Dreaming: Cariboo Ranchlands to BC's Wild Coastal
Scott Pick .
years I've dreamed of the big blank area on the map
called the Chilcotin- the place where the icy
splendor of the Coast Range yields to the aridity
of the interior plateau; a forgotten land in modern
day British Columbia, Canada. It's a land of
superlatives; a place where back- roads run for
hundreds of miles, adventurers find new
opportunities for exploration and where wildlife
still roams free. Most of all I wanted to
experience the spirit of the Chilcotin and meet the
hardy people that call this outback their home. I
went there as a photographer, hoping to capture
elusive moments of light and the landscapes that
are the hallmark of this region.
dreamed of experience the vast emptiness, the
forced self-reliance, the contrasts of the
landscape, the history. But most of all, I dreamed
of capturing on film the magnificent place that I
imagined the Chicotin to be; the dry interior, the
magical rain coast, the soaring mountain peaks and
the historic settlements. Armed with my camera
gear, trusty 4x4, ocean kayak and two weeks worth
of supplies I headed out into this remote land and
into the unknown; a favorite place of mine.
See Scott's rating of the top places for hiking
and kayaking in the area
ingredients for great images were all there; the
bone-dry eastern river canyons, the majesty of
Chilko Lake, the long coastal fjords, the outposts
of civilization from Hanceville to Klemtu; the
sky-splitting peaks of the Coast Mountains. As the
days rolled by, the knowledge that I was actually
where I'd dreamed of being began to sink in.
Despite the poor weather and the remoteness, I
enjoyed the loneliness and the powerful feelings of
isolation from the outside world. I was at peace,
looking forward to forging deeper into the wild
corners of the Chilcotin.
Coast by ferry
Chilcotin Plateau proper ends, at the western edge
of Tweedsmuir Park near the infamous 'hill,' the
landscape suddenly changes from dry to wet, from
brown to green, from flat to vertical. To really
witness the startling contrasts that are inherent
in this region, I took the new Discovery Coast
Ferry out to the coast from Bella Coola to Bella
Bella to kayak and to experience the outer coast, a
place of long fjords, mist shrouded peaks and of
islands clustered together as if defending against
the ravages of the open ocean
Although the two
geographic regions of the Chilcotin are very
different in appearance, they both share the same
wild character and are both a place where man
simply exists, not dominates. Looking back, my
memories of the Chilcotin are of the long back
roads, the legacy of frontier lifestyles and
communities, the wildlife and the spectacular
peaks, lakes and fjords that define the Chilcotin.
Experiencing the Chilcotin has instilled a deep
desire to see and experience more of this
enchanting land. Once you've been to the Chilcotin,
it's wild character will beckon you back time and
time again. These images are moments in time; never
to be repeated, never to be forgotten and serve as
a source of new 'Chilcotin Dreaming.
For mountain grandeur, within 100 miles of
Vancouver is as good as it gets. This area is more
empty than the Himalayas, where trails have
crisscrossed the mountain range for centuries. Here
you'll discover truly untouched areas; many with
less population than 100 years ago.
Scott Pick began his adventure travel career hiking
in Vancouver's North Shore Mountains, namely
Seymour, Grouse and Cypress. This apprenticeship
sparked further challenges... branching out of what
he calls "my adrenaline stage," with a combination
of rock-climbing, windsurfing and mountain bike
adventures. His next logical step was to explore
the rugged BC-Alaska coast by sailboat, canoe and
We met Scott Pick
during a enyoyable week at Shearwater Resort, near
Bella Bella (Waglisla). Scott was there exploring
and photographing the fjords and outer islands by
kayak; we were there by invitation of BC Ferries'
President and Shearwater's Widsten family. Our
objective was to describe the Discovery Coast and
the ferry cruise from Port Hardy. Scott Pick
arrived by ferry from Bella Coola on the Chilcotin
Coast. In his words, " This new Ferry service
allows access to all of this wildlife and scenic
wonder." Scott's item "Chilcotin Dreaming" first
appeared in the Summer 1998 edition of Air Highways
Scott Pick has a
gallery of great photos taken during his trip
Chilcotin Country and other locations in North
Pick's Top scenic
1. Chilco Lake, the movie site.
2. Hilltop view, looking down into Bella Coola
Farwell Canyon; BC's best arid desert scenery. 4.
Perkins Peak mining road overlooking Chilcotin
Plateau and highest portions of the Coast Range.
Dean Channel. High, snowcapped peaks, whales, rain
forest, turquoise waters, Mackenzie monument.
Seaforth Channel by Bella Bella. Views of islands,
mountains, forests; a panorama of wilderness.
Hakaii Group , south of Bella Bella. Archipelago
faces open ocean vibrancy of outer coast, high
energy, teeming with marine life. Incredible
Roscoe Inlet, Spiller Channel and Ellersley Lake; a
maze of inlets north of Shearwater-Bella
extended sea voyage took Scott to Alaska and the
Southern Yukon, stopping in Ketchikan, Wrangell,
Petersburg, Sitka, Juneau, Haines and Skagway.
Scenic flights provide an eagle's eye view of the
Stikine River and Le Comt Bay, southernmost
tidewater glacier and most active on the Pacific
Coast. While lesser known, it rivals Glacier Bay as
a natural wonder. Scott's next marine adventure
took 6 weeks ... sailing from the Oregon Coast,
circumnavigating Vancouver Island.