|The lovely view from our room at the Holiday Inn morning of the trip|
We rented a compact and fuel efficient car (Toyota Yaris) for eight days and began our explorations of the province. We started by driving up BC-1 for 260 km (about 3 and a half hours northeast to the dry BC interior. While most are familiar with the dramatic rainforest and Alpine Lakes, the dry interior reminded me more of the not so distant rockies than anything.
The hike started with a cable ferry across the roaring Fraiser River. Just days earlier the ferry wasn't running due to spring run off. Once over the river we were on first nations land and were greeted by some obstinate cows not really interested in letting us pass. We drove about 10 km on dusty roads past ranches teeming with beautiful horses, cows and dogs and well worn houses and farm buildings. We reached a well developed and signed trailhead with an expansive view up the valley. Stein is a curroption of a native word meaning hidden as you can't really see the mouth of the valley from the Fraiser.
|The start of our Stein Valley Journey. Little does she know...|
We purposefully took as much time as we could, more like strolling than hiking and reached the Devil's Starcase Campsite 3.3 miles invery grateful to take off our packs. The campsite was completely and looked like it could accomodate at least 20 tents. There was a really nice pit toilet and a large steel bear vault with a very tricky closure. If I could barely manage I felt good abour our chances with the grizzlies.
We got the tent set up in no time and before settling down to read for a while before bed, Jeanette went down to the river to take it all in for a few. We had both relaxed and I knew the river would be a pretty spot so I decided that now was the time. Squirrelled away in my pack was a 70's era Kings Massana turquoise Navajo bracelet made by Dorothy and Donny Smith, a husband and wife time active from the mid 60's to the late 80's. She was about to leave as i made my way down. She smiled and decided to stay for a moment and looked back at the river. The rocky, rooty and uneven proved a bit more of a challenge than I had anticipated and it took some effort and fanagling to get down on one knee. Just as I got situated she turned around with barely a moment to make a slightly perplexed face before... "Jeanette Carioto, moon of my life, will you marry me?"
|Kings Massana Turquoise and Red Coral "engagement" bracelet|
|The start of our next big adventure|
|At the dining room table looking over the hike|
|After dinner explorations|
|The Stein River is impossibly blue|
|High up on the talus slopes above the Stein|
|One of the first we saw|
|the rock was covered when you took a step back|
|one of many human figures|
|The cliffs at the edge of the Cantilever Range soaring above us|
|These are "culturally modified trees". Though these trees exist elsewhere in the area, the first nations people living outside the valley chose to come here again and again to collect bark some 5 miles from the nearest house or road.|
|Looking deep into the Stein River Valley|
|ever rushing waters|
|waiting for our ferry to return|
|One of many views driving between Lytton and Squamish|