Duffy Lake Loop

Last weekend, despite the rain on Friday and about the same forecast for the next two days, we decided to go to Duffy Lake Loop, about a 600km (372 miles) long trip. The loop got its name after the Duffy Lake, near the road from Pemberton to Lollooet. On a map, it looks like this:

So, on Friday after work, we went toward Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. The plan was to spend the night in Pemberton in a nice little hotel and in the morning continue toward Lolloet. There is a nice pub with a good food in Pemberton, so it was another reason to stay there πŸ˜€ The rain was pouring and mountains were covered in clouds but we didn’t care: after good dinner we sat in a hot tub for a while then went to sleep. The long day was in front of us.

Morning was a bit better, parts of blue skies could be seen here and there; roads were almost empty so driving was pleasant, giving us opportunity to stop wherever we want, to take photographs or just to enjoy the nature. First stop was on Joffre lakes.
Joffre Lakes - Lower Lake2
Joffre Lakes, lower lake still under ice; about a meter (3 feet) of snow everywhere around

Now, if you remember my previous post about Joffre lakes, you can understand why I was quite happy about the weather, glacier and lake would probably look magnificent at this time of year. But it was quiet and calm; avalanche warning at the beginning of the trail so we didn’t want to risk and go further, there was no time for that kind of adventure πŸ˜›

Next stop was at Duffy lake. Partially still under a thin layer of ice, it has seen at least one avalanche in last few months. I am sorry I couldn’t make a photograph of a big pile of snow right beside the road, it was not safe to stop there. Instead, another calm and quiet photograph πŸ˜€
Logs on Duffy Lake
logs in Duffy Lake

We’ve seen quite a few animals; a black bear (officially the first our sighting of a bear in 2014)
Black Bear 2014
black bear and yes, this is a beer can 😑
a snowshoe rabbit that already started to change its fur,
Snowshoe rabbit
few ospreys and bald eagles. We stopped few more times before Lillooet because landscape was beautiful.
Mountain along Sea - to - Sky Highway1

Just before Lilooet another big lake: Seton lake with nice viewpoint and temperatures of almost 20C. We were approaching one of the warmest regions in Canada (along with Lytton and Osoyoos) and landscape changed rapidly.
Seton Lake - Lillooet
Seton Lake

From that point the road is following Fraser river, probably one of the most important rivers in British Columbia. A lot of mule deer were carelessly grazing near the road, even though grass looked dry and it seemed there was not much to eat around.
Mule Deer - Lillooet area2
mule deer, one of 5 that we’ve seen on that spot

We’ve made a short stop in Lytton and continued toward the place I was very interested about: Hell’s Gate.
Hells Gate1
Hell’s Gate, as seen from the air tram
Hell’s Gate is part of Fraser river canyon and, as with a lot of other parts in BC and Canada, it has it’s history connected with a history of development of Pacific Railway and Canadian west. In 1913. while blasting its way through the canyon with dynamite, Canadian National Railway workers caused a big rock slide to a narrow part of the canyon. At the beginning, it didn’t look like a big damage but later it became more obvious. Fraser river was and still is one of the important routes for Pacific salmon to reach Thompson river and spawn. The problem was because the river, suddenly going through pretty narrow canyon, was too fast for salmon to pass so in next year a significant drop in salmon occurred. That created a tension between Canadian government and Aboriginal tribes. At the beginning, they’ve tried to use some kind of nets to catch salmon and move it more upstream; but salmon is having the urge to fight rivers upstream in its genes, so help was not really a help; some of them would end up “confused” and just return the same way downstream. Both Canadian and US governments created Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission (IPSFC) (now the Pacific Salmon Commission). After intensive research, they recommended that fishways should be made, concrete tunnels that will slow the river a bit thus helping salmon to pass further up the river where stream was not as strong. Building of fishways started in 1944 and now there are three of them with plans to make one more.
Hells Gate2
fishways on Hell’s Gate

Video of Hell’s Gate and Fraser river.

After that, we continued toward Hope and then back to Vancouver. It was a long drive but satisfying in so may ways. Summer is coming and we hope to go to camping and hiking soon. New posts are coming πŸ˜€

Pine Siskins
pine siskins on a feeder

Some more photographs here.

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30 Responses to Duffy Lake Loop

  1. A nice post, Dare … making me envious; I’ve been pretty well imprisoned here this year, and the wife has had health problems, to make it worse. I loved the shot of the bear; he’s a beautiful colour! The mist over Joffre Lake is a fantastic shot, and the mountain emerging from the clouds is mythic. And the last shot is a nice closer.

