Hurley Silver Mine (Blackwater Trail) 13/09/08

Chris in search of the Blackwater Trail:
“Another small group with Cara and Lucy joining me on an exploration of the ridges to the east of Common Johnny Creek in the Cayoosh. Parking was on the north side of the Duffey Lake Road at a gravel pullout just past the Blowdown road. Cayoosh Creek is crossed by a footbridge (with various obstacles designed to stop motorized access). Just over the bridge, a right fork leads to a First Nations protest camp (and, as far as I know, the start of the new WCWC trail up Melvin Creek). We turned left and took the uphill option at all forks beyond that. After the first switchback, there is the remains of a burned bridge but the creek crossing is pretty easy. We reached the site of the old winter cabin (also burned but the outhouse is in great condition) in the alpine bowl in 2 hours – all travel to this point on roads. Here we climbed up a steep(!) meadowed gully on the north side of the valley to reach our camping spot near a small lake (another 35 mins). From here, it was 15 mins to the ridge of the Common Johnny Creek and views in all directions (including to peaks near the Stein and Garibaldi and to Whitecap and further peaks in the Bendor). We spent a good portion of Saturday and Sunday travelling the ridge from a point above Duffey Lake to overlooking Barkley Valley. Walking was easy except for one step that would require confident scrambling skills for 10-15m on crappy rock. The meadows to the east of the ridge also provided easy travel and probably a few good camping spots. All the meadows were a light golden and the blueberries bushes provided patches of red and orange. Only Mountain Monkey Flower and some sheltered Paintbrush were still in bloom. Lower down, the raspberries and thimble berries were ripe. Unfortunately, the Blackwater Trail eluded us. Given the steepness of the meadows in Common Johnny, it’s possible that the trail didn’t cross over our ridge but somewhere else; or was in a completely different valley.”

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