Boundary Bay
Buddhist Temple
Cache Creek
Chase - Okanagan
Hope - Whistler
Hurley River
Kentucky Alleyne
Kookipi Creek
Kootenays
Lillooet-Seton
Lillooet-Harrison
Okanagan Lake
Princeton - Tulameen
Sunshine Coast
Terrace
Tulip Festival
Weaver - Chehalis
Hurley River / Scenic Drive
2003-September-01

Because of the wild fires a backcountry travel ban was in effect for almost two weeks.  Well, I had the perfect opportunity to do a driving trip from Lillooet to the old mining towns of Bralorne and Goldbridge.  We reached the banks of Carpenter Lake, this lake was formed when the Bridge River was dammed in 1948.  For a quick reminder click here
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We continue along the road which follows the shoreline of Carpenter Lake to Goldbridge.  Goldbridge now is almost a ghost town but in its busiest times it has a peak population of over 10,000 - larger than today's Lillooet, and comparable to Squamish of only a few years ago.
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Then we reached Bralorne.  We stopped for a quick visit to Bralorne Pioneer Museum.  Bralorne was once the richest gold mine in Canada's history and is one of the world's deepest delvings.  The town is an at elevation of 3400 ft (1000 msn) but some of the deepest parts of the mine go to over 1.5 km below sea level.
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And then, the now abandoned Pioneer Mine.  This mine was merged with Bralorne Mine and their tunnels integrated.  For a second I thought to do a casual hiking but then I remember that abandoned mines have hidden air shafts and old openings covered by the bush.  This place was torn down immediately following the mine's closing in 1971 (to keep the hippies from taking it over but somehow they managed to go to Vancouver)
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After you cross the mine, the road lead to nowhere, well no quite nowhere, but they do fade off into "goat tracks", one towards McGillivray Pass, the other towards the Hurley Main Road; you can still get through the latter but unless you vehicle have a decent clearance you are risking you muffler and an engine mount.
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One of the locals told me that discrepancies in the tunnel surveys had missed a cubic mile of mountains between Bralorne and Pioneer Mines. Now a company called "Bralorne Pioneer Gold Mines Ltd" is having fun.  The old guy told stories about the clumps of gold as big as a man's fist. 
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I did a further research, when the mining was shut down in 1971, it had produced an astounding 4.1 million ounces of gold (worth U$1.6 billion at today's gold prices).  Well, all the old guy's stories proved to be true :)

Besides the minor mining activity, now Bralorne has hung on in the form of a retirement and recreation town.  This place has a huge skiing potential, the place is really crowded in winter time.
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Then we continue our trip over the Hurley Pass, a summer only road, before we continue our way to the pastural farm lands of Pemberton we paid a quick visit to Downton Lake.  I took a break, two hours on a dusty road were waiting for me.
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