatla Lake we turned toward Tatlayoko Lake and then down an old cattle trail to find a scenic lunch spot near Suds Lake. After lunch we completed the loop back to Hwy 20 and briefly stopped at Tatla Lake to check out the store and check on the rusting 40 series Landcruiser that has been there forever.

    The next stop was Grandma’s at Anahim Lake to fuel up and get last minute overpriced supplies in town. This was our last point of supply for the next 10 days and the locals came out to check out the big truck invasion. Spare fuel cans were retrieve from roof racks and backseats and the 4Runner’s custom double gas tanks were filled to the brim. Following a last ‘look around’ we headed back past Grandma’s and over the bridge north along Christenson Road and then to the Dean River FSR and after a few hours found the poorly marked turnoff to Gatcho Lake.

    We followed the muddy trail, which was usually wet, and eventual saw faint glimpses of the lake through the trees and finally entered a clearing which opened up to the fish camp on the north lake edge. We then drove up to the original Ulkatcho town site above the lake. There stood the half-completed framed log house which was being built in 2010 and never completed. That log framed building is etched into my mind because it was the first sign of civilization when we emerged from the Krestinuk’s Horse Trail trail in 2010.

    The Ulkatcho people are related to the South Carrier people, who lived a nomadic life, who summered in the Itcha and Ilgachuz mountains. They traded furs, hides, and obsidian with the Nuxalk in the Bella Coola, in exchange for salmon and the oil (grease) of the eulachon, which is where the Grease Trail got its name. An archaeological site of the Ulkatcho peoples has been found near an obsidian quarry in the Itcha Ilgachuz area, where large pit houses are visible, evidence of their migratory lifestyle through the area.

    We looked around in the grassy town site and Mike pointed out the cemetery below. Within a few minutes a dark native fellow on his quad and his girl emerged out of the bush to greet us. We went back to the Gatcho fish camp Rob, Dan and Glenn went for a quick swim in the brisk lake water before dinner. We sat around the campfire marvelling at the quietness and stillness of this remote place and later hit our sleeping bags tired from the first big day.

    The map shows the Krestinuk Horse Trail bypass over top the hiking trail noted in yellow.
     

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  8. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    Almost forgot - Mike's cool double tanked 4Runner.

    He must have been on this run before :D
     

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  9. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    Krestinuk Horse Trail- Day 3

    I awoke the first morning to a heavy mist that engulfed our camp and Gatcho Lake. The camp was strangely quiet and within minutes the fog lifted and people began to stir. We had breakfast and pulled stakes about 10:00am and headed up the Krestinuk’s Horse Trail which is a little wider than a quad track.

    The Krestinuk’s Horse Trail is a bypass over the top of the non-motorized segment of the Mackenzie trail between Gatcho Lake and Eliguk Lake. Along the trail we had to stop every 50 feet to clear deadfall and remove low hanging branches.
    The narrow 70 series were up from followed by successively wider vehicles, which shared the trail clearing duties. During our east to west trip in 2010 this was the most difficult trail segment so we were prepared. I had made a saw scabbard mounted on my front bumper which saved a ton of time retrieving and replacing the chain saw every 10 minutes.

    About ½ way along, Dan’s loaded rack was torn off his roof of his HDJ81, complete with his 4 fuel cans, his inflatable boat and his huge Alpine cargo box. Undaunted forward bushwhacking team kept blazing trail, while the roof rack repair team swung into action and Dan was on his way in short order. Unbelievably there was no damage to Dan’s truck
     

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  10. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    While the buzzing chainsaws continued - the second distress call came over the VHF. Dan’s radiator was leaking on the inside by an embedded stick thrown into the radiator by his fan. The call went out for Bar’s Leak, but no one had any. We were forced to keep going while Dan stopped every few minutes to add water as we creeped along the horse trail racking our brains on how to fix this serious show stopper.

    Egg whites – yes Gary suggested egg whites – so Bill dug deep into his fridge and retrieved 4 Grade A eggs, which were properly separated yolk from white and poured into Dan’s radiator with finest of culinary aplomb. Well it seemed like a good idea, but the egg yolk fix was a flop – water was still leaking.

    So crawling, hacking, sawing and adding water we inched along the horse trail, till we got to Basalt Flats – the only open camping area along the entire trail. Basalt Flats it clearly recognizable by a large wobbly basalt boulder in the middle of the only opening along the trail.

    Gatcho Lake to Basalt Flats, which was a total 20.5 km on the odometer, took us 6½ hours which resulted in an average speed of 3.1 kph. This was same as our previous 2010 trip which is slower than a walking pace.

    At Basalt Flats, the team divided up -- Rob and Dan would work on the truck while others would cook up some dinner to save time. The rad was removed, cleaned, the coolant runners pinched off, JB welded up and reinstalled by 9:00 PM (including dinner). This would allow the maximum time for the JB weld to harden before morning. The night was cloudy and we got rain and everyone was worried about the rad and how were we going to get the HDJ81 out of this place.
     