    • gdare says:

      dW, thanks! It was really great to see Joffre lakes again, even though the weather was rainy. But as you’ve said it has its charm. Pine siskins were timid and let me come close enough for a decent shot. Unlike the hummingbird who disappeared the moment I made a first photo πŸ˜€

  2. Jill says:

    Such beautiful photos! Stunning. The mule deer is so cute, as is the snowshoe rabbit. But, that bear is looking too close for comfort!

    • gdare says:

      Jill, thanks! We were in a car when we spotted a bear. And we stayed a in car. In every other situation, bear would probably react with growling and being that close maybe it would charge us. You never know because they are unpredictable, no matter how much they are used to seeing people. But for some reason they are tolerant to cars πŸ™‚

      • Jill says:

        Cars, good. πŸ™‚ I was jogging as a young adult looking down at the road with headphones on and turned a corner to find (thankfully, I looked up!) a bear on hind legs lookin’ right at me. I lived to tell. Perhaps the good Lord allowed blindness to come over the bear or the feeling of a full stomach. I froze, slowly took steps backwards and then turned and bolted to the highway. A car would have been handy πŸ˜€

        • gdare says:

          Yes, you were lucky. Probability is that it was startled as much as you were. Never walk (or run) with headphones in a bear neighbourhood πŸ˜€

          • Jill says:

            I did not know. I thought on a dirt road amid cabins it would be fine. There was a gravel pit where bears were seen; even in our friends’ yard at the bird feeder. Thankfully, I got out to the highway and crossed to be barked at by a farmer’s dog. Farmer so and so came out and walked me beyond the gravel pit as he mentioned a mama bear had had cubs… He was concerned I get to the more civilized area. Nice man to help me out.

            Yes, I was indeed blessed to come home with a story to tell and unscathed.

  3. sprytely50 says:

    Great post and pictures… One of these e days I’ll get myself out of Ontario and have a better look at the rest of Canada.

    • gdare says:

      sprytely50, I am in BC for less than 3 years but was lucky to see a lot – still a lot to see, though. I’ve been in Banff in Alberta, Yoho and Glacier National Parks and many other places, mostly on south of BC. There are so many places yet to see in BC only, not to mention rest of Canada. I would like to go to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland one day, too.

  4. Dare, are your folk in Serbia all OK?

  5. volkuro says:

    Wow! it looks like a very nice adventure. The Rockies are such a nice playground.

    I was watching the news about the floods and I thought about your relatives too. Glad they are all ok. πŸ™‚

    • gdare says:

      Louis, actually, these mountains are more to the west from the Rockies, I think they belong to the Coast Mountains. But when I look at the map, it seems to be a part of the same range πŸ˜€

      Thanks, my family is ok.

  6. the Hell’s gate the photo reflect precisely this name , but i think it is a kind of cold hell .
    All respect to salmon which refused to give up its own reproduction ceremony and forced governments to Find Solution

    • gdare says:

      Rania, it is cold and windy. And loud πŸ˜€

      As for salmon, it goes after its instinct, they can’t do much about it πŸ™‚

      • i understand that gdare , but sometimes some animals adapt to the new circumstances , it seems that the salmon refused this kind of adaptation

        • Let’s look at the subject from a comic viewpoint ,imagine if that salmon held a meeting in that frightening valley and decided not to accept the new circumstance ,and end they get what they want .
          i’m influenced by sci-fi and cartoon films ,I KNOW THAT

        • gdare says:

          Who knows, maybe they had that meeting, after all πŸ˜€

  7. Furie says:

    I know bears like picnic baskets, but I didn’t think they were big drinkers of beer. Maybe one is named after the other…

  8. Words says:

    Those are fabulous landscapes. Seton Lake looks perfect. I can see why you like it there so much. And great wildlife. I can’t imagine that kind of encounter with a bear, and the confidence to know you’ll see more (first of 2014). πŸ˜€

    • gdare says:

      Last year we’ve seen three black bears and 6 grizzlies (2 brothers in Banff and mom with 3 cubs in Kootenay), from the car, of course. Plus one black bear in front of us on a Rainbow lake trail. Who knows, maybe we will see more and maybe that was it for the year. You never know, my first summer in BC we’ve seen 3 black bears. But I hope we will see more and from a safe distance πŸ˜‰

  9. kimmzifoo says:

    Your blog always fills me with awe and envy. And I almost always learn something new.

  10. d4rkn1ght says:

    Awesome pictures! 😎 I will love to visit Canada some day! πŸ™‚

    • gdare says:

      Then you should prepare yourself to stay for a long time πŸ˜€ So many things to see.

      Sometimes I have a “problem” to explain to my friends from Serbia how big this country is. One of them once said that he has some relatives in Manitoba and that it looks like it is not too far away from Vancouver. And yes it is only few hours away – by airplane πŸ˜›

  11. pam says:

    Great post and photos Darko! You and San sure have seen a lot! I really enjoyed the information about the fisheries.

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