This year, seven of us along with ten llamas decided to hike into the Warner Pass area. When we arrived at the meeting place near Tyaughton Lake, Marie had found out that there was too much snow in the passes so she had developed “Plan B” which was to drive to Mud Lakes and leave the vehicles, then hike over the hill into Lone Valley and then over into the Relay Creek valley.

There was a large meadow near Mud Lakes so we parked the trucks and trailers and loaded up the llamas and headed past the lake and up a steep road until we reached the trail that went over the pass into Moose Valley which runs into Lone Valley.

We made camp in the meadows in Moose Valley which is the open area near the bottom of the photo.

The next day we walked up Lone Valley which goes up from the right through the centre of the picture. Notice the new logging road above the Lone Valley meadows. This area could change rapidly in the near future.

On the second afternoon we reached a cabin in a small valley called Beaver Valley. There was a corral where we could put the llamas overnight which was very handy.

The cabin smelled pretty badly of rats but as our food was in closed buckets, we left the panniers inside to protect them from bears. There were bears around as you can see by the paw print below. The knife in the photo is two and a half inches long.

There were a few dusty places along the road and we saw a few bear tracks and the occasional pile of droppings. The knife in this photo is two and a half inches so the bear’s foot is pretty large.

On the return trip, Marie and Duanne left a day before the rest of us and were saddling up their llamas not too far from this spot when a large grizzly with two cubs came sauntering across the meadow. The llamas all alarm called and Marie blasted her air horn and the bears turned and ran.

The terrain in Lone Valley was mostly fairly flat as the creek meandered along. Occasionally there were beaver ponds on the creek with a few small brook trout rising. A few days before a herd of cows had been brought in and we saw the up at the end of the valley. The cows were quite nervous of the llamas and would run ahead of us. In a few places the trail was quite messy and slippery due to these nervous cows.

The trail turned at the end of the valley and went through a narrow pass which had Prentice Lake near the top of it. We were quite relieved when the cows went up the hill above the lake and we were able to get past them. By this time we were thinking that there really wasn’t that much to doing a cattle drive.

We could see Relay Mountain in the distance now and once through the pass, the trail dropped down to Relay Creek which we could see far below us.

The view was great to the south overlooking Relay Creek as we could see snowcapped mountains in the distance whereas from Lone Valley the views were of more rolling hills.

We all posed and had our photos taken here. As you can see in this Pinkerton family photo of Jane with Pizarro, Sebastian, and Brian with Pizarro, the weather was perfect.

The trail dropped down quite a distance and joined an old forestry road which we followed for a few miles to a small forestry camp site.

After another mile and a half we reached a nice cabin that belongs to Gang Ranch. Again, it was nice to have a safe place to store our food and a large corral where we put the llamas. There was a huge meadow with lots of choice places to pitch our tents. We stayed here for several days.

On the second morning, a couple of cowboys drove the herd of cows in. We told them that if we had known, we would have kept the cows ahead of us and delivered them ourselves.

The llamas were quite fascinated by the cows being herded on the hill above the pasture.

We spent a few days exploring the area and often the trail would either cross the creek or wander down the creek for a short distance.

We also relaxed at the cabin either sorting out lichens for dyeing, drying wild flowers, taking photos, reading or sketching.

We then spent two more days hiking back to the vehicles. The weather was perfect the whole time which was quite a contrast to last year’s hike. While we had some rain last year at Tatlayoko Lake, Marie spent four days in the cabin here in the pouring rain.