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Thread: Kootenays 2017

  1. #1
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    Default Kootenays 2017

    Kootenay Vacation 2017
    So finally this year, I decided to pull the trigger and attempt our first small overlanding adventure.
    My wife and I have done some small camping trips in the past but only for 4 nights and most of that was spent in a Provincial Park. I don’t think that counts.
    My plan was to connect several areas in the Kootenays with stopovers in several rec-site campgrounds and if needed, stops wherever we could set our tent up.
    I have spent a lot of time getting my ’10 JKUR setup for trail riding. Not a hardcore “wheeler” I just like to explore and see what’s down that trail…
    It has a 3.5 AEV lift, 35’s, 4.88 gears, gussets on front axle w/sleeves, AEV rear bumper/tire carrier and the AEV fuel caddy and a myriad of other add-ons. Things like a winch, recovery gear, Optima battery, hi-lift, air compressor etc.
    I chose a route starting in Kimberley which would take us over the Gray Creek pass, then north of Willowpoint on the 6 Mile Rd, onto the Lemon Cr FSR to a back country sled cabin called Crusader Cabin.
    From there we would follow the same road over and then down to Slocan.
    Then onto the Little Slocan Rd N to the Koch Creek FSR and then over the hydro road to Taite Creek rec-site on Arrow Lake.
    The next leg was a big unknown because I could find very little out about this route. We would drive north to Burton and take the Caribou Creek Rd East towards Tillicum Mountain and then up and over Hailstorm Ridge and onto the Wragge Beach rec-site.
    Being a huge Top Gear fan and being so close, Reco Mountain was next. Up the switchback from Cody, camp at the summit, some mine exploring and then off to Duncan Lake and our final leg, a quick jaunt up Mt. Lavina, to the lookout.
    This all sounded very doable. Few unknowns but nothing in life is guaranteed, so I was hopeful.
    In pictures and some words, our trip…
    Day 1
    It was a 14hr drive from Wainwright AB to Kimberley. Factor in rest stops, fuel and food, a lot longer.
    We got there around 8:30 and seriously thought about finding somewhere close to camp for the night but a local said we had more than enough time to make it. Off we went after fuel and water fill ups.
    Dust was unbelievable. Guess a lack of moisture will do that. Was like silt. Beautiful drive up. Saw a good sized black bear and few other travelers. Made it to the rec-site by 10ish.
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    Day 2
    Next morning, after a quick visit to the Gray Creek Store we popped over to Balfour, lunch at the Dock and Duck and onto Willowpoint. This is where 6 Mile Rd starts. The wife had asked if we could camp by lakes when possible so our first reroute was to either stay at Six Mile Lake or Sasquatch Lake rec-sites. Neither looked very inviting so we trudged on. Passed one vehicle during this run.
    I had researched Crusader Cabin, screen shots from Google Earth and of course, BRMB. I also have an InReach Explorer paired to a tablet with our entire route loaded, but do you think we could find that damn cabin? No! We searched for a good 2 hrs. Up and down trails. Some good, some overgrown. We finally called it and decided to head down Lemon Creek and find a site for the night. We then get hit with a thunderstorm and, heavy at times, rain. Then I blow a tire… Changed it fast and then, in a weak moment we agreed to get a hotel (New Denver) and then see about getting the tire fixed tomorrow. We were a little down at this point.
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    Day 3/4
    Next morning after a good sleep and shower, we had to hoof it to Nakusp TireCraft. Puncture was on the sidewall so our only recourse was to slap the largest “boot” on it and use it only as a spare from now on.
    That done we decided not to drive back to Slocan and do the hydro road. We had done this a few years back and figured we could head to Taite Creek rec-site and relax by the lake.
    Taite Creek is gorgeous. 5 sites. All along the lake. Quiet and only 1 other couple there when we arrived. Lake was warm so it was decided to enjoy ourselves and stay an extra day.
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    Day 5
    Fully rested, we headed for Hailstorm.
    As mentioned, I could find out very little about this trail. I’m sure if I did find someone who knew they would of told me not to be stupid and don’t even think about it. Luckily, I didn’t. This was by far the most exciting thing I have done in my Jeep (apart from things I can’t share .
    I have no idea the trail name apart from it parallels Londonderry Creek. West side was not bad. Narrow mining road, no logging, few switchbacks and some very sphincter tightening drop offs. Top of the ridge is around 7300’ and you can drive along the ridge if you so dare (I did not). This is primarily a quad trail now. Views were spectacular.
    Coming down, was a nightmare. Loose rock, boulders, ruts, even narrower trail and switchbacks! Very tight switchbacks with loose, sharp rocks everywhere. 10 to 15 point turns. Upside, there was a mine here. Been closed for a bit. I did find a post about a motorcyclist going over in 2012 and it was still operational.
    When we finally got to the bottom of the ridge we found what most people would expect. The remnants of an avalanche. Yay!
    Trees and snow, swept across the only trail out of there. Frig’!
    We thought about building a bridge to the left with fallen trees but that was a bit sketchy. Thought about going back the way we came. Even sketchier. Finally decided to cut, dig and winch our way through. Broke out the chainsaw and started cutting back the trees. We then took the winch and pulled the heavier pieces back to the side. Finally, we dug. 4x4x8 feet of snow. We kept saying to each other that we bet no one else we know is shoveling snow today.
    After about a good 1.5hrs we were finally through. We were ecstatic. Never felt so much accomplishment before. Both my wife and I knew then that we loved this! My wife is amazing!!!
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    Days 6/7
    We made it eventually to Wragge Beach. Another amazing site but a lot busier. We were able to snag a beach site again and settled in. I decided that after Hailstorm, we had enough high adventure and I opted to stay at Wragge for our last few nights and go out for some sight seeing. Nakusp, Kaslo and Buchanan Lookout.
    We did have one more adventure. On the way back from Kaslo/Buchanan Lookout on 31A, we came across a motorcycle crash. One of the riders had lost it on some loose gravel they were repairing the road with. Luckily, he was ok but I had to pull him out of the ditch. Nice bunch of riders from Calgary.





