“It is a commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and love for a time in the wilderness.”
Deep in the pine on an unmarked, very rough backroad is Plateau Lake. At an altitude of 1215 m, this lake is high in the mountains North-East of Merritt BC ; high enough to escape the dry oppressive heat of the valley below.
Access to Plateau is by 4×4 high-clearance truck only and the campsite is marked as “primitive” on the Fishing BC website. Known as a fisherman’s dream the lake is iced over from November thru May and stocked annually with Rainbow Trout.
I favour wilderness camping because of the opportunity to experience pristine landscapes. Even after camping in Northern Vancouver Island, I can easily say that Plateau feels like the “middle of nowhere”. We saw no other vehicles on the way in which meant the lake to ourselves the entire time. The only sounds were the wind in the spruce, the caw of the raven, the occasional splash of a fish feeding and the hoot of the loon on the water. A golden eagle swooped over the lake hunting in the late afternoon. We were the intruders.
After setting up the camp kitchen and tying our tarp off the side of the truck we took a wander around to get to know the lay of the land. Finding bear tracks is always a little intimidating but we’ve done enough backroads camping to know how to properly store food and avoid attracting furry friends to our site.
6pm. Time to start the fire and get dinner on the camp stove. Black bean, mushroom and spinach tortillas. We set up our bed in the back of the truck then spent the evening hypnotized by the flames of the campfire and pointing out constellations. The stars are bright and by the thousands without the interference of civilization.
We had some wonderful visitors that evening: Toads! lot’s of toads.
The moon rose over the mountains to the east after 11pm and it lit the forest that just moments before was pitch black. I could envision the ancestors thankful for the moon’s light to help them get through long dark nights.
Sleeping in the truck makes setting up camp that much easier and it’s warm and comforting to have the truck cabin between any wildlife and us. We slept peacefully tucked in our warm sleeping bag designed for -15 degree weather.
We woke just after sunrise Thursday. Seth suited up to do some early morning fishing. I lounged a little longer in bed then prepped a breakfast of carrots, hummus, tea, jam, grapes and bread. Seth returned to camp 3 hours later with a nice catch; an 18 inch Rainbow Trout. Dinner!
Time moves slowly in nature. With all the extra time, I got deep into my book seated on a log at the edge of the lake. Later we collected firewood. Dinner was garlic-y pasta with Rainbow Trout cooked in foil over the fire, delicious.
Night in the forest would be unbearable without fire. It keeps you warm and wards away bugs. Plateau is not warm even in high Summer. The temperature dropped to 7 degrees at sunset. Sitting by the fire is a welcome friend. We kept warm by dancing to our favourite Ziggy Marley song.
Card games in bed.
It rained most of our second night and Seth awoke to what he thought might be an animal in our camp. Obviously impossible to see into the darkness from the truck; we only could guess the next morning who pulled our garbage bag into the woods and snooped through it.
The flora and fauna is abundant at Plateau. Seth returned from fishing and called me to come quick. Sitting with him on his belly boat? A mouse! tiny, fluffy little mouse, big eyes staring up at us, completely unafraid.
“The clearest way to the universe is through a forest wilderness”
Doodling on the dewy window this morning. I Heart PNW (Pacific Northwest) Camping.
Until next time.