Today I drove a legendary road, before it was a trail built in 1858 during the Gold Rush and it was used to join Harrison with Douglas and Lillooet. For many kilometres Lillooet Lake was on my side.
I did a quick detour and I drove to Lizzie lake. This is the south-western entrance to Stein Valley. Today, the road has been permanently deactivated.
Going down I have a new view of Lillooet lake.
To build the trail 500 miners were enlisted in Victoria, they were hard workers doing an average of four to six miles daily. This is a rough unpaved road in winter, and some old burned wreckages are a reminder.
The road has a fork to Port Douglas but maybe for another day. In the 1850's, Port Douglas was a thriving town consisting of two or three stores, a church, several saloons and a court house.
Now only the Indian Reserve remains to mark the location of the old townsite. Many years ago, in this place, 23 camels were brought from Mongolia, someone called Frank Laumeister tough the camels would be the ideal beast of burden to carry freight up to the mines.
Lillooet Lake is the origin of Lillooet River which in turn gives origin to Harrison Lake.
The camels were a failure, they were not fitted for the rough and stony trails, and besides that, the horses and mules didn't like the poor camels. At the very smell of camels, the mules turn and bolt and the horses would wreck their wagons and buggies.
After I crossed Lillooet river I saw the old road leading to the now abandoned Fire Mountain Mine. That mine used to be a very promising one. The stamp mill and steam boiler were taken by oxen but the machinery used was not suitable to save the fine sample of gold on the surface.
Then I arrived to the head of Harrison Lake and to the remains of Tipella.
Tipella had a 3,000 population at the time the mine was in production. The old post office and wharf were torn down 50 years ago. I only saw one man and two dogs.
For the last part of the trip, I drove next to Harrison Lake on a sometimes 4x4
In the depth of Harrison Lake used to be large sturgeon, but still you can find seven species of salmon and trout. There is a documented case of a sturgeon loaded on a wagon at the dock, he was so large the tail dragged on the road over the end of the wagon, as they drove to a building to cut and pack it into barrels to be shipped to Vancouver for cold storage.
A very famous legend from this area is The Sasquatch, this is the Indian word for hairy giant. They are called people of the mountains, seven to eight feet tall, ape-like with shaggy hair covering most of their bodies. The First Nation People never no doubt of their existence. The remnants of this hairy race are said to hold a reunion every four years commencing on the first night of full moon in July. The meeting place is near the summit of Morris Mountain. For the locals this mountain is considered almost impassable. For four nights in succession, as the Sasquatch meet signal fires are kept burning. 1940 is the last year that fires were reported to be seen there.