    In the end we did not get through all of our routes but that was a conscious decision on our part. We did learn a lot about what we are doing right and even more about what we are doing wrong. We need a proper cooler/refrigerator, better air compressor, possibly a dual battery setup, a rack, stronger totes and not to pack so damn much. Pick up food as we go and laundry clothes when we can. Little things but we are going to keep at it.
    Thanks for reading. See you out there.

  2. #2
    OLC Member klahanie's Avatar
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    Awesome report Mr. Mango. Thank you for posting. I'd say you packed in a couple of trips into this adventure ! Great looking rig too, btw



    And, because you guys were so good about helping that biker out I'm not even gonna make a smart comment about that shovel, nope, not gonna mention it ...

  3. #3
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    Haha! Always someone with the eagle eye. Lesson in there about trusting fibreglass over wood.
    Thanks for the kindness.

  4. #4
    OLC Member JeepGSD's Avatar
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    Looks like an excellent adventure! Too bad you couldn't find that cabin and of course it poured that night

    Hope to see more soon!

  5. #5
    OLC Member rthomson's Avatar
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    I love the Kootenays! Wragge Beach is a very beautiful site, but as you said, a little busier than some others in the region. I suspect a lot of the youth from Nelson like to head up there.

  6. #6
    OLC Member djo.bike's Avatar
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    Amazing trip and report. Opening up roads is always a great feeling!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. #7
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    Cool,nice trip.

  8. #8
    OLC Member Lucky j's Avatar
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    Theses are very nice pics of a great country!

    And absolutlely great job with the rider!

    Thank you for sharing!

  9. #9
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    Thanks all, for the kind words. Glad you are enjoying the report. Wish I could do more of them ��.
    Retirement is still too far off.

  10. #10
    OLC Member wjustin's Avatar
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    Yet to check out the kootneys, soon! Nice pics

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