Explorers’ off-grid 2017

Explorers Off-grid 2017Explorers’ Off-Grid – Sign up!

Now is the time to make the decision to join Glenn Helmlinger and Cathie Hickson FI’04 at their property north of Vancouver for an “Explorers’ Off-Grid” weekend campout this summer.  August 11-12-13-14 will be an opportunity for those of you who are city bound to get out into the great outdoors and experience Caribou hospitality.  Our property is close to Big Bar Lake on the flanks of the Marble Range about five hours drive from Vancouver.

If you are already an outdoor enthusiasts great, this will be a new place for you to explore. For those who are not, then dare to leave the comforts of your technological cocoon and venture into this secret corner of the Cariboo where there are hills, cattle, and pretend-rural folk living “off-grid” in a hidden valley.  There are a variety of things to do ranging from canoeing, fishing, birdwatching, hiking, walking, mountain biking, or how about just relaxing and soaking in the scenery and the abundant bird life! Ray Hyland will be offering a 4X4 intro session for those with an off-road itch (there are some fantastic mountain biking and 4X4 roads close by). Cathie will share her secret trout fishing haunts and will organize a bird house building workshop as well as lead walks around the property.  It is also roumoured that there will be an archery range completed for the weekend.  Those of you interested in horseback riding can partake at the nearby Big Bar Ranch (extra charge).  In the evening we will be sharing stories and enjoying the company of other explorers, friends and neighbours. This weekend is about sharing experiences and making new friends in this decidedly non-urban setting.

The weekend will start Friday afternoon, and continue to Monday morning for those able to stay that long. All meals will be provided but will be simple camping fare, geared to communal eating in the outdoors by the camp fire.  We do not have running water and our toilets are outhouses.  We do have extra tents, bedding, and an outdoor shower. We can accommodate campers and trailers. Our near neighbour has offered his cabin (with indoor plumbing) on a “most in need” basis.  Cabins with amenities can be found at Big Bar Ranch (http://www.bigbarranch.com/), about 20 minutes away from our property (please make your own reservations).

As our location is remote we really need to have a head count of people interested in attending.  This is to make sure we have enough food, water, tents, lifejackets, etc.  We also need to know what you will be able to supply (tent, water, mountain bike, etc.).  We can help arrange transportation and car-pooling if transportation is an issue (your Ferrari will not make it in on our 4 km of dirt road!).

This weekend can be part of an amazing circle tour of BC. If your base camp is the Lower Mainland, you will pass through the historic Fraser Canyon (how long since you have been to Hells’ Gate?) and then along the rapids of the Thompson River.  From there, you continue your journey to the Village of Clinton “Gateway to the Cariboo” (don’t forget to fill up on gas as there are no stations where you are headed!).  Ten minutes outside of Clinton, you leave the smooth highway pavement and travel for 30 minutes or so on the Big Bar road – gravel.  You will be climbing up to the Caribou plateau and will soon see the Marble Ranges. Your destination is our 80 acres dubbed “Beaver valley”. A secluded valley with trees, a marsh, and meandering stream dammed by the true local inhabitants: beavers.  As noted, the amount of infrastructure that awaits you is minimal.  Day time temperatures can be in the high 20’s, but by mid-August nights can be cold! And we do have mosquitoes! We will send more explicit directions to those who express interest in signing up for this “pioneering off-grid expedition”.  More details will be provided to those who do.

The return to Vancouver can be literally following the tracks of the gold seekers, crossing the Fraser River on the historic reaction ferry at Big Bar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bar_Ferry which has been in service is 1894. From the ferry crossing you climb high above the Fraser on a spectacular road, known to very few. Or for those not quite equipped for this route, retracing your tracks south of Clinton you can visit the historic Hat Creek Ranch, then head back to Vancouver via Lillooet and the Duffy Lake road with its breathtaking vistas of the Coast Range.  No matter how you head home, we know it will be the end of spectacular “made in BC” weekend.

If you are interested in joining us for the weekend, please provide the following information by separate email to chicksonattelusdotnet  (chicksonattelusdotnet)  .

  • How many people in your party?
  • Are any of you Explorers Club members? (friends and family welcome!)
  • What ages are they? (need to know to for lifejackets, children’s activities, etc.)?
  • Do you have transportation?
  • When will you be arriving?
  • Do you have tent?
  • Can you bring your own drinking water?
  • Do you have any special needs?

What are you most interested in?

  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • 4X4 driving
  • Bird watching
  • Building bird houses
  • Mountain biking
  • Archery
  • Horseback riding
  • Relaxing and reading
  • Other – please specify

Once we know more about who is coming, we will provide you with more details.


Cathie FI’04 BC/Yukon Section Director


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