Cathedral Park

Spring is always a time when one really wants to get out of the house and back into hiking but on the coast the weather does not always cooperate so doing a few trips into the interior where the weather is usually better, car camping and scouting out future trips is a good way to release that winter cooped up feeling.
I decided to bring Nick and we left saturday morning and headed for the Fraser Canyon and then along the Thompson River to Spences Bridge and from there headed toward Merritt.
Then headed south to get into the Prospect Creek country. We traveled up several logging roads going to their ends or as far as a car could get and found a camping spot for the night. In the morning the mosquitoes were ferocious so we decided to leave.
We went through Merritt and continued to Princeton. By the time we got to Princeton I already decided to go check out where the Tatoosh forest fire from the year before had burned some where between Manning Park and Cathedral Park. It may be a good place to pick Morel Mushrooms.
We headed east from Princeton toward Keremeos and just as we were entering it's out skirts took a right off the highway onto a paved road that started heading back the direction we had just come from along the highway. It slowly started heading away from the highway going south west and turned into a gravel road when it got by the Ashnola River. It followed the river a fair ways and then crossed it over a bridge and from there followed the river on it's west side heading mainly south. There were several small camping spots along the river that we passed as we continued toward Cathedral Park.
Eventually we came to a pull over and some park signs.

This part of the map is of the main trails and Core Area.

Odd looking branch from a tree by the pull over.

We continued down the road and just past kilometer 38 seen a trail on our left going toward the river.
We followed it to this walk way bridge going over the river.
This is the trail head of Wall Creek Trail, and is another section of the Centennial Trail.

We continued south on the Ashnola FSR to see if the fire came this far until we saw a branch going right up the mountain toward the west and took it. I think this is called Duruisseau (Easygoing) FSR.
As we climbed higher we could see some mountains to the east and south east in Cathedral Park.

Higher up the road was this section of the fire.
We went up to the top of the hill and had a look. There were spot fire burns in the distance and the road looked like it ended at about 10k. so we turned around and headed back down.

On our way back down there was a left fork in the road which would be about 5.5k. up the road from Ashnola Main. It went up the NW fork of Duruisseau Creek so we decided to check out this road.
When we got to the top of the hill there were some play full ground squirrel colonies.

Farther along the road Flat Top Mountain's eastern ridge can be seen toward the west.
The Centennial Trail is supposed to cross by it's south side coming from Manning Park.

This road was starting to get rough so we turned around and had this nice view looking easterly into Cathedral Park.
Red Mountain can be seen on the left side of the picture and Wall Creek Valley is in the center distance.

Once back down to the main road I turned right to continue south and in a short time it became to rough also so we got out and hiked further down it.
It turned into a rough 4X4 road and then it looked like it changed to a horse trail.
Since there was no where to drive ahead we turned around and headed back home.

This was a good car camping trip. We looked at some nice country with future possible hiking trips and maybe some Morel Mushroom picking later in the year.
The weather was great and it was wonderful to get away from the gloomy weather on the coast. When we got back to the Fraser Valley it was raining as usual.

About a month after the car camping trip I decided to do a bag night in the park so this is how it went.

The Plan:
Get right home from work, pack up and beat it as fast as possible to Cathedral Park friday night.
Hike the jeep road in the dark for sixteen kilometers, set up camp, catch a few z's, hike saturday all day, leave sunday morning down Lakeview Trail instead of the jeep road and make a small detour to hike up Scout Mountain.

The Gear:
Light clothes.
Can of spaghetti, for saturday breakfast, can of ravioli, for saturday night dinner, can of beans for that extra umph sunday morning.
Can opener and cup.
Hunting knife.
Two small light quilts, instead of sleeping bag. My sleeping bag is to balky for packing.
Summer tent, Walmart special.
Packsack and hiking poles.
Camera, binoculars, compass, pen'n'pencil, and paper.
Got everything together thursday night and left it on the living room floor.

