Fall Trail Work – High Trail Mud Holes

Words & Photos by Geoff Playfair.

On the way out of Camel Pass, the flow of alpine single track that the High Trail provides is marred by a few large mud holes.

Mud Holes on the High Trail

This past week, Tyax Adventures, in cooperation with BC Parks, provided a reroute around the upper two holes (one in the photo above).

High Trail Re-Route

The 200m new section includes about 100m of cleaned up older, grown over, trail  (shown above) and about 100m of new trail to bring the two lines back together (shown below).

High Trail Re-Route - New Trail

The results provide a route clear of mud, with enhanced views of Truax and the valley below.

Enjoy the trails.

High Trail Re-Route View

Trail Maintenance Update – July 2014. By Geoff Playfair.

Tyax Adventures takes a portion of revenue and reinvests it in the trails we use. June was a busy month for trail work in the Park. In partnership with BC Parks, a number of projects were identified and worked on.

New corner on Deer Pass trail, replacing steep, eroded line

New corner on Deer Pass trail, replacing the steep, eroded line

In mid-June, a work crew addressed the lower section of the Deer Pass trail, as it climbs from Trigger Lake. Portions of the steep, eroded, existing trail were decommissioned and new trail created that better uses the terrain between the two creeks flowing off the hill.

112 hours of work went into the trail. Initial feedback is good. The reduced grades are easier for horses and hikers. Bike riders appreciate the increased safety of the descent and the new line, with it’s improved views and enhanced ride.

New Deer Pass trail line crossing old, decommissioned trail

New Deer Pass trail line crossing old, decommissioned trail


On June 28/29, 10 members of Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA), supported by Tyax Adventures, spent two days maintaining and improving Park trail.  Based out of our Spruce Camp, they worked along the Spruce Lake and Windy Pass trails.

Old undermined bridge

Old undermined bridge


Work included a replacement of the bridge out of the campground that had been dangerously undermined by the creek and work on various mud holes and rooted sections around the lake.

Replacement Bridge and decommissioned crossing

Replacement Bridge and decommissioned crossing

The Windy Pass trail, from the Potato patch to the treeline got a haircut and some key trail bed improvements to assist traffic.

Trail work is now on hold for the busy summer season, though some additional projects may move forward in the fall.

Example of work on Windy Pass trail. Braid on the right is decommissioned.

Example of work on Windy Pass trail. Braid on the right is decommissioned.

Spring Trail Updates

Well the Resort is officially open and that means we are ready to go for the season!  We just had a great long weekend with people enjoying the trails surrounding Tyax Resort by horseback, pedal power and on foot.  Guess it’s time for the annual spring trail update to help with your adventure planning!

We like to start off with an update from the River Forecast Centre which shows us a great little graph and gives us a snap shot of this year’s Snow Water (in mm) versus River Forecast Centre Dataprevious years and historically.   Looking at the graph we can see we had less snow at the start of this winter but by the end of March it was looking similar to what we can see the year previous.  Right now it looks very similar to last year which means that by the end of May we should be able to fly into Spruce Lake and the trails around the lake should be mostly clear and rideable out Gun Creek.  As long as things don’t get too cool over the next few weeks we should be looking at a similar year to last, this had us flying into Warner Lake by mid June and into Lorna Lake by the end of June!

The local trails surrounding Tyax Resort are in great condition and a report from our guide & local resident, Geoff Playfair has said; “Trail clearing on local trails is underway. Good spring riding right now, and winter winds were fairly kind – not to much blowdown. Snow is clear to the top of Lick Lower now, which I cleaned up yesterday and is good to go!”.   He also reported that the Pearson Road is mostly clear of snow up to Molly Dog, and that Molly Dog should be rideable by now.

Our wrangler Brennan McGlashan has been busy clearing out the trails around Tyax Resort for Horseback Riding and has gotten most of the work done and clear for trail rides.

Heads up if you’ll be riding, hiking or horseback riding on the Forest Service Roads in the area, there is still some logging activity on the west side of Pearson’s Creek, some on Gun Creek Road towards the Gun Creek Trail and some on the hill above the trail, off the logging road. Speaking to the person in charge of the logging, this should be finished up before summer(July).  No trails are presently affected by this just a note to be aware of machinery and signage.