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  11. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    Eliguk Off Camber - Day 4

    Next morning Dan filled his rad and fired up his engine and the rad appeared to be holding water !!!

    We broke camp and continued on the slow twisty trail and stopped to look at Basalt Lake, which has some fine basalt lava columns. Basalt columns are formed as the molten basalt cools and causes horizontal jointing of tall hexagonal columns that are pencil like in shape.
    Other example I have seen are near Naches in Washington State we visted last July 2013 doing the 2nd running of the WBDR.

    This volcanic activity is part of the Anahim Volcanic Belt that lies between the Nazko cinder cone we visited last July 2012 on our Kluskoil Lake trip, and the Rainbow Range in Tweedsmuir Park. In between are the IIgachuz and Itcha Ranges, which are also part of this volcanic belt, which provided the backdrop to the Home Ranch we camped at that following evening.
     

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  12. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    Back on the Mackenzie

    At the end of the Krestinuk Horse Trail we got finally back on the original Mackenzie Trail.
    At this point Dan swung his HDJ81 wide to avoid a tree and slipped into a soft spot hidden in the long grass. The tall grass hides many mud bog surprizes.
    Dan got himself out and back on track and we then got through another tricky off camber top of a hill turn and proceeded along until we got to the Eliguk Lake off camber. The last shot was the end of the Horse Trail.
     

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  13. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    In 2010 we got through the Eliguk Lake off camber, which was going the uphill direction without too much drama, but going downhill is another story!!
    About ½ way down my BJ74 front right wheels pushed out the soft powdery dirt on the downslope side and so there I sat at over 35° off camber.
    I tried to winch the nose up, but the PTO linkage was not allowing the PTO gear to engage.
    We tied off my left bumper to prevent damaging my roof rack and carefully nosed the front end downhill and rode her to the a lower flatter level which the team had bushwhacked a rough trail back up to the original trail.

    From then on everyone was spotted through this tricky bit of off camber.
     

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  14. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    Walt's Place

    We arrived at the meadow at east end of Eliguk Lake at about 3:30 pm and Rob went for a swim. Here is where the Rainbow Lake road connects to Anahim Lake, which many take to avoid the Krestinuk Horse Trail we got through.
    We discussed whether to camp here or push forward to the Home Ranch.

    We continued on and stopped at the Lampard’s farm. Walt Lampard is a self-sufficient pioneer and his farm contains a fascinating collection of vehicles, machinery, tractors, farm equipment, mechanical parts collected by his family since the 1960’s. Tough life out here.
     

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  15. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    Home Ranch - not much left

    After a quick chat we bid farewell to Walt and we soon found ourselves in the golden-green pastures of the famous Home Ranch with the IIgachuz and Itcha Ranges in the background.

    We were saddened to see the remaining Home Ranch buildings were no longer standing and wondered about the aspirations and lives of the founders of this Ranch. Pictures #2 and #3 are the main ranch house in the mid 1980's and now - nothing left.
    In the 1900s, settlers first moved into the area from the Bella Coola Valley and began ranching. Rich Hobson and Pan Phillips are two of the area's early ranchers, who pioneered the Home Ranch. Rich Hobson documented their lives in his [FONT=&quot]books[/FONT][FONT=&quot] Grass Beyond the Mountains[/FONT], [FONT=&quot]Nothing too Good for a Cowboy[/FONT], and [FONT=&quot]The Rancher Takes a Wife[/FONT].

    The Home Ranch closed operations in the early 1970s. Today, Phillips' son, Robbie, and his wife Linda, operate a fish resort at nearby Tsetzi Lake, which we stayed at in 2010.

    Off to the south of the pasture we found a camp another small meadow across the creek and with clean fresh water. I set up the BJ74 bush shower -- and Dan, Garry and I enjoyed the hot shower, which allowed us to feel clean again

    - hot shower in the bush - priceless!
     

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  16. Glenn-BJ74

    Glenn-BJ74

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    Few more

    Dan's sticky 12v-24v starting relay acting up again. Duh how do you jump an HDJ81 with 24v or two 12Vs? Bang it with a hammer- she will work - it did.

    Yeah - everthing works on the driveway at home -out here well a definite 'maybe'.
     

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  17. Enigma

    Enigma

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    You can jump with 12v, just takes longer. Do not hook the jumpers up to the starting battery though.
     
  18. Dangil

    Dangil

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    Great write up Glenn, didn't realize how much drama I brought to the trip till now ;)
     
  19. phoenix60

    phoenix60

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    Great write up Glenn
     
  20. phoenix60

    phoenix60

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    Can't wait to read about the rest of the journey!
     
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