The Trip:
Got home after work and threw everything into the car without packing anything. Stopped at the gas station to fillup and got a couple of subs and a pop to eat dinner on the run. On the highway by 4:30.
Got to the Lakeview parking lot just after 8:00.

Started getting ready and packing the packsack, and at the same time chatting with a fellow that was car camping sort of.

Jeff is from Hawaii and is exploring BC. He is a retired University of Hawaii professor and is really into natural foods and herbs. He said it is a Hawaiian custom to greet a new acquaintance with a gift. He didn't have a Lei so he gave me a small Bass he got from some where in the Okanogan and small wild dried bananas that he picked and dried in Hawaii.

I made it to the junction where the trail meets the jeep road. So up the jeep road I trudged and it became dark so on came the headlamp. Up and up the road I went past Noisy Creek, Sheep Camp, Halfway Creek and into the Core Area. All the while seeing signs that said no camping by the road.
There are old mile signs along the road and after I reached the eight mile sign I was really tired and was considering to ignore the signs and setup my tent just off the road until morning. Then I smelled smoke and after about ten minutes I was in the parking lot and seen buildings. I walked down to the boat dock and didn't want to bother the buildings on the left so headed to the right along the lake to find a camping spot. Nope, no camping allowed. Then read camping on other side of lake only. So I found a trail lined with white rocks going back to the buildings and headed that way around the lake.
Finally I made it and set up the tent and tried to sleep.

After a very fitful sleep I decided to get up. "Oh, by the way did I mention I forgot my watch." So not knowing what time it was and hoping I didn't sleep to long I got up and had my breakfast and took in the great view of Quiniscoe Mountain and Lake and Red Mountain and ridge.

I opened up the can of spaghetti and guess what? I also forgot to bring along a spoon and fork. I gulped down that with my hunting knife wearing some of it on my shirt and pants and then ate the Bass Jeff gave me with my fingers and was it ever good. He must of added some kind of Hawaiian flavor to it because it tasted different than any cooked Bass I ever ate before. Then I left to find a map or brochure that might help me decide where to hike.

While I was wondering around I met up with Chip, the Assitant Park Warden.

He had a strange accent and between chirps told me to follow a small trail to the Park Warden's cabin. He said the Warden was sleeping unusually long this season and he or she would not be there to greet me but there was information posted on signs in front of the cabin.

Thank goodness I brought a pen and paper along and wrote down my itinerary for the day.
Here's the big plan for the day's hike.
Go to Lake Of The Woods and stay left.
Then to Pyramid Lake staying left again.
Next up to Ladyslipper Lake and go left there.
Then Stone City.
Smokey The Bear.
Giant Cleft.
Backtrack to Smokey The Bear.
Stone City.
Then to the Devils Woodpile.
Stay left at the Glacier Lake Trail.
Next to Quiniscoe Mountain.
Onto the Rim Trail.
To Red Mountain.
Then stay right at all junctions back to Quiniscoe Lake where camp is.
So away I went along with big expectations.

Very soon came to Lake Of The Woods. Should be called Lake Of Many Views because there are different scenes of views from any given spot around the lake.

On the way to Pyramid Lake spotted this big bubble nest. One of the largest I ever saw.

Pyramid Mountain and Lake.

The Lakes from above.

Views well leaving Pyramid Lake.

Views on the way to Lady Slipper Lake.

It appears that the trees there don't need many needles and the flowers are very small.

Full pano views just before the lake.

Zoom of the Giant Cleft.
It is the perpendicular narrow notch in the center of the picture.

First glimpse of frozen Lady Slipper Lake.

Just as I got to Lady Slipper Lake the weather started to get nasty.
It started to rain, then lightning and thunder, which turned into a big hail storm with gusting winds.

Jordan who works at the lodge caught up to me. I tried to ask him directions for different places but as the storm came in he became a bit evasive and recommended heading back. I decided to keep going as long as I could.
Gosh, I still never knew what time it was and forgot to ask him if he knew.
Darn, water drops on the camera lens. Trail along the lake on right side of the below pano picture.

Pano of Lady Slipper Lake.

