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The Crew: Reimar (Andre's dad), his friends Thorsten & Heidi (brother & sister), John (our Kelowna companion from the Stein Valley adventure of '01), Alfred (aka "Alf" - a friend of John's), Cody (an acquaintance of ours from California), Andre & myself.

Where: You'd better have a look at the maps below!! Tsy'los Provincial Park is located southwest of William's Lake, off Hwy 20. From Hwy 20 you follow the wide, unpaved Nemiah Valley Road, eventually branching off onto the tiny, rough Elkin Creek FSR. The trail head itself is a good 12 hours, 2 tires and 1 muffler away from Vancouver.

Area Map
Trail Map
Day 1: North Vancouver to Tuzcha Lake

Six of the eight of us gathered at "Kroecher Headquarters" in North Van. at 7:00 am and departed in two vehicles - our Landcruiser and Cody's Pathfinder. We passed through Williams Lake at 2:00 PM, then got onto Hwy 20 travelling west to the general store at Hanceville (which basically is the general store) where we'd arranged to meet John and Alf at 3:00 PM.

Right on time, we assembled at the store, looked over maps and bought a few snacks before driving the 100 km's or so south to the trail head.

L-R: Thorsten, Alf, John, Reimar, Cody, Andre, Trudel, Heidi
We made good time driving the Nemiah Valley Road, and only had a little difficulty in finding the tiny Elkin Creek FSR (at right). We only had to travel about 30 km's along it, but sections of it were so rough that all we could do was crawl. As we were a convoy of three vehicles, we had to stop occasionally to make sure we were all still together.

At one point Andre and I, in the lead, had to backtrack about ten minutes as Cody's Pathfinder had a flat. Only minutes after we were all going again, a muffler hanger broke off our Landcruiser, making a horrendous sound. Andre and Alf crawled under the truck and managed to re-hang it with some rope we had along (left).
It's a group affair when the vehicles need repair! That's Cody, Heidi & John at right, Reimar at far left, Thorsten crouched next to him, Alf's legs sticking out from under the truck and head-less Andre at center.
As we made our way further in along the Elkin Creek Road, we gained stunning views of Lower Taseko Lake.
Lower Taseko Lake
End of the Road

The road curved southwest of Lower Taseko Lake, taking us past Lastman Lake to the south end of Tuzcha Lake where an even smaller access jeep-path took off at a 90 degree angle up into the woods. Here is a park boundary sign, and up the jeep path the trail head to the Yohetta Valley -our ending point.

There is a nice camping area at this junction down along the lake, and we made our camp here this first night - now that it was close to 7:00 PM.

Day 2: Tuzcha Lake to Camp 2

Morning on our first day of the hike arrived somewhat chilly, but under clear skies. Up by 5:50 am, I spent some time sitting on a small patch of beach below the tents, taking in the peace of the morning and watching the first rays of sunlight appear on the mountaintops.

Assorted morning camp activities at Tuzcha Lake
After camp was all packed up, Cody, Andre and I took the Pathfinder up to the Yohetta trail head where it stood waiting at the terminus of our loop. We packed ourselves into the remaining two vehicles, with most of the packs as well as Andre, Cody and myself into the back of John's pickup and drove to the trail head of the Tchaikazan Valley. The access road to the trail head travels up the valley a few kilometers, giving us a feel of the grandiose scenery we would be immersing ourselves in.
After parking the trucks, John realized he'd locked his keys in the pickup! No matter how he, or Alf, or Andre tried, they couldn't get into the vehicle, so he decided to leave it to the end of hike and worry about it then.
Locked out! Notice the rugged bare mountains right overhead against the clear blue sky - so picture- perfect.
At 11:45 we were finally making our first steps up the Tchaikazan Valley trail along the wide, braided river. The valley is very wide and quite flat side to side with little elevation gain / loss. Unlike many valley hikes, one is constantly rewarded with sweeping views of the valley itself and the tall, bare Chilcotin Mtn's that loom high above.
Standing in the hot mid-day sun - glacial waters below, snow-capped mountains above and a weeks worth of food and clothing on my back.
The narrow gravel trail winds through an open meadow
We followed the flat, well-defined trail through forests of pine interspersed with small clearings. It was mostly easy going, though the occasional section near tiny streams of water were churned into muddy swamps by pack horses. Eventually leaving the forest, the trail took us along the riverbed itself and in turn became much less clear.
We continually had to cross small puddles and arms of water left behind from when the river ran higher earlier in the season. Some of the research I'd done on this hike indicated that some of the travel would be along the riverbed itself, and I was glad I'd taken note and not planned the journey any earlier in the summer.
A viewpoint over the Tchaikazan River
Having kept a lookout on the riverbed for the trail leading back into the forest, we joined up with the trail once again and followed it through thicker forest, climbing gradually to the viewpoint over the river pictured above. Months ago during my Internet research I came across a photo of the river taken from this exact viewpoint - it was kind of exciting to see it with my own eyes now!
At 3:00 we came to an "official" campsite - a wide, flat and relatively open area along the river with a rustic table and pitt toilet built by pack horse guides.

Even though it was only mid-afternoon, this was too grand a spot to pass up.

Three tents tucked into the trees
L-R: Heidi, Alf, Thorsten, Reimar, Trudel, Cody, John
Looking northeast -down the valley- from where we'd come
Evening at Camp 2 - our Tchaikazan Valley Camp
A collage of camp life! Clockwise:

The rustic table and tarp skeleton (for rain), Andre and me, a birds-eye view of dinner preparations, and a photo of a rare and elusive kind of moose which was quite willing to be photographed.