Actual Flyover of Route


West Side – Powell River to D Branch

Click on images to enlarge

Starting from the Powell River ferry terminal, drive south on Highway 101 to the Lang Bay Store (about 18 km) and turn left onto Dixon Road.  The elevation here is 58 metres).  Drive 3.9 km on Dixon Road.  You are at KM ZERO.  Here, Lois Lake will be on your right.  Slightly to your left is the eastbound one way connector to “Goat Lake Main”.  To the right is the returning westbound connector along the lake.  Take the eastbound road.

Goat Lake Main entrance – This one-way section is fairly narrow for several kilometres until the Tin Hat junction at KM 8.  (On your return, at Tin Hat, you will take the westbound fork, along the lake, back to Dixon Road). Heading east from Tin Hat Junction you will be on a two-way logging road and you must observe the VHF protocol during logging hours.

You will pass Nanton Lake, Dodd Lake and its campground, then the Windsor Lake Main (49.995º N X 124.287º W)), and Windsor Lake, all on your right.  The elevation at the intersection of Windsor Lake Main is 230 metres, an increase of only 172 metres from KM ZERO.  To see comparative elevations along the route, click here.

Goat Lake Vista – As you proceed up the Goat Main, you eventually catch your first view of the lake itself (above right), where it drains into Powell Lake. Small boats can often navigate the connecting stream.  Continuing along, you come to the vista (below left), where it’s possible to see goats on the mountainside across the lake.  You’re soon at the mouth of the Eldred River.  Keeping that on your left, you will now ascend its valley. You’ll pass B Branch (between Western Forest Products’ 33 and 34 markers) on your right (KM 48) and then Diane Main on your left (below right, KM 53, elevation 241m). The road to this point has been a very good four-wheel drive road. When weather and road conditions are good, automobiles can drive this far. Here also, Goat Lake Main, to the right, becomes much narrower, and more rugged.  Culverts have been removed and replaced with water bars (dips in the road to accommodate run off.). On our trip of July 24, 2014 we stopped at water bar #21 because the water was too deep to risk crossing. (We’d had two days of rain a few days prior). At this point (50.179ºN x 124.219º W) we had progressed 55 km from KM Zero and our elevation was 273 metres. We  were about 2 km from the beginning of D Branch.

A few weeks later, on September 27, we reached the glacial stream well up D Branch.  The Goat Main intersects with D Branch at 50º 11’ 18.35” N X 124º 12’ 45.55” W X 275m /902ft. In the first five kilometres we ascended from 275m to 844 m, an average grade of 11.26%.  The first 3 or 4 km are only modestly steep and other than numerous water bars, the terrain was not difficult. After that, the road virtually disappears and the trail became very steep.  A slide area known as “the bowling alley” (elevation 662m) and ultimately the upper Eldred River (720m) ended our expedition that day.  We were 65.4 km from Mile Zero.

 

In the above map, the red line traces our expedition of September 27, 2014.  Note that we continue to follow the Eldred River.  D Branch crosses to the north side and is fairly easy going until just before it crosses a tributary.  “The bowling alley” is at the easternmost “N”, after which we continued a short distance back to the Eldred.  In the lower centre are Little Crater Lake, Big Crater Lake and Centre Lake. Mount Alfred’s ascent begins in the upper right corner.  The Eldred’s feeder streams continue to the east and the Lausman summit.  Ice Lake is just beyond the right edge of  the map.

 

  Approaching the Lausman Pass

027 Ice Lake-4Left: The view approaching the end of D Branch, looking east toward the Lausman Pass.  Note Mount Alfred and its glacier in the upper left.  Behind the slope on the right is the Lausman summit and Ice Lake.  The divide, leading to the descent to Jervis Inlet, is about 4 or 5 km distant, at an elevation of 1215 m, a rise of 495 m or 11%, so much of the ascent is behind us.  Right: Hikers enjoy the sight of Ice Lake after a climb of a little over a kilometre.

 

 

 

 

Here we reach terrain where the first stretch of totally new road will be required.  Currently an ATV passable trail exists for much of the remaining distance to the slope leading up to the pass.  Left: We enter “the bowling alley.”  Right: By spring, ATVers often have to clear a path through the rockfalls.

 

 

Beyond the bowling alley are three streams which are fordable only during dry spells, when the runoff from the Mount Alfred glacier is light.  Below, left and centre: Foot and ATV bridges were built years ago by the B.O.M.B. Squad and ATV Club .  Below right: Those bridges collapsed under the weight of a heavy snowpack in the winter of 2009-10.  Note the difference between the torrent under the bridges in the first two shots, taken before that winter, and the trickle at right, as it was in the spring of 2015, when there was practically no snowpack, the runoff was very light, and ATVers were able to clear a path through the alder thicket beyond the stream and to the base of the one-km marked footpath up the slope to Ice Lake and the pass.

