10-Sep-2001 -- We had planned this confluence visit for several weeks before the opportunity presented itself by a camping trip to the Okanagan.
I had carefully plotted all the southern BC confluences in my BC Backroads books. These publications are extremely detailed and very current. The problem is that they do not include any geographic coordinate information, so using Garmin's Mapsource enhanced base map for Canada to graphically triangulate to common landmarks near by, I was able to plot positions and derive probability of success for most of the possible confluences. (picture 2)
N50 W119 appeared to fall very close to some logging roads. Many of roads terminated near the confluence and surrounded the point. This indicated that the roads were probably near the summit, relatively new and in terrain that should be accessible in terms of grade. Armed with the tools of the trade, we were off.
Taking the 3-Forks FSR north from Hwy 33, we planned to take a spur logging road that was supposed to pass just south of the confluence. When we reached the fork, the road was deactivated. Facing a 25 Km drive up a very rough, unmaintained road, we had to find an other route. the Backroads book showed a spur to the north of the confluence but it did not show it going east or past the point. But that road showed signs of recent active hauling, so up we went.
When we got within a few Km of the point, the road was very new. Signs posted indicated the area was logged in 2000. This was excellent news, except the logged blocks only covered about half the visible area around. There was a few hundred metres of clear cut, then a equal area of jungle, forming a checkerboard. With a 50% chance of being in the clear or landing in impenetrable bush, we homed in on the point.
The road passed 700m north of the confluence at it's closest point, but it was right in the middle of uncut old forest. Driving on, we reached a clear cut about 2km NE of the confluence (picture 3). We decided that this was our best point of entry. Off we went following the course through the clear cut to what appeared to be a point in the clearing down the bank about 2K. What a stroke of luck, or so we thought. About 500m in, we reached a narrow band of uncut trees. Just inside, we stopped at the edge of a 50m high gorge, about 100m across (picture 4). I could see clearing on the other side but there was no way to cross. We had no choice but to retreat to the truck and backtrack to the point that was in the old uncut section. I now knew that the cut area was indeed south of the tree line so we would only have to bush wack a few hundred metres.
Back at the truck I discovered the battery was dead (picture 5). Panicking, I knew I could bump start the truck as I was parked on a steep hill. But, did we go on for the confluence or abandon the effort and concentrate on getting off the mountain? We had come too far to give up now. We left the truck and walked to the closed point along the road. We headed straight south into the bush. This end up being about 500m of crawling over fallen trees, snags, swap and thick undergrowth. This is also Grizzly country and I preferred not to think of any inopportune meetings at this point.
Finally we emerged into the clearing and bolted to the confluence only 200m ahead (picture 6). After a few shots we headed back facing our new mechanical problem (picture 7). Key on, Cathy pushing, pop it into first we fired up first try and we were off, celebrating our fortune with a couple of cool Millers.