Tatlayoko - (pronounced Tatla-ko)
The Tatlayoko Valley is a wild and beautiful place with a
lush growing season and a long, gorgeous aquamarine lake protected
along its length by craggy peaks. However, at about eleven
o'clock every morning, those same peaks cause a wind to come
sweeping across the lake. This provides consistent afternoon
thermal winds creating excellent windsurfing conditions, but
is reason for caution if out in a fishing boat.
In the early 1900's the first development in the valley was
by a man named Tom Morris who staked a mining claim at the
south end of Tatlayoko Lake. He put in a sawmill and built
boats and a camp at the bottom of the valley. The Morris Mine
was a hard rock mine and difficult to extract gold, but the
mine still ran for quite a number of years.
By 1912, trappers had moved into the area. Then a few homesteaders
moved in, many leaving to fight in the First World War either
for the States or Canada, depending on what country they came
from. The BC government would only hold a pre-emption for
60 days after the war ended so one or two chose to relinquish
theirs. One such place was taken up by George Powers after
he came into the country in 1914.
Powers was from Washington and related to the notorious Plummer
Gang but it's said he had none of their characteristics. A
quiet, well-dressed cowboy, Powers fell in love with Jessie,
the daughter of a Chilcotin Indian Chief who forbade Jessie
to marry a white man. Powers had two good saddle horses and
one night the young lovers fled on horseback. The Chief and
an Indian party pursued them but after realizing the two were
on strong, fast horses, they returned home. Powers headed
to the Tatlayoko Valley to the west where he knew of a remote
log cabin. Later, George and Jesse made a permanent home at
Charlotte Lake where they ranched and trapped. There was no
road into that isolated spot either and even though childless,
the cowboy and the Indian Princess remained faithfully together
for the rest of their lives.
Even the women were of pioneer spirit in those days. In 1930
Del Haynes came to Tatlayoko with four children and worked
hard to support her family over the years. Two of her sons,
Harry and Lou, became big-game guides. Because of his knowledge
of the mountains, in 1945, Harry and his wife were chosen
by Don and Phyllis Munday to help pack them into Mt. Reliance
so that they could be the first to climb the mountain.
The Mundays were famous for being the first to scale Mt. Waddington
which at 13,172 feet (4,101 metres) is the highest peak completely
within BC's boundaries. It had always been known as Mystery
Mountain until the Mundays conquered it in 1936, and then
gave the unkown mountain the name Waddington.
Pioneers to the area built a school for their children, a
sawmill, had post once a month and ranched, trapped and guided
to make a living. Because of Tatlayoko's nearness to the ocean
(The valley is along the route taken by game, including grizzlies,
from the coast to the inland.) it enjoys a growing season
that allows for fruit and vegetables not normally grown on
the Chilcotin Plateau. The remote area finally received phone
service in 1990.
The spectacular mountain scenery of the area offers recreational
opportunities for the experienced backcountry user, ranging
from hiking, kayaking, camping and mountaineering, to photography
and wildlife viewing. You can take trail rides into the mountains,
visit the spectacular Waddington Canyon or view the extensive
ice fields in the region.
Chilko Lake (also spelled Chilco)
Chilko Lake is the highest and largest freshwater lake in
the world and can be accessed about 40 miles from Tatla Lake
by taking the Tatlayoko Road, which turns into the Chilko
Road. The road is gravel and can be rough so caution should
be used by larger recreational vehicles.
Nestled among craggy peaks, Chilko Lake is most well known
for its unbelievable aquamarine color caused by glacial silt
that washes out of the mountains. Its famous counterpart,
the Chilko River, is also known for its milky green tint,
especially in spring.
Both waterways are known for their fabulous fishing. Chilko
Lake offers Rainbow Trout to six pounds and Bull Trout to
ten pounds. Chilko River is a favorite for its class five
rafting adventures and is known as one of the finest catch
and release rivers in British Columbia when fishing for trout
and Dolly Varden to ten pounds.
At nearly 60 miles long, Chilko Lake is large enough to create
its own weather, and like Tatlayoko, you can set your watch
by the regularity with which the wind comes up every morning.
Caution should be used with this lake when out with a small
boat. Be prepared to come into shore as quickly as possible.
The area offeres horseback riding, fishing, rafting, wildife
and bird photography, hiking, boating tours and more.
Operators - Tatlayoko/Chilko Region