 

 

 The Lausman Pass, west of the divide

Divide-2In late May 2015, a few of the intrepid adventurers shown above returned to Ice Lake and walked the remaining two kilometres to the Powell River Divide.  Left: a shot of the terrain they traversed.  Right: at the Divide, where the high point is 1,215 metres above sea level, comparable to the Sunday summit on Highway 3 and the highest point on the Coquihalla.

 

 

 

 

 Click on image to enlarge.Right: The Powell River Divide and the  Summit of the Lausman Pass are one and the same.  From the divide all waters run west toward Georgia Strait or east down to Jervis Inlet.  The divide is also the boundary between the Powell River Regional District and the Sunshine Coast Regional District and between the traditional territories of the Sliammon and Sechelt First Nations.

 

 

 

 

 

Right: Here’s the eastern end of the Lausman Pass (the dark area below Mount Alfred, to the left).  The pass becomes steep as it approaches the logging road network along the western edge of Jervis Inlet.  At its base, the Lausman River can be seen tumbling down to Jervis.  In the upper right, the drainage basin of the Skwawka River and Hunaechin Creek can be seen.

At such time as we successfully cross the Pass, the Jervis logging road network can be assessed. Then, the only remaining physical obstacle to the proposed road will be Casement Mountain and its approaches.

 

 

 

Jervis Inlet Existing Logging Road System

Moving east, the above-noted logging road network brings us to the mouth of the Skwawka River, which passes through the Hunaechin Reserve belonging to the Sechelt Nation.

We continue our hike along the west bank of the Skwawka, cross the bridge, and pick up the logging road network in the Hunaechin River Valley.

 

 

Ascent of the Hunaechin Valley, the Tunnel and Descent to Sims Creek

At the east end of the logging road system, a second stretch of new road measuring 9.3 km will bring us to the western portal of the proposed 3.2 km tunnel that must be bored through Casement Mountain to avoid 18 km of high elevation road.

While this area is extremely popular with hikers today, several events combine to demonstrate the progress that has been made to date.

In 1970 the “Dogwood Trek” was conducted by a group whose story is told in full in our Reference Library.  Click here to read the article. Since that time much additional road development has advanced access to the route.

In September 2008 Caleb Allen, a surveyor, and Sean Percy, of Powell River Living magazine, hiked from Sims Creek up Casement Creek to the area of the proposed east portal. From there they hiked to Casement Mountain pass and began the descent into the Hunaechin Valley. Their route is shown below in red.

The orange line marks the east end of the existing Jervis Inlet logging roads. Next, the red line that proceeds to the green mark is the third and last stretch of required new road. The two green marks are the western and eastern portals of the tunnel, and the next orange line is the balance of the required new road following down Casement Creek to Sims Creek and the existing logging roads. Note the second red line. It depicts the alternate route that would be required as an alternate to the tunnel. It begins as the lower red line and proceeds to the foreground of the picture then reverses to the higher elevations and crosses the summit (near the top of the picture) before descending to the area of the proposed east portal. This alternate adds 18 km of expensive (to build and to maintain) high altitude road.

 

 

From the eastern portal of the tunnel (elevation 1035 m), 11.1 km of new road is needed. Trail blazing the exact route is scheduled for 2016. By traversing the proposed tunnel you will leave the traditional territory of the Sechelt Nation and enter the traditional territory of the Squamish First Nation.

 

 

 

 

Looking west to the area of the east portal of the tunnel.
Click on image to enlarge.

 

The following picture looks west, back towards the east portal of the intended tunnel. It is at the east end of the relatively gentle trail that follows “Casement Creek” and is the route of the proposed 11.1 km new road.  The steep grey rock face in the background is where the east portal of the proposed tunnel will be located.

This photo is looking towards Sims Creek to the east. The water in the right foreground was unnamed… we call it Casement Creek. It flows to the east where it joins Sims Creek. The gradients are acceptable. Surveyor Caleb Allen is in the red circle. Click on image to enlarge.

 

 

East Side Existing Logging Roads

Existing bridge crossing the Elaho River.
Click on image to enlarge.

Generally the route follows Sims Creek, where it will meet the existing logging road, G Main on the Elaho River at the South end of Clendinning Provincial Park.

Down the Elaho – The route follows on the east side of the Elaho River for about 5 km where it crosses an existing bridge and joins Elaho Mainline Road (E Main) for another 5 km to the Squamish River and joins Highway 99 (Sea to Sky) near the Squamish Airport at Brackendale. Turn right to Squamish and the Lower Mainland, or turn left for Whistler and Points north and east.

For readers who want additional references we recommend

  1. The Recreation Map produced by Western Forest Products Inc.
  2. The road map for Sunshine Coast/Whistler published by MapArt
  3. Google Earth