the Boyds' Northern Adventure

Trip Map

Barkerville to Cobble Hill

Scroll down to read our Journal from Barkerville to Cobble Hill.

For Barkerville to Hope photos, click here.











Thursday, August 19 -– Barkerville to Hope Before we left today, we couldn’t resist another visit to the Wake Up Jake Restaurant. And after that, the boys wanted to pan for gold. Each place that offers gold panning also has somebody there to show how it’s done. Each time they’ve learned a little more, adding on another technique, so by now the boys are reasonably proficient at it, to the point where they’re now asking whether we can stake a claim somewhere.

At Barkerville, they had an old sourdough demonstrating gold panning. In talking with him, he said he had a couple of his own claims. I asked him whether he made a living at it. Out here, he said, “Yes!”, but not if he had to live in the city. He pays $200 a year for his claim, built a cabin on it, and has pretty minimal needs. His biggest streak was 4-1/2 ounces over a couple of hours, but he said that’s only happened once. He’s also gone for a couple of months finding less than an ounce. He’s strictly a surface miner – shovel, sluicebox, and pan. As soon as you bring in equipment, you have to post a $150,000 bond that you won’t leave a mess of tailings that you leave behind when you mine.

Leaving Barkerville, we stopped at Cottonwood House for lunch. Cottonwood House is a BC Heritage Site, one of the original roadhouses on the Cariboo Waggon Trail. The trail got its start from Frank Barnard of Barnard Express, or the “B.X.” He walked the mail 750 miles round trip from Barkerville to Yale. When the wagon road was started in the 1860s, road houses were established every 20 miles or so, where miners and stagecoach travellers could rest and get a room and meal, and the horses were changed. One of the better known roadhouses, and the last one before Barkerville, was Cottonwood House. It was owned by the Boyd family, no relation as far as we know.

Our original destination for today was Lac La Hache, but as we had traveled this route before, and had already been to the stops along the way – Hat Creek Ranch, Hell’s Gate, Yale – we kept on going all the way to Hope. Of course, I had figured the distance in miles, thinking it was kilometers, so it turned out to be a much longer drive – 625 kilometres. Driving in the dark, pulling a trailer, arriving at 10:45pm, we were ready for bed.

Along the way, we were held up by a truck that had caught on fire. We had to take a detour along a road that led us to Chasm Provincial Park. Successive lava flows have formed layers of varying colours in the steep canyon walls, reminiscent of the Grand Canyon.

On our previous trips, we’ve always started and ended the trip with an overnight at Hope Valley Campground. By the time you drive to the ferry, get over to the mainland, and drive to Hope, you’ve been on the road for six hours. This campground has a swimming pool and a playground, so the boys have always enjoyed it. They particularly enjoy watching the trains go by on the adjacent tracks.

For Barkerville to Hope photos, click here.

Friday, August 20 -– Hope to Vancouver Throughout the trip we’ve been amazed how little traffic there’s been. We’d heard stories of every 2nd vehicle on the Alaska Highway being an RV. True or not, there were many times where we’d drive for hours, crossing paths with just a few vehicles. Arriving back in the Lower Mainland seemed to make up for the previous lack. We were a few kilometers north of the Port Mann Bridge when traffic stopped, and then stayed backed up all the way into Vancouver.

Once into Vancouver, we went to my Mom and Irv’s place and enjoyed a home-cooked dinner and a nice evening with them.

Saturday, August 21 -– Vancouver to Cobble Hill No matter how nice it is to go away on a holiday, it’s always nice to come home. If we could only get there! We were a few kilometers from home when the traffic got rerouted from the highway – I presume there was an accident – and onto a side road. The side road got plugged pretty quickly, so the last few kilometers took over an hour.

We have covered 11,442 kilometres, or 7,151 miles over the course of the last 42 days and now – we’re home!