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Day 5: Camp 3 (Spectrum Pass) to Camp 4 (Dorothy Lake)

With a long days hike ahead of us as we were wanting to reach Dorothy Lake by evening, we started out at 8:15, reaching the small pond at the crux of the pass just before 9:00. This scenic little spot made for a good excuse to rest, shed some clothing and stretch tight muscles.

Taking a break at the pond at the top of Spectrum Pass, the wedge-peak we'd climbed the previous day at top center - looking a lot closer than it is!
We began descending the pass across the open terrain following the creek and eventually criss-crossing it frequently as the hills closed in tighter and tighter at our sides.

As we dropped back into the bushy valley, we re-connected with the trail and around noon came to a major creek crossing. We assumed it to be the outflow of Dorothy Lake and settled in to a lengthy lunch next to the creek.

Upon leaving, however, the trail led us downstream - the opposite way we thought it should go. After lengthy discussion and consulting with maps and compass, we determined that in fact we were still quite some distance away and

Descending Spectrum Pass
that an entire valley still had to be descended, at the base of which we would have to curve around the mountains we now had at our right before crossing Dorothy Lake's outflow and finally reaching the lake.
Dorothy Lake
After a long, hot day we finally reached Dorothy Lake at 5:00. We estimated the distance from our camp this morning to have been about 25 km's - far for any day hike (note that the map {link below} is not to scale or drawn in completely accurately - it shows Day 3 as twice the distance of Day 5.). It was all downhill and we hiked at quite a fast pace. I must say that though we had five "seniors" in our group, they would put to shame most fit 30-year-olds. Tough as steel, every one of them.
Keeping the daily log up to date

We broke for camp at the first suitable spot, a large, flat area cleared out by a fire within the past 15 - 20 years. The camp itself looked a little, well, scarred, but the view of the lake was beautiful. Directly above us loomed Mt. Goddard, like a sentinel keeping watch.

The lake water was too much too resist and we all went in for quick swims at various times. Andre and John gathered a feast of Shaggy Mane mushrooms which we sauteed and quickly devoured.

Day 6: Camp 5 (Dorothy Lake) to Camp 6 (Yohetta Lake)

We rose to a pleasantly cool morning - what a difference elevation makes! Until the sun rose and promptly began baking us. It truly did feel as though we were in an oven. We quickly packed and as the group left Andre and I let the others go ahead while we went in for a quick dip in the lake. Leaving our hair dripping, we pulled on our clothes over our wet skin to keep us cooler just a little longer.

Mt. Goddard looms above our camp.
Hiking through one of the Yohetta Valley's many meadows. This is about an hour from Dorothy Lake and still Mt. Goddard watches over us.
Another sunny meadow rising above us to a jagged mountain ridge.
We stopped for a break at the eastern shore of Dorothy Lake. Yep, that's Mt. Goddard in the corner.
A Long, Hot Day

The day kept getting hotter and hotter and the trail was a gradual uphill ascent the entire way. Overall, we found this trail's scenery to pale in comparison with the Tchaikazan. Though passing through numerous small meadows (which are very picturesque as you can tell by the photos), the majority of the trail leads through a scruffy dense forest. Of course, if you hike up to the hills the views will be lovely, but we stayed with the path. One section played a bit of a mind game with us, ascending (gradually) for almost two hours through a dull brown forest with no defining features.

The small black flies and mosquitoes were something to contend with in the Yohetta. There had been virtually none in the Tchaikazan, but here they swarmed us relentlessly. Even I succumbed to lathering my skin in two varieties of lotion (one works better for flies, the other is better against mosquitoes. Combine the two and you're good to go!)

Early afternoon we arrived on the western shore of Yohetta Lake and kept our eyes out for good camping spots along the lake as we hiked. We checked out several locations, but none were that great until we came to a beautiful spot, flat and spacious by another outfitter's cabin.

Shortly before arriving at the cabin we were overwhelmed with a strong animal stench, but assumed it was just horse and cow manure. The cabin was empty, so spread out our tents - Andre and I chose a spot directly next to the lake - very nice indeed. We all went for a long swim in the lake, and busied ourselves with general camp duties.

John and Alf returned from a "water run" with the news that the stench we'd smelled earlier was from a dead horse lying just off the trail. If we'd been hiking in the other direction we would have seen it right away. There was concern that the carcass would attract wolves and bears and decided it would be a good idea to depart promptly the next morning.

Andre climbed the hill above our camp and took this photo. The small clearing at the bottom middle was our camp.
Dinner preparations, rest and reading time at the rustic picnic table. That little shed in behind is the outfitters cabin.
After dark the eight of us sat around a nice campfire, enjoying the peaceful night. Around 9pm I took my head lamp and ventured over to the outhouse, about 100 yards away. I stepped inside, closed and latched the door, took my head lamp off and hung it on a nail.

As I sat down I became aware of a scuffling sound coming from the floor in the corner. Having noticed rat droppings upon entering, I tapped my foot on the floor to scare it off. Instead, two looong pink arms with equally long pink perfect fingers shot out from between two 2 x 4's. Within a blink of an eye they retracted, shot out again, retracted and shot out a third time - each time the arms shot out it was as though they were lunging towards me.

All sanity left me and all I could think of was that some gruesome fairy-tale goblin had sprung to life. I suddenly became aware of a series of hideous, long, screeching screams of terror and fright - then realized they were coming from me!!

Andre pounded on the outhouse door as I fumbled with the latch, opened the door and collapsed into his arms. He was shaking with fright thinking there was a murderer lurking in there and it was a full minute before I was able to utter the word "rat". He carried me back to the fire, told the others, upon which Alf promptly disappeared. He reappeared in the shadows with a huge stick, then we heard a racket so lout it almost woke the dead horse as he pounded the outhouse structure inside and out to scare off the offending beast. John on the other hand seemed quite impressed by the rat's hands, saying, "Yes, those pack rats do indeed have very fine long fingers" - that's the surgeon for you!! Needless to say no one used that biffy the rest of our stay!

Day 7: Camp 6 (Yohetta Lake) to Camp 1 (Tuzcha Lake)

It was a slow, lazy morning as we slept in and went about breakfasting and packing quite leisurly. I went for a little swim just before we departed at 11:15. From this point, the valley opened up quite flat and side and the trail soon turned into a sketchy jeep road.

Reimar (left) and Andre (right) walking in the jeep tracks
The peaceful Yohetta Valley - so typical of Caribou / Chilcotin Country
As we took our lunch break, about an hour from the Pathfinder, the Native Park Ranger came by in his pick-up truck along the jeep path. We spoke with him at length, about the area, his culture, the wildlife, etc. He offered to take our packs back to Cody's truck and leave them there for us and all but the three Kroecher's obliged.
L-R: Reimar, Alf, Trudel, Heidi, Cody (seated), Andre, John (standing), Thorsten
So, another fine adventure came to an end. We retrieved the other two vehicles from the Tchaikazan trail head, then made one last nights camp together at Tuzcha Lake. John and Alf departed at 6:15 the following morning, the rest of us left around 9:00. After one more flat tire on Cody's vehicle which was replaced with the spare from our Landcruiser, the remaining group split in William's Lake. We bought another spare tire, while Reimar, Thorsten and Heidi took Cody's vehicle back to North Vancouver. Cody, Andre and I spent another 2 1/2 days driving home through a network of back roads past the Gang Ranch, Jesmond, along High Bar Road, the Fraser River, through Lilooet and over the Duffy Lake Road to Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish and finally home on our 10th day.