Our spring trail work projects in addition to the regular clearing and maintenance will be starting soon.  Watch the blog for more updates on what we’ll be working on this year.

Also a final note when planning your adventure up to visit us please note that the Hurley Forest Service Road will NOT be plowed this year.  There have been some changes with regards to the road’s ownership and this has so far translated into a lack of funds for the early season plowing of the snow.  You can read all about it on the I Survived the Hurley website.  Locals are reporting if the road must melt out on it’s own it won’t be open until at least the end of June – early July.

Hope to see everyone soon!

View looking down to Carpenter Lake

The view looking down to Carpenter Lake.

Random thoughts on a Rainy Day Ride, words & photos by Geoff Playfair

“Maybe the truest sign of human intelligence is not to learn how we can shoehorn nature into our own agenda, but to see how we can better find our own place in nature.”
David Suzuki

The steady drum of rain on the tent woke me before light. No cause for alarm – we had hours before we needed to break camp and ride 6 hours to the truck.

Waking again to dawn light and the same steady drum wasn’t encouraging.

After rolling around for a while, it was time to face the inevitable. Getting up and out of the tent, I trudged under the kitchen tarp, grabbed a pot and went down to the lake to get water for coffee and to try and gauge the weather.

We were at Lorna Lake, in the South Chilcotins, at tree line and ringed by 8500 ft peaks, so it was tough to say, but with stagnant air and steady rain, things seemed settled in. Between bands of cloud, fresh snow was visible on the upper slopes; any chances of trying a high pass route were out.

Lorna Lake by Geoff Playfair

Lorna Lake in all it’s glory… on a sunny day.

Back up the hill, with coffee brewing, the rest of the crew rolled out of bed. Quick discussion brought agreement that the Relay Pass route was the best option for the day – our lowest pass and easiest route, although the Relay side is notorious for mud and a place to avoid in the rain.

After a leisurely breakfast and as many rain delays as we could justify, by 11:30 the inevitable couldn’t be further postponed. With packs loaded, we hit the trail.

The good news of riding with clothing completely soaked through is that river crossings are simple affairs. Whereas the day before crossing Big Creek involved a slow process of removing footwear and rolling up shorts, today we simply arrived, shouldered bikes and jumped in. The water didn’t even feel cold today, which didn’t speak well to our core temperatures, though it was best not to stop and dwell on this, lest it drop further.

We made good time and topped out at Twin Lakes on the Relay/Big Crk divide before 2:00. The rain let up as we started the decent into the Relay drainage, still following the bear tracks left earlier that day along the trail.

We caught up to the bear in the lower meadows, a small grizzly, on its own, grazing on the spring shoots. When it finally alerted to us, it took off at a run into the nearby forest.

Big Creek Trail Crew by Geoff Playfair

Big Creek Trail Crew posing on a previous sunny day.

The out ride from here was uneventful, other than the soul-sucking mud which turned each pedal stroke into a strained effort. Only once did the wheels simply stop rolling. We then shouldered the now 50 lb bikes and stumbled along in our clown shoes that grew in size with each step as fresh mud stuck to the previous layers. 200 m later the surface turned to gravel and, after a de-glomming, bikes again rolled.

Arriving at the forest service road left us with 17 kms of soft, wet surface to grind along.  My mind drifted to pass the time.

“Why ride?” “Why not?” (Need to dig deeper here, still over an hour to go…) “What’s the best part of the ride? Is it pushing the limits, going the distance, riding extreme terrain? Is it more about the story after, or the here and now? Is it about overcoming nature, or experiencing it?” As the soft surface of the road released the tires for one more roll, I settled on a new perspective.

Since first pedaling a bike, I’ve always thought of them as freedom machines. As a kid, you couldn’t run faster or go farther than a person on a bike. It got you away from your parents and into a world where you were responsible for yourself. As I got older, the bike took me across town, then across countries. Technology eventual allowed us to take them further into the woods, travelling greater distances in a day than on foot.

The freedom to explore, to go longer and deeper into the wilderness, is the reason I choose a bicycle over walking. To travel under my own effort is why I choose a bicycle over a horse or an engine assisted vehicle, though I’m quick to admit those are sometimes needed to set up a ride.

But ultimately this freedom machine is just another tool, albeit our civilization’s most efficient transportation tool, with a relatively small footprint, both in trail and planetary impact.

