First, a bit of scenery:
|Blue sky, silty green water. This is the Chilcotin River, which drains the Chilcotin Plateau, flowing from Itcha Lake, near Bella Coola, to the Fraser River, near Gang Ranch.|
|Mixed vegetation; soft deciduous trees and shrubs by the river, evergreens on higher ground, thinning to scattered barren slopes, rock cliffs. (Note vertical wall in background.)|
The Chilcotin Plateau is old volcano country, much of it covered by the Chilcotin Group, a volcanic field of overlapping vents, and further west, the Anahim Volcanic Belt, which reaches out to sea beyond Bella Coola. For millions of years, lava spread over the surface; later, glaciers scoured the top layer, exposing the old granite to erosion; now winter ice, freezing and thawing, crumbles the old faces, leaving a skirting of scree at the base. (My old house in Bella Coola was at the bottom of one of these scree slopes.)
Driving the road, we are treated to an ever-changing view of tall mountains, odd-shaped peaks, sheer rock faces, "painted" hills, crumbling granite, cones of scree. There are lava flows and hot springs; obsidian is found in some areas. Trees cling where they find cracks in the rock; mountain goats hop up and down impossible rock faces.
|Rock formation, Bull Canyon. At full size, some white spots may or may not be mountain goats.|
|Crumbling hill, from near the river bank.|
|Zooming in to show the strata.|
Not all is towering rock: in between, we find fruitful river basins, and eroded, gently-sloping grasslands. But if you scratch the surface here, you'll find the granite bones not so far underneath.
Coming up: Bull Canyon greens.