Shots above the trail on a small ridge.

It stopped hailing and some blue sky opened up so I kept going and came upon this beautiful little bay at the bottom of the ridge. Could this be the heel of the slipper?

Traversing around the ridge on the trail to the col between Stone City and Ovis Peak.

Started up toward Stone City.

The lightning and thunder started again with a tremendous on slot and ricocheted off the surrounding mountains for many kilometers around. Along with that the hail came on again with a vengence. Streaks in picture.

Starting to get into some of the weird boulders in Stone City.

Now the hail started to change to snow. I went up to the ridge and looked toward where I thought the Giant Cleft should be and all was clouded in so I decided to turn back. Good thing I started back then. The snow was coming down and covering everything fast. In just half an hour things were starting to become a white out and the trail was starting to get hard to follow.

Pictures in same places I was at not long before.

When I got back to Lady Slipper Lake there was about two inches of snow already. I started up the ridge and I heard a bunch of people yelling up past the bay on the wrong side of the lake. I could not see them because of the visibility. I yelled back in their direction and waited for a reply in case they were in trouble. It looked like they lost the trail and cut down from the ridge to soon from Stone City and hit the lake way off course. I yelled a few more times and no answer. I didn't know the area and thought maybe they came after me and were on a trail that goes around the lake.
I decided to take my time and leave a fresh track for them to follow. I dragged my feet and hiking poles in the snow and drew arrows with my poles in the right direction when I even had to look around for the trail so they would not follow the wrong track if they came back the same way.
If there was another way back I wanted to give them plenty of time to get to the lodge before me. I planned on asking the lodge people if all the guests where back yet and if not to inform them where I last heard the hikers.
I stopped at Lake Of The Woods and had a few smokes and finished off the tasty dried wild bananas Jeff gave me. I was just getting ready to continue when I seen them coming along the trail. They were from Vancouver and kept thanking me for leaving a trail to follow. They said it would have been hard to find the trail down off the ridge between Lady Slipper and Pyramid Lakes and very much appreciated the arrows I made for directions.
I asked them what they were hollering about back at Lady Slipper and they said they were just hooting and hollering because they were having fun butt sliding down the snow pack by Lady Slipper. They said they lost the trail coming down from Stone City and ended up way past the trail on the lake.
I let them go ahead of me and geez, forgot to ask them if they knew what time it was.

It was snowing hard but was still fairly warm and no wind to speak of so I planned on getting back to my tent, make a fire and eat ravioli and then later to go to the lodge and have a beer or two until bed time. That way I would find out the time for sure.
When I got back to Quiniscoe Lake and my camp I was shocked at how strong the wind was blowing. It was freezing cold there with the wind chill factor. When I got to the tent there was a pool of water forming in it and my sleeping gear was getting soaked. The wind was blowing so hard the snow was flying side ways.

Well, I was soaken wet, my sleeping gear was getting wet in my leaky tent. The branches I had found in the morning and piled up were totally wet, it must have rained here before it started to snow.

The only way to stay warm is to keep moving. So I decided to put my tail between my legs and beat a hasty retreat for home.

Down the jeep road I went. It seemed in know time I was at 6 mile and as soon as I got aways down the road there was no wind. Around the Core Area boundary I met, I think his name is Graham, in a 4X4 coming up which he had got stuck down the road and had to put chains on to get up from all the rain that fell. He worked at the lodge also. He said it was windy and blowing hard all the way from Penticton and he thought many trees would have fallen because they were bent right over. I asked him about the rates and when pickup times were to get taxied up and so on and again forgot to ask what time it was.

Got down to Noisy Creek and knew I didn't have far to go now.

I have seen this lichen, moss, fungi, or what ever it is called, many times but never seen it so brightly coloured so that it is almost glowing.

Reached the bridge over the Ashnola River.

It wasn't the best of trips, mostly my fault for not packing enough but it was supposed to be a nice weekend up there. It's a beautiful place and when the weather is right I will be going back again, maybe a three day weekend and hike in from the Ewart Creek Trail.