The reason I ride isn’t to use a tool. The bike is simply the tool that enables the experience. It’s about getting away from a civilization that is obsessed with the latest toys (yes, I know, while riding my latest toy). Its an opportunity to stand in a field with a grizzly, see deer running on an open slope, trade mating calls with a confused grouse, and to forage off the land for at least some of my food.

Paradoxically, it’s about slowing down while speeding up, connecting with the surroundings while maintaining speed, being part of the environment while not throwing yourself fully at the mercy of it.

Referring to biomimicry, David Suzuki, using words far more eloquent than I can muster, mirrors my position in saying: “Maybe the truest sign of human intelligence is not to learn how we can shoehorn nature into our own agenda, but to see how we can better find our own place in nature.”

Riding isn’t about viewing the world as our playground, but about respecting the playground that is our world. It’s about seeing ourselves as a small cog in the larger drive train. Trading hubris for humility, comfort for adversity. Repositioning the ego to its rightful place.

Deep thoughts for a rainy ride or maybe mild, bonk-induced, ravings. No matter. As we sweep down the last hill, I’m forced into situational awareness by the rapidly approaching corners.

It’s 6:00 and, with bikes and bodies caked in mud, we arrive at the truck. Contrary to fears, the beer placed days earlier in the creek hadn’t washed away in the rising waters, so we wisely used it to wash away some of the weariness of the day as the truck bounces home.

-All words & photos by Geoff Playfair.

Spring Trail Updates 2013

We are well into another spring season out here and as the snow melts away to reveal our favourite trails it’s time to start checking up on what’s been hiding under the white blanket all winter.  Late Fall and early winter usually bring a few storms with heavy winds that tend to cause a great big mess on the trail for us to find come spring.  With a lower snowpack than usual and much less than last year the snow is clearing pretty quickly around here… that means an early start to the business of exploring the damage and starting the trail work.

Snow Pillow Data June 2013

The Snow Pillow Data taken from Green Mountain gives us a really great snapshot of how the snow melt is looking so far this year.  Although we’re not at the Minimum we are well below the Average, this pretty much just confirms what we were all thinking after a mediocre winter for snowfall.  Take a look at the Real time data online at the River Forescast Centre website.

The little trail elves have been busy already and most of the trails around Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa have been cleared out.  Our wrangler Brennan was busy clearing out the lower section of the North Cinnabar trail as well as the maze of trails behind the campground.  Horseback riders won’t have branches hitting them in the head on their rides with Brennan!  Brennan has also been busy putting together a great loop for our 3 hour Horseback Rides, this loop will show off some great view points of the entire Bridge River Valley.

The local crew around Tyaughton Lake have been out clearing the top of the North Cinnabar trail as well as some of the trails winding their way through the forest above the Friberg Rec site area.  Watch for the TMC brand on the trails along with the corresponding trail name in a bright pink blaze.

The jolly giant, Mr. Geoff Playfair has been extra busy this season cleaning out logging debris off some of the trails he’s built above Gun Creek RoaGeoff Playfair & his trusty chainsawd.  Curious George, a surefire favourite of anyone who’s ridden it, was logged last summer and had quite a bit of debris remaining.  Geoff & Karen along with a couple friends cleared out most of the trail and it’s now ready to go.  Be careful of logging equipment in the area and there is some active logging happening so keep your eyes and ears open.

With the ice coming off Spruce Lake a full 2 weeks ahead of last year our crew of Geoff Playfair & Adrian Bostock were able to get into Spruce Lake and clear out the blowdown and deadfall from the Lake all the way along the Gun Creek trail to the end of Gun Creek Road.  Took them 2 days but it’s good to go and the Arrow Leaved Balsamroot is already starting to flower!  Should be an early season for wildflowers.

The Taylor basin is still full of snow and the High Trail up to the Molly Dog entrance is clear but farther than that the snow is still lingering.  Expecting that zone to be explorable by early July.

Watch for more updates on the Warner Lake trail status which we will be clearing out this week (June,10-13).  Lone Valley & Mud Lakes, Lorna Lake updates, Crystal Lake & Skycamp to come in the following weeks.

Email us if you’ve got news or updates or post straight on our Facebook page or comment on this blog.  Hope we’ll see you all on the trails soon!