08-Sep-2001 -- Dave's narrative:
At the end of August, I was contacted by an editor from a local newspaper,
The Vancouver Sun,
in regards to information about the Degree Confluence Project. After a couple
of emails with the editor, a reporter from the Sun, Chris Nuttall-Smith,
Chris was interested in gathering information so he could do a story, and
wanted to meet and talk about the project, but he also was hoping to go on a
confluence hunt. In addition, I said that I would try and arrange for him to
be able to talk to another local confluence hunter, Tim Dinsdale.
The combination of our schedules and the weather led to the idea of the
three of us making an attempt at 50N 122W. None of us had met before, or
been to the confluence area, but
a few phone calls later, we had a plan to set off from Vancouver on Saturday
We left Vancouver about 8AM, drove through the Fraser Valley to Hope, then
drove up the Fraser Canyon to Boston Bar. In Boston Bar we turned west off
Highway 1 towards North Bend, crossed over the Fraser River, and headed
Nahatlatch Provincial Park. Once we reached Nahatlatch Park, we continued
along the Nahatlatch Forest Service Road, eventually reaching a bridge with
a locked gate at 48km.
The 50N 122W confluence is located in
Mehatl Creek Provincial Park, which is one of BC's newer parks. Information
from the parks service indicated that the park is "undeveloped, isolated, and
has no signposts or trail guides", and that the park, which comprises the
entire Mehatl Creek drainage, is "prime habitat for grizzly bears, black bears,
There is one trail in the park, which leads from the road next to the 48km
bridge to a series of waterfalls on Mehatl Creek. A few hundred feet before the
bridge is a large clearing beside the road, and from this clearing leads an
old logging road, which is also the start of the trail (waypoint MAIN ROAD).
Having a 4WD vehicle, we opted to drive this road. A ways down the old road,
we came to a spot where we had to stop, as there is a pond that has blocked the road
At 12:45PM we set out on foot on a trail that starts on the uphill side of the
road, just where it meets the pond. The trail skirts the pond, ends up back on
the old road, and after heading downhill a bit, turns back into a regular hiking
trail in the trees. After a pleasant hike, we reached the start of the falls
at 1:35PM (waypoint LOWERFALLS,
Picture #1). We continued up the trail a little ways,
reaching the upper falls (waypoint UPPERFALLS), which is the end of the trail.
From that point onwards, reaching the confluence requires bushwacking. We could
see from the topographic maps that the Mehatl Creek valley was fairly narrow and steep
in the area above the upper falls, so we headed off through the trees on a diagonal
path to gain some elevation as we went upstream. Once we felt we were high enough,
we continued up the valley, staying at roughly the same elevation. The hiking was
not difficult, but there were places where the underbrush was thicker, such as where
small streams came down the hillside, and we were hiking along a constant slope,
the angle of which varied from almost flat in places to quite steep in others.
At 3:05PM, at a rest stop, we knew that given the time of day and that we were still
6.5km away, we were not going to be able to make it to the confluence today. We
decided to hike for about another hour, in part in hopes of getting a good view
up the valley towards the confluence - maybe we could say we saw it, even if we
didn't get there! It turned out that we didn't get a clear view up the valley - not surprisingly,
views were limited by being in the trees, with occasional glimpses of parts of the valley.
Just after 4PM we decided to go no further (waypoint HEAD DOWN). We were on a slope
above Mehatl Creek, which is where
Picture #2 was taken.
It is looking west across the
creek valley, and you can see in the picture the smaller valley on the opposite hillside
created by the stream from the small lakes that can be seen on the map. We went downhill
to the creek, ending up at a pleasant flat open area just above the creek (waypoint
AT CREEK). On the other side of the creek the small stream from the small lakes enters
Mehatl Creek, which is where
Picture #3 and
Picture #4 were taken.
At about 4:30PM we headed back, initially staying down lower towards the creek than
on our way in, but eventually ending up back at the same elevation as our hike in, and
retracing our steps. Just before we reached the top of the upper falls, I took
Picture #5, at 6PM,
which is looking up the Nahatlatch River valley. We didn't stop much on the hike back,
and reached the car at 7:25PM.
We managed to drive back to Hope before the
Dairy Queen closed, for some
welcome food and refreshments. By the time we got back into Vancouver, it was approaching
Even though we didn't reach the confluence, it was nice to get out for a hike, especially
to an area that none of us had visited before. It is unknown whether it is possible to
reach the confluence as a day hike, even with starting earlier (e.g. by camping the
night before at Nahatlatch Park).
Map 1 shows the waypoints
and tracklog for our hike.
Map 2 shows the confluence
relative to where we reached. The AT CREEK waypoint, our
closest approach, is still 5.52km from the confluence, and we don't know how easy or
difficult the bushwacking would from there to the confluence.
Coordinator's Note: Chris ended up being assigned other projects, so the Sun
had another reporter do a story about the Project.