Saturday, November 28, 2009

BC Winter Hunting & Lillooet

I was up at 3 am and on the road by 4. That's a very keen hunter. A&W is open 24 hours but don't serve breakfast till 6 am. A Papa Burger combo at 4 am with coffee is a little heavy on the stomach. The sea to sky highway to Whistler was at first fogged in the valleys. Then by Whistler it began to sleet. I took a right at Pemberton and headed up the Duffy Lake Road. It was just getting light. I was glad to use a recreational site outhouse. After that I tried out my new chains finding they fit just fine. But I didn't need them for the main road. It was slippery but with the Ford Ranger 4x4 did just fine. I saw the rump of one deer in my headlights. Don't even know if it was a buck.

I left the truck on the Duffy Lake Road and hiked up the Duffy Lake Forest Service Road. The wind was in my face and the snow had all but stopped. I stayed on the packed snowe of the road which had about an inch of fresh snow over a crust which when I went through my foot went down another foot. Off the road I was hip deep in snow and regretted I'd not brought my snow shoes. I'd passed a place where guys were going cross country and alpine skiing. Interestingly it had a whole lot of avalanche warning signs but didn't seem to deter to these young fit guys.
Quite aways along from that is where I went in and it was a slow slog up the hill. I heard one grouse fly up in the woods, saw lots of rabbit tracks, some deer tracks and a few ground squirrels. I decided to turn around at 3 1/2 miles considering if I shot anything I'd have to haul it a very long ways as I'd gone beyond where I'd be able to get my truck in. Fallen trees were blocking the road from about 2 1/2 miles, not that I couldn't have cleared them with the chain saw I have along. Admittedly I was tired. Sore legs and feet. Great country. There should have been a deer or at least some partridge but I was really just happy for the hike.

As I began the descent, I heard a loud bumblebee engine. Ahead of me on the my now backtrail a young guy appeared on a snowmobile. The snowmobile was lightning blue, his snowmobile suit was psychedelic purple and he had huge yellow goggles. He was followed by a couple of other guys in similiar costumes. Dressed in camo against the green of alpine forest I watched this trio go by thinking that Elton John must have had a fling with Michael Jackson and this was the adult spawn on the way to do a concert for the Sasquatch at the top of the mountain somewhere near their mother ship. It was hallucinatory, watching them wave and pass by at high speed. They sure looked like they were having a party. Quiet returned and I hiked the 3 1/2 miles down, marching really. I tend to 'stalk' up and march down. Not so many stops and really glad to get back to truck. One to find it and two to see it's safe and three to get a drink of orange juice.

I saw another doe just before Seton Dam on the way to Lillooet. I got out and got here picture looking around for the buck I'd hoped was accompanying her. If there was one he stayed in hiding.

I stopped in Lillooet. The Mile O Motel here looked to inviting with Internet and Satellite TV in the centre of town. I had planned to have a nap and do the night hunt but slept too soundly to get up early enough to get out. Truth be told I was happy with just walking about this terrific little town and checking out the shops. Great shops. I love all the country merchandise that doesn't appear in city, rodeo books and a variety of chaps, smokers, hunting and fishing gear. It was fun to browse. I loved that the St. Andrew's United and St. Mary's Anglican shared a church. I bought take out Chinese at Sally's and it was terrific.

I really enjoyed the pleasant clean spacious rooms and pleasant decor at Mile O. $60 for the night and long hot showers. It's going to be hard to get up in the morning to get down to hunt the Nahatlatch River System. I'm hoping there will be less snow there. Despite having chains, 4x4 and a back up winch as well as come along I've not enjoyed driving up the mountains on the icy roads. Lots of rocks and debris so I have to pay full attention to driving and can't enjoy looking about for game. I'm hoping on the flatter Nahatlatch I'll find more of that and maybe surprise a partridge or two even if the deer aren't obliging with my desire to eat them. There's black bear around too. The mountains are beautiful this time of the year and hiking has been awesome.

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