2018/08/16 (Sunday) Merritt to Link Lake via Whipsaw and Princeton

Sunday got off to a reasonably slow start. The rest of the crew was heading back to Victoria, which would be a reasonably short day. Despite that, I think they left before James and I did… likely related to my doing more “bush maintenance”. As I recall, it was hot (and I was still grumpy) when we had returned the evening before, and the river (and cider) had been calling more loudly than the little voice telling me I needed to pull the (spare) front tube out of the rear tire and put in the new one James had gotten me.

Once we got everything tidied away, the GPS says we went backwards into Merrit… it couldn’t have been for much more than the gas we should have gotten the night before. From there it was down Coldwater road until we picked up the KVR.

The first bridge we hit. I stopped to get water here. The first time I went through the whipsaw, water was a significant issue.
View from that same bridge.

We should have gotten off the KVR at the Brody Siding Road, but continued a few hundred yards before deciding we didn’t want to head backward to Brookmere. There was a path along the gas pipeline going the direction we wanted, so we went down that. A couple kilometers later we were stuck with a choice between a river crossing or a hill that was basically too steep for loaded DRZs (loose river rock and gravel surface). Looking at the satellite image, the gasline went up the hill, and that route would have worked well if we could have taken it… The river crossing wouldn’t have bought us much, but it at least should have let us out onto the highway. As it was we doubled back a bit and found a gate through the elk fence. From there we ran down the Coquihala until Coldwater Provincial Park … which was basically a navigation error. We were looking for the summit rest stop… but we were able to bushwhack our way south to the right place (base of Tulameen FSR. Most of it was down the gas pipeline trail/track. OSM showed most of it, near the summit it is shown as snowmobile trails.

Random crossing in said bushwhacking. Normally this would have been on the GoPro, but…

I can’t remember the distances, but I looked up the times for Chris C. From the Summit parking lot to the Lodestone Lake Rec site (north end of Whipsaw from my point of view) was 70 minutes… at a reasonably quick pace on wide FSRs.

I only took two pics through the whipsaw. I do still have lots of unedited footage from a previous ride (with James) through here.

I have no idea if these trucks went up the sides or the middle. But it was a neat image.
And the famous cabin, which to me is “the” whipsaw shot. A funny angle here, as there was a 4×4 that was either packing from camping, or cleaning someone else’s mess on the left.

Whipsaw was apparently 2 hours and 20 minutes from Lodestone to the highway into Princeton. There are parts on the ends that are “still there”, but which have new mainlines parallel to them.

There are also some sections with switchbacks on them, most of these have tracks cutting across them, making for a harder steeper line. I took a few of these before realizing that I was cutting across the main track with speed on… and it was steep enough you needed that speed.

From there it was 10km or so into Princeton for gas, groceries and booze. I think I spent a good few minutes on the phone here. I can’t remember when our rendezvous with Rob in Vernon got setup, but it was almost certainly on this day (for the next day). There wasn’t a whole lot of day left, so we basically looked for a rec site in the right direction. I found Link Lake, and it showed the KVR running nearby, which suggested that if the rec site didn’t work out, we could probably find our own site.

As it turned out, we shared a site that had already been paid for (and firewood purchased), with this great fellow.

(Next few pics are actually from the next morning, but fit well here.)

Mike from greater vancouver (poco or port moody?) and his big bike.
campsite with mandatory clothes line.
Sunrise over the lake.