21st August. Drive to Salmon Arm... Cabin... Beer and food :-)
After leaving the BC Hydro campsite we continued on the amazingly scenic Highway 99 for a short distance before heading south towards Lytton on Highway 12 as we crossed the river in Lillooet. Once again we were driving down a vast valley fringed with high mountains but this time the valley was covered in golden rolling fields of grazing punctuated with the occasional bright green irrigated oblong or circle. The soils looked very light and erodible and the river had cut a deep gouge through the loess leaving pale cliffs with relatively flat areas either side. This road gets closed in winter because of landslides and avalanches and there was a team clearing a small rock fall from one particularly unstable portion.
At Lytton the Fraser river is joined by the Thomson river and there are a proliferation of white water rafting companies offering the thrill of a lifetime... We turned north on Highway 1 and after about 15 mins drive stopped at a small resort, at White Canyon, which also serves as the base for one company. We baulked at the prices especially as the water levels were low and consequently the rapids not as dangerous as we would have liked! Still, the coffee was good and before we left we admired the tepees, the frisbee course and the VW combi parked out front. Continuing on Highway 1, at what seemed like snails pace (60mph along long straight roads seems slow!), we eventually turned off to visit Ashcroft for a break and food supplies. It's main feature is the old fire station tower where they have a display of old photos. The local hotel has not been a lucky place! It seems to have burnt to the ground quite regularly and on one occasion the fire spread to the rest of the town destroying most of it!
We made it to Salmon Arm by 4 pm driving along the edge of what seemed like a larger than life version of the Lake District. We headed for a camp site and I found that a cabin with a firepit outside was a a very reasonable option. We headed back onto town to a pub where they served their own microbrewery beers and very good food :-)