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Map of BC with area of detail highlighted in green box Area of Detail
You can see Lillooet at the bottom of the map at right, Pavillion a little further north, and the gravel mountain road connecting Pavillion with Kelly Lake.

The route we cycled follows the blue dotted line.

June 20

After an early morning departure from home we drove over the Duffy Lake Road to Lillooet, then over the mountain shortcut from Pavillion to Kelly Lake. At the campsite of the side of the lake we set up for the evening, and huddled around the fire to keep warm as a strong wind had brewed up.

Kelly Lake is really nothing more than a lake with about three houses at the southern end and a campsite (Downing Prov. Pk) at the northern end. The only paved road leads from Kelly Lake to the town of Clinton, 17 km's north. All other roads are gravel. "Kitty-corner" of the campsite is a great rustic B&B. At the B&B there is a junction where the gravel road takes you up to Jesmond, Big Bar, Gang Ranch and beyond into the heart of BC's Cowboy Country.

Warming up by the fire as a cold mountain wind blows over the lake
June 21

We got up around 6:30, ate breakfast and packed up, keen to begin the journey.

We saddled up the two-wheeled beast, climbed aboard and began the journey with a long uphill grunt on the gravel road leading to Jesmond. (If you want to skip to the super scenic shots, scroll down - they're toward the bottom)

This being about the fourth time in just a few years that we'd cycled over this very ground, the scenery and terrain felt very familiar.

At the top of the hill the road winds through the mountains taking us by scattered ranches, small ponds (beaver dammed) and numerous fields. A 7 km downhill stretch brought us into Jesmond -which consists of one house and a tiny one-room school (very "Little House on the Prairie"). We took a left on the junction which leads 25 km's downhill to the Fraser River. It is a rapid descent from the mountain geography into the dry, almost desert-like lands in the rainshadow of the Fraser.

Posing in the hot dry climate on the descent from the mountains to the Fraser River
What the ---- kind of a bike is that???!! Yes, it's a little.....different looking, I admit. But it's a tough little machine: nice stiff frame, very sturdy, lightweight, smooth ride (despite the small wheels) AND it folds down to fit inside a large suitcase! Perfect for travel. It's called  "Bike Friday", made by a company in Eugene, Oregon.
The Bicycle Ranch Racing downhill at top speed like a mad demon, Andre wheeled us through a tight S-turn where out of the corner of my eye I spotted a row of almost a dozed ancient bikes leaned up against a fence. I yelled for a stop and we had a closer look at the quaint setting someone had cultivated for themselves along the tiniest of creeks. Teapots stuffed with flowers sat on the fence posts while a bountiful flower garden bloomed in the yard.
After our brief stop at the 'bicycle ranch', we continued the lengthy descent. Finally the Fraser River came into view so we stopped at our usual small pull-out at a hairpin in the road to break for lunch - and a much-needed rest!!
I try to get a bit of rest on the sharp gravel after lunch. The long ride in the cool mountain air followed by a rapid, 25 km descent into the hot (30 deg plus), dry canyon left us in need of some recuperation!
Somehow we managed to motivate ourselves to load up the bike and tackle the long climb up to High Bar Road after the remaining quick descent to the Fraser. The sky was overcast, but it was incredibly hot. The kind of heat that is thick yet still dry and it becomes difficult to even lift your foot over the frame of the bike (and with this bike it's not like they've got far to lift!!)

We opted out of wearing our helmets - it's not like we were going at any high speeds any more and the likelyhood of coming across a vehicle was virtually zero

Andre poses on a stretch of long, straight road. Kinda' looks like a cross between Baja and BC...
The Search for a Camp It's always hard to find a place to camp along High Bar Road. Most of the land is Indian Reservation, but the only Native that lives down there is Rose Haller with a few ranch hands. In Aug. '02 we actually stayed the night at her place on the return from our Tsy'los Group Hike, but that's another story...

The past two times we'd camped on High Bar we had been assaulted by ferocious winds all night long (see High Bar 1999) as we'd camped on the flat highlands above the river. Andre remembered a small junction leading down to the river which we took and found ourselves on a spectacular beach. An ideal camp!!

A more secluded and picturesque spot would be hard to find
Indian Petroglyphs The sloped area above the beach was covered in a variety of smoothly polished rocks that almost looked like obsidian. Upon taking a closer look we could see many of the larger ones bore detailed Native carvings of serpents, fish, the sun and hunters - quite an exciting find! No doubt this is a sacred spot to them.
The Fraser Bath A large, but very shallow pool had been left behind when the river levels dropped, making a perfect spot for a lukewarm bath. The river itself would have sufficed, but the "private bath" had more appeal.
After the long days ride, the heat and wind along High Bar Road, it was a luxury to bathe off the sweat, grit and sunscreen and pull on some clean clothes. The only flaw was that we set up our tent a bit early; until sundown gusts of wind threw pail-fulls of sand through up the nylon tent walls and through the fine mesh, even though we had the fly sheet on. And we all know how cozy sand in a bed is!!
Andre relaxes on the beach looking down river to a narrow gorge where the Natives fish each season. High Bar Road snakes along the slopes from left to center of this photo (although the road is not visible here).
June 22

We awoke early to a cool, crisp morning and our morning bath felt quite chilly. The sun cracked the ridge at exactly 9am, and the instant the hot rays hit us we regretted not having pushed off on the bike for an early start. We quickly packed up and just before pushing off took a final plunge in the bath, not bothering to towel off.

As they say, the rest is history. We ascended the usual 12 or so switchbacks on one of the steepest roads we've ever come across. A tough two-hour push with increasingly more spectacular views of the valley with each meter in elevation gain. A quick bite to eat at the top, then a gradual uphill ride through a dense forest and a 15 minute downhill back to the car.

Back at Kelly Lake we popped the bags off the racks, folded the bike, loaded everything in and drove back via Lillooet, Duffy Lake, Whistler and stopped for a quick mid-night plunge in ??? Lake (the one on the side of the highway above Brittania - what's it called again?) before heading home.

Morning on the beach of the Fraser River
If you thought this scenery / trip was kinda cool, check out the High Bar '99 trip for another variety of scenic photos.