19-Oct-2002 -- We had originally scouted out this confluence when we were going after 54-121. Since 54-122 was between our place and 54-121, we took the back roads a couple of times to check out the access to 54-122. Unfortunately, both maps we had, which had been published by Northwood/Canfor, did not show any roads in the area of this confluence. Neither did the Forestry map. This meant that either the area was mostly bog and swamp, or more likely that the area had been logged a number of years ago, and had not seen any major logging operations over the past few years. However, the topographical map of the area did show some roads which appeared to be 2 - 3 miles from the confluence.
From Prince George we traveled East until we reached the Bowron River. Approximately a 30 minute drive on Highway 16. Just after crossing the River we made a right hand turn off of the Highway. This put us on the Beaver Bowron Forest Service Road. From there we headed North, following the Bowron River for about 1 km. After another 5 km we turned right off the Beaver-Bowron FSR onto an old forestry road which hadn’t seen any maintenance since the days of Disco.
Not far from the turn off we were forced to give the truck a bit of a wash as Neighborhood beavers had managed to put part of the road under water. After driving another few kilometers, we came upon a wash out. However it was only a few feet deep so we carefully made our way through it. We again drove for a couple of more kilometers, and again we came up to a wash out. Only this time it was a bridge about 20 feet long and the far end was sitting in the creek. Since the creek was about 4 feet deep we decided not to play Super Dave, and parked.
Seeing that we were in the middle of hunting season, we made sure we were decked out in the latest “I’m not a Moose” clothing. Even though, we were still a little apprehensive about the walk, as we knew there were hunters in the area. As it would turn out we would meet them on the road.
The GPS showed we were about 3 miles as the Crow flies from the Confluence. However we had no idea how far we could walk up the road. It turned out that the forestry road got us within a mile and a quarter from the confluence. Due to the meandering we had already walked around 3 miles to get to this point.
After walking up and down the road in order to find out where we should enter the bush, we picked a location just over a mile from the confluence, and entered the BUSH.
As we are now in the habit of doing when ever we walk in any bush, we marked our trail with bright orange survey tape. This makes the return trip faster and helps to ensure you travel in a straight line.
The hike through the bush was uneventful. Due to the lateness of the season most of the greenery had already died off and the leaves had fallen. The brush for the most part was not too thick and while there were the usual dead fall to contend, it didn’t cause too many problems, or fits of “expression.” None of this area has ever been logged, which meant is was not unusual to find trees over 3 feet in diameter. Something which is not very common in the Northern portion of BC, large trees and virgin forest.
After about 3/4 of a mile we descended a small hill, at the bottom of which was a large Beaver Dam. From the sound of running water we suspected that this had actually been a small creek at one time before Canada’s National Animal took over. We originally tried to go around the dam on the East side, however, we unfortunately found that the Beaver had actually made a series of dams which stretched past where we could see. We backtracked the way we had come and then tried the West side. This time we were not only successful, but we also discovered an old secondary logging road running West-East. Since most of this area has been logged 40-50 years ago, or hadn’t been logged at all, this road was in a sad state. Of course it didn’t help that the Beaver had put part of the road under a couple of feet of water.
We followed the road west for a few hundred feet until we came to 122 degrees. From that point we again entered the bush and started to make our way to the confluence. At this point we were about 1/3 of a mile away. However the brush in this area was very heavy and progress was slow. This area had been logged and had been certainly begun growing back. However the trees had not been spaced or thinned. It was not uncommon to be ten feet away from my wife and still not be able to see her. We used lots of survey tape but still found we lost the trail on our way back out.
Most of this section involved following Moose paths which meandered through the area. From the road to the confluence we hiked parallel to the small creek making its way from the beaver dam. Surrounding the creek on both sides was a small swamp, thus we weren’t able to come out of the bush and use the creek as a trail.
The confluence consisted of old and new forest. Elevation was 2326 feet. The surrounding area was quite flat (and boring as per my Wife’s quote).
Seeing as we had already marked the trail, the trip back should have been quite uneventful. However it has taken so long to get through the last portion, we now found that time was against us. It was now about 5:30pm and we only had about 1 hour of light left. We made our way back to the old road as fast as possible, and once we reached it we decided that it likely would take us to the road we had parked the truck on. After a short walk we came upon a fork in the road and decided to continue walking west as this appeared to be the main road. However it quickly turned into a gravel pit. We then walked back and tried the other fork, but after a short walk down, the road turned into bush. This meant we had spent nearly 1/2 hour of daylight and hadn’t got anywhere.
We quickly picked up the pace knowing darkness would be upon us very soon. We followed our trail of survey tape back up the small hill, however it wasn’t long before it was too dark to see any of the markers. Of course the GPS was having a difficult time getting a signal so I decided to use the compass instead.
The going was slow and painful, and it seemed we managed to find every dead fall tree in the area. However the night was clear and the Moon soon came out. I noted that as long as we kept the moon to our left we would continue to walk in the correct direction, which was south.
Being the Macho guy that I am, I decided to quit using the Compass and the Moon, and began taking the easiest trail through the bush. Not long after we started up a hill, which we hadn’t run across when we hiked into the confluence. I decided to follow a clear path up the hill which took us over the hill and part way down the other side. At this point we stopped and I tried to get a reading with the GPS, but to no avail. In fact I was unable to pick up one satellite. I then checked the compass and found, much to my dismay, that we were now traveling in a NW direction. More north then west. "The great bushman was starting to go in circles."
At this point we decided to stop and review our options. We had now been in the bush for a good hour. The time was 7:30pm and daylight was about 12 hours away. Our options were to stay put and wait, or continue hiking in the dark for a couple of more hours until we found the road. We decided a couple of more hours of hiking was better then staying in the bush for the night. And besides, the kids were expecting us home, about 2 hours ago. After digging out a lighter and matches and having a light snack we again headed south. This time I kept an eye on the compass to make sure we weren’t going in circles, and in fact were heading south.
After about 15 minutes I found a semi clear area amongst the trees and tried the GPS. This time I managed to get good reception. We were just over 1/2 mile from the road. At that rate we fully expected to be another 2 plus hours before we would be out of the bush. This time the GPS, for the most part, maintained a signal, and we used the backlight to make sure we were going in the right direction.
Not long after we came upon what must of been an old cat trail. While there were 10 to 20 foot high trees growing on it, the trail was flat and free of debris. This lasted for over 1/10 of a mile and went in a due south direction. After that we went through heavy brush and down a hill, at the bottom of which was a muddy area. However it wasn’t impassable and we made our way back up the other side of the small hill.
At this point the GPS showed we were around 1/3 of a mile from the point where we entered the bush. But then something happened. The great bushman showed he wasn’t a complete loser. Knowing that there had to be a road to the west of our route through the bush, I had been steering us in that direction, hoping we would come across the road above our original point of entry. We celebrated by sharing a juice box. While we still had a few miles of walking in the dark along the road. All we had to worry about now was a bear or moose making a surprise visit. Being the confident bushman that I am, I wasn’t afraid. Of course knowing I can run faster than my wife doesn’t hurt either.
We made it back to the truck about an hour later and began the journey home. However we did manage to have some excitement, as only a mile or so down the road a cow moose jumped out of the bush in front of the truck. I still don’t know who was more surprised, us or the moose. We followed her down the road for a couple hundred feet before she turned into the bush.