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Taylor Meadows & Cabin

July 17 - 19, 2007

Map: click image to enlarge
Some trips just aren't meant to be, and this was definitely one of them. (see Cinnabar Disaster Hike)

We had "booked" off 7 days, arranged for pet & plant care, and had ourselves all geared up for an "epic" 7-day hike in the South Chilcotins. Our original plan was to hike in via the Paradise Valley, day hike to Castle Pk, continue on to the upper Tyaughton Valley and on to Lizard Lakes, culminating with some spectacular day hiking along Warner Ridge & Trail Ridge.

We left on the 16th, arriving at the trailhead at 9:30 pm after a long drive from North Vancouver, not to mention the last arduous 10 km's or so of what's left of a road - we even had to drive over a couple downed trees. The forecast was not looking too great for the next week, but we were in the Sunny South Chilcotins - weren't we?? I was pretty concerned about the chances of us getting out if it were to rain as much as forecast - the "road" we came in on was a prime candidate for gumbo (= slide off road on narrow corner into ravine), that is if a portion of it didn't wash away first. Sure we had a Sat. phone with us, but if a situation can be avoided, then plan something else.

Well, this is really only the super-condensed version of the story (the full version involves battery-compatibility issues with our GPS, battery issues with the truck, and the dissapearance of the bottom half of my bikini), so I'll just leave it at that.

We opted for a slightly safer road-access hike, and one that would be easier to "bail" from if the weather turned ugly. The Taylor Creek route became our new destination - one that neither of us was too thrilled about but presented a greater margin of safety (remember - you're not getting the full story here so you'll just have to trust me on this).

Day 1: July 17
A fairly late start to the hike after some re-planning and a long drive down from the Paradise trailhead. Began hiking @ 11:45 along the old mine road.

Left: Crossing Taylor Creek on what's left of the footbridge. Will it survive another winter??

At about 2:30 we stopped for lunch. What had been a predomanantly blue sky as we'd started was becoming a dark black sky not just threatening, but guaranteeing rain. Better eat quick and get on with the hike!

Shortly after we'd begun hiking again the showers began. Neither of us was enjoying the "trail" very much (try like not at all) and were anxious to get to the Taylor Cabin we'd read about and seen photos of in Beautiful BC Magazine a few years ago. Just when I was becoming frustrated with my overweight pack (52 lbs) and the lack of general beauty surrounding me (I'm a resident of BC - I'm spoiled, okay?) there stood the magnificent Taylor Cabin just a hop and a plunge on the other side of the swollen creek:
The Taylor Cabin has seen better days...
Okay - so what happened here??!! The door was wide open, but not a soul in sight. A couple mattresses lay rusting to the side of the meadow (at the edge of the creek), various remnants of who-knows-what lay scattered about, and what a disaster of a mess greeted us inside! What a shame, as obviously it had been loved once...

We obviously weren't going to be enjoying any comforts here, so on we pressed in search of a spot to set up our base camp for the next few nights.

A short walk up from the cabin I spotted some dry flat ground under a dense mass of trees, along with a fire pit and some make-shift benches. I called Andre over and we quickly got the tent and tarp up just in time before a steady rain settled in for the evening.

Our camp area was fortunately completely sheltered from the rain thanks to the combination of our tarp with the dense clustering of trees.
Despite the almost non-stop rain and cold weather, we enjoyed our camp. The combination of tarp and dense tree cover gave us about 200 sq. feet of completely dry area to walk around in, stretch out and scatter our gear. No matter how hard the rain fell over the next 36 hours, our dry area was never once compromised.
Day 2: July 18
More rain, and the cloud line was L-O-W.

We'd planned on a day hike up to Camel Pass, then along the ridges. Our wonderful Trail Ventures map has a most alluring photo of a guy mtn. biking in the upper Taylor Basin in mid-summer, and we so wanted to experience that photo. But again, it was not meant to be.

This year was a particualrily heavy snow-pack year here in BC. Back at the end of May we were forced to turn back from km 28 on the Hurly FSR as the snow was still too deep. And up here it seemed more like the beginning of June rather than mid-July.

The Taylor Cabin from our camp
Just before noon we decided to give our day hike a go. The weather wasn't improving, the cloud line was still low, but we were getting anxious to do some exploring.

First we checked out the old mine site (not too much exciting left there except for an old ore cart I neglected to get a photo of in my state of non-excitement).

A little further up near the pass we just about stumbled over this....

Alpine Water Spigot, US Patent #5,944,505
From the pass we were granted with a stunning view north-west. We recognized much of this view from our ill-fated hike up on the high ridges above Cinnabar Creek last July (unlike this year, we had amazing weather, but I ended up in the Lilooet Hospital due to some serious head infections on day 2. For some great scenery photos of the area, a link can be found from the main menu).
View NW from Camel Pass
Not long after this photo was taken a heavy rain and wind began pelting down on us. In full GoreTex suits we tramped on, heading toward the ridges above Cinnabar hoping to get a glimpse to the basin where we'd briefly camped last year. Jus after we passed the junction with a spur off the High Trail on the Cinnabar Ridge, a dense fog rolled in leaving us with a maximum visibility of no more than 20 feet. We had managed a quick glimse into the Cinnabar Basin and were shocked to see it covered under a heavy layer of snow. The creek that had run so clear and refreshed us so nicely exactly a year ago, along with the lush meadows, still lay under a thick covering of snow.

The rain had stopped in the meantime, so we sat down and ate a late lunch, staring into the fog. Dissapointed, we hiked the ridges back to Camel Pass and down into the Taylor Basin.

Taylor Meadows & Waterfall (center in the trees)
Back at our dry camp we hung up our sopping GoreTex layers from a tree, pulled on some comfy dry, warm clothing and prepared dinner. I was glad I'd brought a book with me, though I was coming close to finishing it. I'd never actually read an entire book, start to finish, in 24 hrs on a hike before. Guess we've always been relatively lucky with the weather (and believe me, we used to be plauged with rain on our trips in the 'early days')
Sitting on our "front porch" finishing my book
Day 3: July 19
Heavy gusts of wind woke us several times in the night, then a steady shower settled in at around 6:30am.

But, as we peeked out of the tent around 8:00, mixed skies greeted us. Blue sky and bright sun hung above Eldorado Peak - our destination for the day, but dark clouds hung overhead and low clouds obscured all the other mountains. It was like some evil lure was trying to goad us up the peak, only to potentially hammer us down at the top.

We knew, however, it was just a "sucker hole". Andre's altimeter hadn't changed one bit, showing that the barometric pressure hadn't changed and that we were in for more of the same weather. We decided to pack up & hike back down, perhaps to drive to a drier, sunnier location and embark on some other adventure.

A momentary"Sucker Hole" of blue sky above Taylor Cabin and Eldorado