An Autumnal Loop

Story by Thierry Cellier// Photos by Thierry Cellier
April 26 2022

Squeezing in one more multi-day ride before the season ends.

With the fall sneaking up and a weather forecast promising sunny days, going on a long ride before hibernating for the season was tempting. Thus, in the last week of September, I loaded my V-Strom and headed north on B.C.’s Sea to Sky Highway, a road I’ve ridden countless times. The delight of twists and turns in breathtaking forest and mountain landscapes always make a perfect recipe for my riding enjoyment.

A few kilometres before the junction with Hwy 97, the road runs parallel with Pavillon Lake; the vegetation reflecting in the deep blue water creates a vibrant contrast of colours.

As I continued north, I couldn’t stop thinking that my initial plan for 2020 was to go east on a journey that I have had in mind for more than 10 years. A road trip across Canada, from Vancouver to St John’s, NL, and a return across the States back to Vancouver. Sadly, this trip is back on the wish list … until better days. However, I was more than happy to be on the road.

In late afternoon I reached Lac la Hache Provincial Park, where I pitched my tent at an agreeable campsite under a canopy of Douglas fir trees. The highway’s background noise was swiftly drowned out by the relaxing crackling of my campfire.

Great Bear Rainforest

The next morning, from Williams Lake, I went west by the Chilcotin Hwy up to the North Bentinck Arm, which is part of one of the largest inlets of the B.C. coast. This remote destination is also the gateway to the Great Bear Rainforest.

The first 300 km of the Chilcotin Hwy were tarmacked, the landscape alternates between lakes, twisted rivers with grassy islands, and forests interspersed by farmsteads and fields. There were very few vehicles on the road apart from logging trucks with heavy loads going east. Livestock and wild horses were moving freely and grazing on the side of the road in some places.

At Nimpo Lake I found a nice spot for a picnic. Basking in warm sunshine, I simply enjoyed the moment. After Anahim Lake, the blacktop was replaced by a 70 km gravel section. I love dirt roads; the only trouble is when I get blinded by the dust generated by bigger vehicles and have to hang back. The landscape changes as I reached the edge of the plateau, and the vista overlooking the mountain range was terrific, with a clear view of three local summits: The Horn, Talchako Mountain, and Glacier Mountain. This was undoubtedly the most spectacular part of the highway.

The Hill

Plunging down the valley, the road meandered through the forest. The Heckman Pass, which is locally called “The Hill,” is a 20 km descent with grades up to 15 per cent with some single lane sections. It has a reputation as one of B.C.’s most treacherous roads. It’s steep, but enjoyable with…


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