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Chilcotin Dreaming: Cariboo Ranchlands to BC's Wild Coastal Archipelago
by Scott Pick .  

For years I've dreamed of the big blank area on the map called the Chilcotin- the place where the icy splendor of the Coast Range yields to the aridity of the interior plateau; a forgotten land in modern day British Columbia, Canada. It's a land of superlatives; a place where back- roads run for hundreds of miles, adventurers find new opportunities for exploration and where wildlife still roams free. Most of all I wanted to experience the spirit of the Chilcotin and meet the hardy people that call this outback their home. I went there as a photographer, hoping to capture elusive moments of light and the landscapes that are the hallmark of this region.

I dreamed of experience the vast emptiness, the forced self-reliance, the contrasts of the landscape, the history. But most of all, I dreamed of capturing on film the magnificent place that I imagined the Chicotin to be; the dry interior, the magical rain coast, the soaring mountain peaks and the historic settlements. Armed with my camera gear, trusty 4x4, ocean kayak and two weeks worth of supplies I headed out into this remote land and into the unknown; a favorite place of mine.

Below: See Scott's rating of the top places for hiking
and kayaking in the area

The ingredients for great images were all there; the bone-dry eastern river canyons, the majesty of Chilko Lake, the long coastal fjords, the outposts of civilization from Hanceville to Klemtu; the sky-splitting peaks of the Coast Mountains. As the days rolled by, the knowledge that I was actually where I'd dreamed of being began to sink in. Despite the poor weather and the remoteness, I enjoyed the loneliness and the powerful feelings of isolation from the outside world. I was at peace, looking forward to forging deeper into the wild corners of the Chilcotin.

Discovery Coast by ferry
Where the Chilcotin Plateau proper ends, at the western edge of Tweedsmuir Park near the infamous 'hill,' the landscape suddenly changes from dry to wet, from brown to green, from flat to vertical. To really witness the startling contrasts that are inherent in this region, I took the new Discovery Coast Ferry out to the coast from Bella Coola to Bella Bella to kayak and to experience the outer coast, a place of long fjords, mist shrouded peaks and of islands clustered together as if defending against the ravages of the open ocean

Although the two geographic regions of the Chilcotin are very different in appearance, they both share the same wild character and are both a place where man simply exists, not dominates. Looking back, my memories of the Chilcotin are of the long back roads, the legacy of frontier lifestyles and communities, the wildlife and the spectacular peaks, lakes and fjords that define the Chilcotin. Experiencing the Chilcotin has instilled a deep desire to see and experience more of this enchanting land. Once you've been to the Chilcotin, it's wild character will beckon you back time and time again. These images are moments in time; never to be repeated, never to be forgotten and serve as a source of new 'Chilcotin Dreaming.

Wild Coast Adventures
For mountain grandeur, within 100 miles of Vancouver is as good as it gets. This area is more empty than the Himalayas, where trails have crisscrossed the mountain range for centuries. Here you'll discover truly untouched areas; many with less population than 100 years ago.

About Scott Pick: Scott Pick began his adventure travel career hiking in Vancouver's North Shore Mountains, namely Seymour, Grouse and Cypress. This apprenticeship sparked further challenges... branching out of what he calls "my adrenaline stage," with a combination of rock-climbing, windsurfing and mountain bike adventures. His next logical step was to explore the rugged BC-Alaska coast by sailboat, canoe and kayak.

We met Scott Pick during a enyoyable week at Shearwater Resort, near Bella Bella (Waglisla). Scott was there exploring and photographing the fjords and outer islands by kayak; we were there by invitation of BC Ferries' President and Shearwater's Widsten family. Our objective was to describe the Discovery Coast and the ferry cruise from Port Hardy. Scott Pick arrived by ferry from Bella Coola on the Chilcotin Coast. In his words, " This new Ferry service allows access to all of this wildlife and scenic wonder." Scott's item "Chilcotin Dreaming" first appeared in the Summer 1998 edition of Air Highways Magazine.

Scott Pick has a gallery of great photos taken during his trip through
Chilcotin Country and other locations in North America.
Scott Pick's Top scenic sites
1. Chilco Lake, the movie site.

2. Hilltop view, looking down into Bella Coola Valley.

3. Farwell Canyon; BC's best arid desert scenery. 4. Perkins Peak mining road overlooking Chilcotin Plateau and highest portions of the Coast Range.

5. Dean Channel. High, snowcapped peaks, whales, rain forest, turquoise waters, Mackenzie monument.

6. Seaforth Channel by Bella Bella. Views of islands, mountains, forests; a panorama of wilderness.

7. Hakaii Group , south of Bella Bella. Archipelago faces open ocean vibrancy of outer coast, high energy, teeming with marine life. Incredible sunsets.

8. Roscoe Inlet, Spiller Channel and Ellersley Lake; a maze of inlets north of Shearwater-Bella Bella 

mapAn extended sea voyage took Scott to Alaska and the Southern Yukon, stopping in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Juneau, Haines and Skagway. Scenic flights provide an eagle's eye view of the Stikine River and Le Comt Bay, southernmost tidewater glacier and most active on the Pacific Coast. While lesser known, it rivals Glacier Bay as a natural wonder. Scott's next marine adventure took 6 weeks ... sailing from the Oregon Coast, circumnavigating Vancouver Island.


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