Since most are back or soon to be back from their latest forays, I have posted a start to the Mackenzie trip that has been talked about, without much detail provided to date Time slot: July 24th to August 8th, 2010 – for the diehards. Trailhead: Somewhere north of confluence of Blackwater and Fraser River (NW of Quesnel) Trail Length: Estimated 220 km. drivable (total trail is 420 km.) Trail End: Tweedsmuir Park boundary, west of Gotcho Lake, 70 km. N Anaheim Lake (Hwy 20) First Week: The Mackenzie trail should take about 1 week- possibly less. Second Week: The second week will be devoted for further exploration (based on local info we pick up), or possibly into Bella Coola Valley, Perkins Peak, Upper Tasko or other trails suggested by Ryan Gustafson we met in 2009 (Grizzly Alpine Ranch, Tatla Lake). This trip is the Second Annual Chilcotin Expedition into this vast and incredibly interesting area. Thanks to its remoteness, the Chilcotin is one of few unspoiled areas left in BC that fortunately few people know about and even fewer have explored. The trip of 2009 was one the best back roads trips I have ever done and I think most people that came on that trip were similarly impressed. I do not think the scenery on this trip will be up to what we saw in 2009, (unless we go into Coast Mountains on the return leg), but I am sure it will be full of great adventure, new places and frontier characters. Some History The Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail (or the Blackwater Trail) is 420 km. in length from the Fraser River east of Quesnel to Bella Coola. The trail has been used for centuries by First Nations, who transported Eulachon grease from the Pacific Ocean to the Interior. Sir Alexander Mackenzie made use of this historical trail in the late 1790’s, when he encounter obstacles on the Fraser River and decided to go overland on his quest to find the Pacific Ocean. Mackenzie was the first European to cross the northern part of North America, 12 years before Lewis and Clarke reached the mouth of the Columbia River in 1805. The ‘Route’ – not that clear (makes it interesting) From the eastern trailhead at the West River Road (Blackwater River), the Mackenzie trail passes by numerous lakes: Punchan Lake, Lower Blackwater Ecological Reserve, Kluskoil Lake ( Provincial Lake) Euchiniko Lake, Kluskus Lake, Tasacha Lake, Blue Lake, Tsetzi Lake, Cluchata Lake, Tsibekuz lake, Tsetzi Lake, Cluchata Lake, Tsibekuz Lake, Eliguk and finally Gotcho Lake. With all those lakes, the fishing must be great.This represents the end of the trail that can be used by motorized vehicle. The trail continues through Tweedsmuir Park which is very scenic, but only can be hiked. The eastern part of the trail follows sections of forest roads and as the trail heads west it turns into horse trails and wagon roads. I expect the ‘trail’ to be poorly marked and will test out navigation skills, if we wish to follow the original trail as best as we can make out. The original trail is intersected by other trails, which will present some challenges. Many of the most scenic portions of the trails are in Tweedsmuir Park, such as the Rainbow Mountains. Challenges The trials are not technically difficulty, with the exceptions of some off chamber bits and trail narrowing caused by ATV use. If it has been raining, expect mud and boggy sections which should provide some entertainment for those with all-terrains. I would recommend 33 MTs and a rear locker and winch, but stock trucks should be fine, given the capabilities of other trucks coming along. Similar to the Chilcotin trip in 2009, the logistical issues again will be food and fuel. I would guess a 600 km range should be good as it was last year. Using the ARB fridges as freezers will help with the food problem, but not with perishables. Fresh vegetables were a big treat toward the end of our last trip. We should be prepared for windfall on the trails, possibly lots of mud through low-lying areas, bugs, another rejection from the Overland Journal (LOL) and of course good times.