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Overland Traverse of Rainbow Range
Timestamp Free: 2020.10.21 - 13:20:34
Ranges: North America Ranges / BC Interior Plateau / Chilcotin Plateau
Participants: Betsy Waddington, Robin Tivy, Gwen Flowers, Laurent Mingo
Difficulty: 2: Easy backpacking, some minor swamp navigating. Minimal bushwacking. Peak is easy walk.
From Heckman pass we went north to Tsitsutl Peak, then back to Crystal Lakes, over Boyd Pass and down to the Alexander Mackenzie Heritage trail. From there 2 days hike back out to the highway.
This trip report describes our traverse of the Rainbow Range and then our descent into the Bella Coola valley via the Alexander Mackenzie Heritage trail. The heritage trail is the route used by Alexander Mackenzie on his first crossing of North America, reaching the ocean on July 22, 1793. A more descriptive name for the trail is the "Nuxulk-Carrier Grease Trail". It was a trading route known to the natives at the time of Alexander Mackenzie. "Nuxulk" refers to the Nuxulk first nation in the Bella Coola Valley. "Carrier" refers to the Dakelh people who lived on the Fraser plateau northeast of the Rainbow range. "Grease" refers to Eulachon oil (oolichan oil) which was a butter like oil traded between these two peoples. The Eulachon oil came from a small fish called Eulachon which was in the ocean. The oil was traded to the Carrier people for furs, copper and Obsidian. The trip goes over or through 5 distinct passes.
In 2004, we set out to do the trip. The weekend of August 14-15, 2004 was hot. There were lots of reports from the big fire in Tweedsmuir park. From Vancouver we drove north in two identical white 1991 Subaru Loyale cars, one belonging to Laurent and Gwen, and one of my own. We stayed Sunday night in one of the small campgrounds on the Duffy Lake road, and the next day we left Laurent's car at the RCMP station in Clinton, and all four of us got into my car.
We had lunch and a swim at Lake La Hache campground, then proceeded to the Heckman Pass Trailhead. We arrived at dusk. We got some water from a nearby creek, had a dinner on the picnic table, and pitched our tents on some flat ground. It's not an official campground.
Day 1 - Trailhead to Macedo Lake (Tuesday August 17)
We got up, made a quick breakfast, and started...
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