Nestled in the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area, a mere 45 minutes from Hope, British Columbia, is an access point to the Old Coquihalla Road via the Britton Creek Rest Area. The air here at 1,244 metres (4,081 ft) is thinner, crisper and somehow cleaner – that phrase ‘clean mountain air’ has more than a ring of truth to it!
We had taken the opportunity meet the Untamed Feast wild mushroom pickers at a campsite a few miles on one of the old logging roads, alongside a mountain stream. They toured us about the area and identified various mushroom and tree fungus types on our hike – it seems easier just to buy the dried mushrooms from their website! As we peered into the depths of the campground’s creek from the bridge above, fat slow-moving bull trout could be seen lounging in the river’s bend. It was the work of mere moments, and the spin of a shiny lure, to land one of the river creatures. Always be sure to review the fishing regulations for your area when enjoying BC’s wilderness areas and before roasting any catches on the evening campfire!
We gathered stems of goldenrod from the creek bank and shucked garlic bulbs from Yellowpoint Blues, then heated river water to sterilize jars, creating beautiful pickled garlic as our campground activity. We call them “River Pickles”!
As the sun sparkled on the stream, we set up our Westfalia campervan in the campsite beside the river, and gazed around at the Cascade Mountains we had summited via the Coquihalla Highway; Beautiful British Columbia indeed.
NOTE: there are no facilities provided here so use ‘no trace’ camping techniques, but there is also no campground fee to pay!
For dinner, we used downed wood from the surrounding forest to build a campfire and then roasted potato bombs (potatoes hollowed out, their contents chopped up with shredded cheese, peppers and spices, then repacked and wrapped in tinfoil).
Star gazing at the night sky followed, wonderfully devoid of the light pollution of the Greater Vancouver area, yet subtly enhanced by a sliver of moon reflecting off the smooth black-glass of the water’s surface.
The next morning, we braved a quick swim in the VERY brisk water to freshen up and then headed south down the Coquihalla Highway for a short day hike at Falls Lake. The mountains slope steeply into the waters and the trailhead end of the lake is awash with silver deadfalls, leftovers from historic logging efforts.
Rather than returning out the main trail, we chose to follow the over-grown ATV trails and eventually returned to our vehicle down the firebreak, resplendent in wildflowers. A lovely weekend camp spot; wild country, only a short drive from Vancouver.
Camping in the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region
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